06/17/2009 - 11:54

Trip Report Campania May 2009  We drove south from Rome stopping for lunch in Cassino, and drove up to the Abbey but everything was shut for lunch, a spectacular setting and many reminders of the conflict from WW2.We somehow missed our turning and got hopelessly lost in Avellino, which happened every time we went there, it rapidly became our least favourite place.  We were staying in an Agriturismo just above Contrado, we rather thought it had seen better days, but our room was fine and we were given an excellent dinner each night.  We arrived on the Wednesday evening and stayed until the Saturday morning, so had two full days for exploring.Our first day we headed north on the small roads to Benevento, it was a very good drive though quite a long one.   The only guide book we had was Carla Capalbo’s ‘The Food and Wine Guide to Naples and Campania’ which proved completely invaluable.We stopped in Benevento for a coffee and a wander around, the centre looks pretty new and I believe has been rebuilt after WW2 and earthquake damage.We continued northwest and headed for Piedimonte Matese which seemed a bit of a non-place.  We were surprised to see so much light industry when it looked such lush farming country.  We then continued up into the hills through San Gregorio Matese (didn’t have much luck finding lunch there), it all looked very poor and neglected.  Carla had told us of the Miralago Hotel, but when we found it the builders were in for some major refurbishment.The drive was fascinating, through what looked like Alpine meadows and some very rugged country.  We passed through Bocca della Selva, obviously a winter sports centre, but completely empty and with piles of rubbish lying around.  That seemed a feature of some of the places off the beaten track which was not at all attractive.  OH wondered how they managed without ski lifts as there was no evidence of any.  There were spectacular vistas from the high spots, and some traces of snow on the more sheltered slopes.  We wiggled our way down, passing through Morcone and its dramatic castle remains overlooking the valley.  We then headed back on the main roads to be back in Contrado preferably without getting lost in Avellino en route (not the case) in time for supper.The second day we headed east into much prettier countryside with lovely old hill towns dotted around and well tended vineyards and gardens.  We just tootled around going nowhere in particular, though we thought we might make for Nusco for lunch and see if we could find La Locanda di Bu... we stopped for coffee in Lioni and saw the war memorial, it obviously tells a story but I don’t know it yet...   circumnavigated the Lago di Conza and then headed for Nusco.And we found the restaurant and Antonio and had one of the most memorable dining experiences of our lives, he took us through everything, cooked for us, served it to us and told us tales of his life and cooking and Campania.  We were the only customers that lunchtime, he chose the wines for us and was the most charming and knowledgeable host one could ever hope to find, and it was Carla who led us to him...   Needless to say we headed home on the bigger roads, managed to avoid Avellino and were home for our farmhouse supper that we could not begin to do any kind of justice to.A very interesting couple of days, very contrasting parts of the country so close together. 



Locanda di Bu, it is on google maps... have put a link on the other post on the subject (just noticed your post!)  Have a great trip, let us know how things went.