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The Ancient Allure of Puglia

The slow-paced villages that make up Salento boast a stunning landscape, deep-blue seas, centuries of history — and are blissfully isolated from the 21st century.


AT THE START of the Italian film director Edoardo Winspeare’s ‘‘Quiet Bliss,’’ a world-weary woman moves her family to live in an olive grove. Italy’s enduring recession has brought the family to its knees and, forced to close their textile factory, they’ve come to work the land. Here — amid the cream of stone, the green of olive, the blue of sea — the women discover the ancient grace of agricultural Salento, long the humblest region within Puglia, the rough-hewn, rocky area in the country’s south. If the premise seems pat, the film is exquisite: visually arresting, emotionally raw. Minutes into meeting its director, I understand why.

在意大利导演爱德华多·温斯皮尔(Edoardo Winspeare)的影片《静谧的幸福》(Quiet Bliss)的开片部分,一名厌倦了俗世喧嚣的女子带着家人搬去一片橄榄林里居住。意大利经济的持续衰退导致这个家庭陷入困境。他们被迫关闭了纺织厂,回来耕种田地。在米色石头、绿色橄榄树和蓝色大海的映衬下,影片的女性角色发现了尚处在农业社会的萨伦托的古色古香之处。普利亚位于意大利南部,地势崎岖,多岩石。而长期以来,萨伦托一直是普利亚最不起眼的地区。虽说其构思有些穿凿附会,这部电影仍属精致之作:视觉上引人入胜,感情强烈。在见到导演几分钟后,我便明白了其中的缘由。

The slow-paced, isolated villages that make up this region of southern Italy boast a stunning landscape, deep-blue seas and centuries of history.

‘‘I’m obsessed with this place,’’ Winspeare tells me, his gray-blue eyes alight. We are sitting in the dining room of his palazzo in Depressa, a Salentine village 10 minutes from the seaside, where his family has lived for generations. The Winspeare home is the first of several I’ll visit over the next few days as I make my way through the tip of the stiletto heel of the Italian boot, a necklace of sparkling villages strung along the limestone peninsula dividing the Adriatic and Ionian seas.


Salento is having its day, exalted as one of Italy’s last undiscovered gems. In reality, it has been so unendingly trafficked — by Romans, Normans, Germans and more — that to call Salento undiscovered demands a rather narrow view of history. Gemlike, yes: a dazzling display of nature’s way with color. But the region is more precisely described as many gems, not one. There’s a reason Italians call Puglia ‘‘le Puglie,’’ in the plural. Just as there are many Puglias, of which Salento is one, there are also many Salentos: small hamlets spread over hundreds of miles. From the Baroque city of Lecce, known as the Florence of the South, to southernmost Santa Maria di Leuca, which is lapped by a Caribbean-like sea, to the inland Grottaglie, with its vineyards and ceramics, Salento is vast and various.


‘‘In the 18th century, my father’s family were British Catholics — there’s been a lot of mixing since then,’’ Winspeare says, gesturing to their portraits as we pass them in a hall. This house is plainly a family home, impressively grand but lived in, filled with portraits, porcelain, plants — and people speaking French and English.


His 5-year-old daughter points to one of the portraits. ‘‘That’s my great-grandfather,’’ she tells me in Italian.


‘‘No, darling,’’ Winspeare says, and to me: ‘‘That’s Davide Winspeare, our most famous relative. He wrote ‘The History of Feudal Abuses,’ in 1811, a treatise arguing for the abolishment of the title system — for which they offered him a title.’’

“不对,亲爱的,”温斯皮尔对女儿,同时也是对我说,“那是达维德·温斯皮尔(Davide Winspeare),是我们最有名的一位祖先。他在1811年写了名为《封建滥权史》(Feudal Abuses)的文章,阐述了废除头衔制度的理由。为此,他被授予头衔。”

‘‘Did he accept it?’’


‘‘Of course he did.’’ Winspeare laughs that particular laugh I’ve come to associate with Italy: at once joyful and cynical, weary and light, a wordless ‘‘nobody’s perfect.’’


When I ask him what he considers himself — Italian? — he laughs again.


‘‘To be Italian is one thing. To be Salentino is something else. I’m Salentino. Cosmopolitan Salentino.’’


IN A SENSE, the term is redundant. I spent two years in Rome and never encountered the kind of cosmopolitanism that I observe, at all levels of society, in two days in Salento. Winspeare, the son of an Italian baron and Liechtensteiner princess, is exceptional in his lineage, but the norm is not so different; the history of Salento is one of hybridity.


In brief: Ancient Salento belonged to Magna Graecia, that part of southern Italy settled by the Greeks. Its original inhabitants were Messapii, an Indo-European people later called Salentini. The Messapii were not of Greek origin — historians tie them to Illyria, of ‘‘Twelfth Night’’ fame — but associated with the Hellenics to create a vibrant culture. When the Romans conquered Messapia, they admired the local art: the sculpture and painting. With the fall of the Roman Empire came successive waves of conquerers: Byzantines, Normans, Swabians, Angevins, Aragoneses, the Spanish, Ottoman Turks. When Italy was unified in the mid-to-late 19th century, the region was plunged into poverty. For decades, Salento witnessed a massive migration. But unlike the Sicilians and Neapolitans who settled permanently in America, many Salentini returned after World War II.

    蛐蛐英语 www.qqenglish.com

简而言之,在古代,萨伦托属于大希腊(Magna Graecia),即意大利南部的希腊人定居区。萨伦托的原住民是梅萨皮人。这是一个印欧民族,后来被叫做萨伦托人。梅萨皮人没有希腊血统——历史学家认为他们和因《第十二夜》(Twelfth Night)而声名远扬的伊利里亚人关系密切——但他们和希腊人往来,创造出了充满活力的文化。占领梅萨皮亚时,希腊人曾对当地的雕塑和绘画艺术赞赏不已。随着罗马帝国的灭亡,这里接连迎来了一波又一波的征服者:拜占庭人、诺曼人、斯瓦比亚人、安如望人、阿拉贡人、西班牙人和奥斯曼土耳其人。19世纪中后期意大利统一时,这片地区陷入了贫困。此后数十年间,萨伦托见证了一场大规模移民。但不同于在美国永久定居的西西里人和那不勒斯人,很多萨伦托人在“二战”后回归故土。

What makes Salento unique is the living presence of this history: from its denizens’ contrasting North African and Northern European phenotypes to the Greek dialect still spoken in its villages. In one such — Calimera — stands a Greek statue. Inscribed in the stone are the words ‘‘Zeni sù en ise ettù sti Kalimera,’’ meaning, ‘‘You are not a stranger here in Calimera.’’

让萨伦托与众不同的是,你能看到其历史留下的鲜活印记:从居民脸上那些截然不同的北非和北欧面部特征,到村里依然有人在说的希腊方言。卡利梅拉便是这样一个村庄。这里还树立着一尊希腊雕像,石头上刻着“Zeni sù en ise ettù sti Kalimera”的字样。这句话的意思是“在卡利梅拉这里,你不是陌生人”。

It is this easy blending of cultures, more than its hotels or restaurants, that has made Salento so attractive to its most recent arrivals: designers and filmmakers and artists and authors (not to mention the odd farmer). Andrea del Genio is a Neapolitan who inherited a working farm from his Puglian grandmother. ‘‘I thought, ‘I’ll just go there for 15 days every year,’ ’’ he says. ‘‘I’ve been here 15 years so far.’’ From under a massive fig tree, we gaze out at his land: Here, the grapes may be grown for wine, but they’re still the sweetest I’ve ever tasted. Lunch is friselle, a local dish made entirely with ingredients from the farm: wheat, tomatoes, olive oil. ‘‘Farm-to-table eating? Back-to-nature living? It’s all very chic right now,’’ he says. ‘‘But the Salentini have been living this way for centuries.’’ When I ask whether he thinks tourists will change Salento, he laughs. ‘‘More likely Salento will change them. Many come. But only some go home.’’

正是这种文化的融合,而非当地的旅馆和餐厅,让新来的设计师、电影制作人、艺术家和作家(更别说间或到来的农夫)觉得萨伦托极具魅力。安德烈亚·德杰尼奥(Andrea del Genio)是那不勒斯人,他从生活在普利亚的祖母那里继承了一座仍在耕种的农场。“我当时想,‘我每年就去那里待15天’”,他说。“但到现在,我已经在这里待了15年了。”在一棵巨大的无花果树下,我们凝视远方,那里是属于他的土地:种的葡萄可能是用来酿酒的,但依然是我吃过的最甜的。午饭时,我们吃的是当地菜肴番茄麦饼(friselle),食材全部来自农场:小麦、西红柿和橄榄油。“从田地直接到餐桌的饮食?回归自然的居住环境?当下这些都非常时髦,”他说。“但成百上千年以来,萨伦托人一直都是这么过的。”当我问他,是否认为游客会改变萨伦托时,他笑了。“更可能是萨伦托改变他们。来了很多人,但只有一部分人回了家。”

The region is not picture-perfect; it doesn’t attract perfectionists. Though its various towns are lovely, one needs a car to travel between them, the roads lined with scraggly farmland and industrial warehouses. One of its primary crops — olives — grows in harsh conditions; in place of the manicured hills of Tuscany, arid groves stretch across the peninsula. Donkeys roamed the unpaved street outside my B&B. And yet here, in Salento, I found things I’ve yet to see elsewhere in Italy: a rural simplicity, an unconditional warmth, true open-mindedness. I was reminded of Ghana and India, two countries I visit every year, and where, in certain farming towns, one finds the same worldly-wise sense of innocence. The fashion crowd, forever searching for the newest thing, may have fallen in love with Salento—but these arrivées are nothing new to the Salentines.


WINSPEARE FINDS ME a driver, Amerigo Russo, a chatty handyman who the director cast in ‘‘Quiet Bliss,’’ and we head toward the village of Melpignano. In the piazza, old men sit in plastic chairs, chatting, shaded by an 18th-century church. Alongside sits Stefano Aluffi-Pentini’s palazzo, hidden behind a low door.

温斯皮尔给我找了个司机,名叫阿梅里戈·鲁索(Amerigo Russo),他颇为健谈,有着一双巧手。在《静谧的幸福》中,导演还让他出演了一个角色。我们一起驾车前往梅尔皮尼亚诺村。在广场上,建于18世纪的教堂投下了一片阴凉,坐在塑料椅子上的老人们闲聊着。斯特凡诺·阿卢菲-彭蒂尼(Stefano Aluffi-Pentini)的院落就坐落在教堂旁边,隐没在一道低矮的门后。

‘‘In the 16th century this was a market,’’ says Aluffi-Pentini, an art historian and expert in European palazzi who’s from Rome, gesturing with one hand to the piazza while serving rosé with the other. The wine, Castel di Salve, is made by Francesco Winspeare, Edoardo’s brother (and co-owner, with the director Taylor Hackford, of a wine bar in nearby Tricase). From the terrace, one can all but touch the arcades. ‘‘Merchants from the kingdom of Naples signed their contracts there.’’ 纽约时报中英文网 http://www.qqenglish.com

“16世纪时,这里是一个市场,”阿卢菲-彭蒂尼说。他既是一名艺术历史学家,又是研究欧洲华丽建筑的专家。来自罗马的他一手倒着玫瑰葡萄酒,一手指向广场。Castel di Salve这款葡萄酒是爱德华多的兄弟弗朗切斯科·温斯皮尔(Francesco Winspeare)生产的。(弗朗切斯科还和导演泰勒·海克福德[Taylor Hackford]一起,在附近的特里卡塞开了一家葡萄酒酒吧。)站在露台上的时候,很容易就能想象出当年商铺林立的景象。“从那不勒斯王国来的商人就是在这里签合同的。”

Coming from Rome, I know what it is to live with history. But here, he says, history lives with him. ‘‘Salento is a place that still belongs to the daily life of its inhabitants. Many cities in Italy are better preserved, but overrun with tourists. I prefer Salento to Capri. Here the sea is not the focus. Did Edoardo tell you the story? He knows an old woman who’s never seen the sea. This land was attacked by pirates; the sea was dangerous. Life here happens inland.’’


Indeed, of all the towns I visit, only Otranto has a classic beach: a veritable Miami compared to tiny Depressa and Melpignano. Here, at their beach club, I find the brother-and-sister duo of Carlo and Rita Capasa, two thirds of the threesome behind Costume National. Russo has driven me here from the rockier coast of Tricase Porto, where I stopped to chat with the graphic artist Anna Guarini. Villa Guarini, like the Winspeares’ palazzo, is as relaxed as it is regal: Guarini’s adult children, dog Léon and swimsuit-clad boyfriend pass through. Guarini herself — impeccably elegant — grew up in this house, spent decades in Paris and recently moved to Rome.

的确,在去过的所有当地城镇中,只有奥特朗托有一片典型的海滩。相比于狭小的迪普雷萨和梅尔皮尼亚诺,那片海滩堪称迈阿密。在这里的海滩俱乐部里,我看到了卡洛(Carlo)和丽塔·卡帕萨(Rita Capasa)兄妹,就是时尚品牌Costume National背后那三兄妹中的其中两人。鲁索开车把我从特里卡塞波尔图的岩石海岸送到了这里。在特里卡塞波尔图,我曾驻足与平面设计师安娜·瓜里尼(Anna Guarini)闲聊。和温斯皮尔家的大宅一样,“瓜里尼庄园”的风格既轻松,又庄严:瓜里尼已长大成人的孩子、家里养的狗里昂和她那身穿泳衣的男友在屋里走过。瓜里尼优雅得无可挑剔。从小就在这栋房子里长大的她,去巴黎生活了几十年,前不久回到了罗马。

‘‘My mother always spoke of Villa Guarini,’’ Russo tells me as we’re parking. Once inside, he greets Guarini deferentially, mentioning that his mother once worked for her parents. She in turn greets him warmly, asking, ‘‘Who is your mother?’’ He tells her. ‘‘But of course!’’ she cries. ‘‘You’re Lucia’s son. How is your aunt Cesarina?’’


It isn’t every lady that remembers the names of her household staff’s relations — but, as Guarini explains, the Salentino aristocracy is peculiar. ‘‘Historically, the landowners had very intimate relationships with the workers. As a girl, I went to public school with all the other children.’’ Though she lives in Rome, Guarini spends months at a time in Tricase Porto. The upside of the sea’s downplayed role is that summer is not the season: One can live here all year long, and some adventurous people do.


That, of course, is not to say that the sea is not spectacular. I’m enthralled by it, a swath of azure, as we climb the coast to Otranto en route to the Capasas for dinner. Dressed all in white, a long white braid down her back, Signora Capasa, the matriarch of the family, is impossibly chic. She is relaxing by the water with Carlo and Rita when we arrive (their middle brother, the designer Ennio, has returned to Milan). ‘‘People often ask how a family from Salento creates such minimal clothes,’’ Carlo says. ‘‘They imagine southern Italy as baroque, as over the top. But it can also be quite simple. Our parents were always minimal.’’

当然,这并不是说当地的海景不壮阔。在去卡帕萨家吃饭的路上,我们沿着通向奥特兰托的海岸行驶。那片蔚蓝的大海让我如痴如醉。卡帕萨家族的女族长西尼奥拉·卡帕萨(Signora Capasa)穿着一袭白衣,白发长辫垂在背上,时尚得令人难以置信。我们到的时候,她正和卡洛及丽塔在水边放松(三兄妹中的老二,即设计师恩尼奥已经回米兰了)。“人们总会问,一个来自萨伦托的家族是如何制作出这么简约的衣服的,”卡洛说。“他们想象中的意大利南部是巴洛克风格的,装饰过度。但这里也可以很简单。我们的父母就一直奉行简约风格。”

The Capasa siblings grew up in Lecce, that cream-walled dream of a city, and spent their vacations in Otranto, where their parents were born. Though neither their mother nor father spoke French nor English, they both traveled often, fascinated by the fashions coming out of Paris and London. For their children, an international clothing line renowned for its minimal aesthetic is classically Salentine. ‘‘We grew up in Lecce,’’ Carlo continues. ‘‘It’s baroque, but minimalist baroque. All one color, all one stone. International, minimal. These are our roots.’’

卡帕萨兄妹在莱切长大,那里像是一个有着米黄色墙壁的梦幻城镇。他们还会去父母的出生地奥特兰托度假 。尽管都不会说法语和英语,但他们的父母经常去旅行,并为来自巴黎和伦敦的服装所倾倒。对他们的子女来说,一个以简约美扬名的国际服装品牌,体现的是标准的萨伦托风格。“我们在莱切长大,”卡洛接着说。“那里是巴洛克风格,不过是简约的巴洛克风格。通通只有一种颜色,一种石头。既是国际的,又是简约的。这些是我们的根。”

IT IS THIS MIXTURE — of minimalism and multiculturalism — that enchants Olga of Greece. Seven years ago the Greek princess, raised in Paris and New York, and her Italian husband, Prince Aimone of Savoy-Aosta, bought a crumbling palazzo in Giuggianello. ‘‘His being Italian, my being Greek, Salento is the perfect place to be both,’’ she says, dispatching their three children to the pool: one of the only finished sections of the compound. I’ve come to visit their three-wing palazzo, which is undergoing a slow and deliberate renovation; we sip coffee in a parlor cluttered with toys and lined with original editions of the Enciclopedia Treccani (I’m thrilled to find Davide Winspeare’s name among the brittle pages). The windows and doors have yet to arrive but the frescoes are ready for viewing: a gorgeous display of pastel pinks and peeling sea-foam greens. Having studied architecture at Columbia, Olga adores Salento’s villas.

正是这种简约主义和多元文化的融合让来自希腊的奥尔加陶醉其中。奥尔加是希腊的公主,她的丈夫是意大利的萨伏伊-奥斯塔王子艾蒙内(Aimone)。七年前,夫妇两人在朱贾内洛买下了一处日渐破败的大宅。“他是意大利人,我是希腊人,对我俩来说,萨伦托是最完美的选择,”她一边说,一边把三个孩子打发到泳池边。院子里只有少数几个地方已完工,泳池是其中之一。我是来参观他们这栋拥有三个侧翼的房子的,这里正在进行缓慢、慎重的翻修。其中一间起居室里塞满了玩具,还有成排的原版《特雷卡尼百科全书》(Enciclopedia Treccani)(这些书的纸张已经发脆,但在书里发现达维德·温斯皮尔的名字让我兴奋不已)。我们在这里一边谈话一边小口喝着咖啡。窗户和门都还没到,但壁画已经准备好让来客欣赏了,放眼望去,一片绚烂的淡粉色和淡绿色迎面而来。曾在哥伦比亚大学研习建筑学的奥尔加对萨伦托的乡间庄园很是钟情。

After we finish our coffee, she takes me to the roof. Seen from here, it could be Greece or even Morocco: the desert-like landscape, the low white houses, the olive groves, a single goat. Like Salento itself, the view is utterly captivating — quiet, unchanged by time, unspoiled by perfection.


‘‘You can look all you want, but you don’t find houses like this anywhere else. There are beautiful houses in Greece, but not in this style. Take our facade. It’s simple, minimal, protected.’’


Much like life in Salento itself.




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