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Giovinazzo and The Octopus Slappers

■ 25 April 2012 by James Martin

ocopus slapper, giovinazzoGiovinazzo is a small, seaside village north of Bari. It has a very long history and was once home to all the major monastic orders. In spring, outside of holidays, it transforms itself into the little fishing village tourists never seem to come across any more but yearn for.

Each morning I head out to spend time with the other old geezers who watch the tiny wooden fishing boats ease into the little harbor with their catch. Just around the corner are what I call the octopus slappers, the divers who bang their catch against the rocks to tenderize it before it’‘s sold. The acrid smell of fuel, the sharp slap of octupus on the rocks, the pealing of church bells in the distance, the men greeting each other—that is my morning. it’s a simple morning like the food. It’s all the goodness of the sea-bounty, you just have to know how not to wreck it.

Giovinazzo has been very nice to me. Go, but go in spring or fall for this experience; summer is a madhouse they tell me.

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Giovinazzo and The Octopus Slappers originally appeared on WanderingItaly.com Apr 25, 2012, © James Martin.

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