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May 16, 2006

Matera - Massafra, 65 km

On the way to Castellaneta, the first town on today's route, the country we ride through is pleasant, neither boring nor spectacular, and there is little traffic. Castellaneta is the birthplace of Rudolph Valentino. "The Sheik" (released in 1921) was the movie that catapulted Rodolfo to stardom, and depicted in this role he is commemorated in his hometown. Otherwise Castellaneta is a quiet town with a supermarket which we welcome for providing us with supplies for a picnic and a shady piazza where we can enjoy our meal.


Lady Diane: Why - why have you brought me here?
Ahmed: Mon Dieu, are you not woman enough to know?

Quote from "The Sheik"

In Castellaneta, Rudolph Valentino's birthplace


Approaching Massafra


A long downhill ride into plains covered with vineyards, olive groves and orange orchards follows.  As we approach Massafra the air in the afternoon heat is heavy with the perfume of orange blossoms. Massafra stands on either side of a deep ravine which separates the old and new city. As in Matera, the many caves have been used for dwellings and churches since earliest times.

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