After our first day in Puglia, we threw the itinerary to the Adriatic breezes and drew up the days’ plan over breakfast each morning. Scheduled fun is not our idea of a holiday. On one particular day we headed due west from the villa until we reached “Via Adriatica,” the coastal road stretching from Venice to the southern tip of Puglia.  Once along the way, we stopped wherever something looked interesting. 
Torre dell’Orso. Along this sunken port city it is believed Octavian Augustus arrived from Greece upon news of the death of Caesar, on his way to Rome. 

Our mermaid looking longingly at the sea.

Poisidonia oceanica (Neptune balls), dried seaweed that comes together before washing ashore. This seaweed is in such abundance that it is sometimes used as insulation material!
Otranto’s Cathedral of Santa Maria Anunziata. Part Byzantine, early Christian and Romanesque, and also home to the “Tree of Life” mosaic that runs the length of the nave, sanctuary, and apse. 

Otranto’s port was once used by Roman emperors on their journey east. Today it hosts bobbing sailboats and beautiful views.
Otranto is a bit like Poland, having been invaded and conquered quite a lot across history. Swabian rulers, Calabrian dukes, the Venetians, the Spaniards, and the Normans have all had a hand in shaping this fortress.

On a separate outing we sought an artifact of interest (to me), the castle once belonging to the Duchess of Bari, Bona Sforza, also of the title, Queen of Poland.  Let me write that I was a little disappointed not to see it looking a little more, well, castle-like
The coast was blustery, the previous evening’s storms moving away. Gorgeous.
To bring our day to a close, Colonne della Via Appia. the Roman column marking the southern end of the Appian Way, and a main departure point for the Crusades. Pretty cool.