From San Marco La Catola to Motta Montecorvino

7 - From San Marco La Catola to Motta Montecorvino

Clck per allargare

Heavy rain is forecast in the afternoon and this definitely tilts the balance towards the shortest route. It is definitely chilly and the wind keeps blowing. After the intense heat I have suffered in the last few days I’m not going to complain, also because most of the walk will be slightly uphill.

In the end not descending towards the valley has turned out to be the best choice, because I can enjoy wonderful views for most of the morning. At last I can even have an overall view of Lake Occhito, which is almost empty because of the drought. Rain is desperately needed to avoid an ecological disaster.

Thanks to the asphalt road and the protection of clouds I get on fast. Great, I should arrive before the storm starts.

Along the way I meet two people on their morning walk. I take this opportunity to ask about the path I need to take to leave the asphalt. They glance at each other doubtfully, then unanimously claim that this road is the only way to get to Motta Montecorvino. Too bad, I was actually banking on leaving it!

Half a kilometre later, at St. Christopher’s Inn (locanda S.Cristoforo) I find the path I was looking for. Actually, it is not a path, it is a wide, practical cart track: never ask the locals for directions on paths, they only know the main roads which they drive along every day!

The cart track disappears into the wood, which is good, because just as I take it, the clouds open up and the sun starts beating down just like the other days. This is actually the first time I can fully enjoy being sheltered in the wood during the hottest hours of the day.

After a few kilometres I end up onto a section of the cart track which is clearly not used much: plants and brambles have started to take over and I have to slow down. I'm ahead of schedule, I’m sheltered from the sun, and the expected storms are not in sight, so I decide it's time to do some service for the community. I lay my backpack onto the ground, take out my shears, and start clearing the way. I’m chuffed with the final result: the cart track is clear in its entire width right up to where it merges with the asphalt road. It will not be closed up by vegetation this year.

The descent towards Motta Montecorvino begins immediately after the wood: for once the journey ends downhill. To avoid the asphalt I take an almost unused path which forces me to "wade" through tall grass. The challenging stretch is only about fifty meters long, so the time lost is minimal. I am now looking at a new valley, but the landscape still leaves me breathless with its beauty.

A majestic oak tree greets on entering the village of Motta Montecorvino. It is now surrounded by buildings, but it was isolated in the middle of a meadow according to a vintage photo I found in a bar. Over the centuries many shepherds and their flocks went past it. It was an obligatory point of access for the “Table of the Apulias" (Tavoliere delle Puglie). Yes, because Motta Montecorvino is the last outpost before the vast plateau which represents the conclusion of the Castel di Sangro-Lucera tratturo... or perhaps I should say the Lucera-Castel di Sangro tratturo, as it is referred to in the local maps: Italy, land of parochialism!

My short tour of the village soon ends because it suddenly clouds over and... hell breaks loose! In the end the announced storm has arrived, fortunately I have reached my destination: this certainly was a bit of luck!

The hotel I have booked has recently been taken over by a new management. It is currently a family-run business and I definitely like it. They are full of enthusiasm to do things. In the evening I discover that something has gone wrong in communication, as I am not expected to have dinner in the hotel. After a few moments of panic, the staff prepares an emergency meal. Well, it may be an emergency dinner... but it is a great meal!

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