Drive Across Italy for Lunch? Only Takes 3 Hours!

Call me naive, but I’m American and driving across my country takes a very, very long time. So imagine my surprise at seeing the Adriatic Sea… just three hours after picking up a rental car at Fiumicino… right  beside the Tyrrhenian Sea!

Bello, my Italian Husband… yeah, he sort of knew it was not going to take that long. Before this trip, my time in Italy had all been spent in the North and this, this was an epic 16 day journey through Southern Italy.

After our first three days in Rome, I again naively, thought “How can it get better than ROME!” Italy, was about to teach this American, she hadn’t seen, let alone tasted, anything yet.

San Salvo Marina is two hours north of Vieste along the coast. Making it the perfect stop for anyone traveling between Rome and Vieste. Which we were, and now, we were hungry!

With the Adriatic Sea in view and his wife belting out road trip music beside him, Bello rounded a corner to Ristorante Marina.

Restorante Marina in San Salvo
Restorante Marina in San Salvo

An unassuming little spot, the second you step inside, you get it. This place is old school, the good kind. Family run for 25 years kind. Mom and Sister back of house, Son front of house. One loud local character, gesticulating boldly captivating the room. I loved it instantly.

An elder gentleman with a heavy Southern Italian accent greeted us with “the boy will take care of you.” Turns out the “Boy” is a tall, kind man well past boyhood.

He quickly dressed our table and helped us settle in with a lovely bottle of Trebbiano d’Abruzzo. A local crisp, bright yet balanced white, absolutely perfect to accompany what was to come next.

Cataldi Madonna Trebbiano d'Abruzzo DOC
Cataldi Madonna Trebbiano d’Abruzzo DOC

Appetizers of Marinated Anchovies for Bello…

 Marina Anchovies
Marina Anchovies

and Carpaccio of the Day for me.

Oh, My, God, Good. A symbol of Italian food, the freshest ingredients prepared as simply yet perfectly as possible. Details to attention, paid. Crisp grilled, oiled bread hit the table with a beautiful aroma and provided the perfect seafood delivery device.

Stop here, heavens no! We skipped the Primi and went straight for our mains, more seafood. Bello went for one of his favorites, a dish he feared to order outside Italy, Calamari.

Calamari
Calamari

My first bite, explained why. Lightly battered and very lightly fried giving just enough bite but yields soft, tender flesh. Again perfect.

Mullet for me. A small local fish, divine in it’s fresh, rich flavor.

Local Fresh Catch
Local Fresh Catch

You’ve heard of Scarpetta right? Scrapping up left over sauce with bread. The flavor of the ocean, tomatoes and olive oil were tempting me, and I didn’t resist, I dug in. Bello and I finished every last edible morsel, just shy of licking the plate.

Scarpetta Face
Scarpetta Face

When we hit the bottom of bottle and plate, there was just one thing left to do.

A Sign of Lunch Done Well
A Sign of Lunch Done Well

Order two strong cafe lungo to send us on our way.

A Proper Black Cup
A Proper Black Cup

Thank you to the family of Ristorante Marina in San Salvo Italy. We truly loved our lunch and your hospitality, hoping to return your way soon!

Piccola & Bello

Continue the journey tomorrow into Vieste, Italy. Where legend has it, sirens dragged a girl of rare beauty, with long hair the color of sun into the depths of the sea. Perhaps I should take care on Pizzomunno Beach!

The Start of The Journey: 3 Days in Rome on a Beer BudgetHow We Afford 90 Days on the Road, Ways We Save to Travel: Cut Your Cell Phone Bill in Half

Piccola & Bello in Vieste
Piccola & Bello in Vieste

 

 

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