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Wine and La Notte di San Lorenzo

■ 24 May 2012 by James Martin

Anna Vacca of the Mansion Giovinazzo, a fantastic (and inexpensive) modern vacation rental apartment in the historic Palazzo Ducale in Giovinazzo (Puglia, home to the octupus slappers and an amazing assortment of historic wonders we’ll write about later) reminds us that the 20th edition of Cantine Aperto, Open Cantinas, is just about upon us. If you are unfamiliar with Puglian wine, now’s the time to get cozy with a bottle or two. I recommend a wine I’m very cozy with, the Paolo Leo Passo del Cardinale Primitivo di Manduria, one of the best wines we’ve tasted in Puglia yet, and from a suddenly hot producer at a bottle price of a mere 8 euro. You just can’t beat it.

During Cantine Aperto, wineries all over Italy will be open and many offer special events and tastings, not only of wine but of local food as well. Cantine Aperto is held on the last Sunday in May.

But hold on, there’s more! If you’re in Puglia and you like wine, you shouldn’t miss the Calici di Stelle which features events and tastings in the piazze of old town Trani on the Night of San Lorenzo, which would be the night of August 10th.

So try if you can to get a reservation at Hotel San Paolo al Convento in Trani, one of Puglia’s most beautiful seaside cities, and take in the shooting stars with a chalice of wine: Calici di Stelle

Don’t know about the Night of San Lorenzo? Mon Dieu, I must explain everything! Saint Lawrence was set upon a bonfire by the rich Romans when he represented the poor as the most valuable treasures of his church. (Ha! It’s not a new phenomenon! Mon Dieu again!)

As deacon of Pope Sixtus II, San Lorenzo had been ordered by one of tyrant Valerian’s judges to offer up the church’s treasures; San Lorenzo presented the poorest of his congregation, and the judge ordered San Lorenzo to be burned alive on a gridiron.

San Lorenzo bravely faced his death and famously said, “I am roasted enough on this side; turn me over and eat.” ~ La Notte di San Lorenzo: Make a Wish!

Italians see the shooting stars visible around August 10th as part of the Perseid Meteor Shower representing either the tears of the cheeky saint or the sparks from his fire. Take your pick but make a wish. That’s basically what you do.

I’d wish for a case of the Passo del Cardinale.

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Wine and La Notte di San Lorenzo originally appeared on WanderingItaly.com May 24, 2012, © James Martin.

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