Remember the telephone game? Your friend would whisper a secret in your ear, you turn and whisper it on. Person to person, eventually, the narrative shifts and gets more fantastic and magical along the way.
The Legend of Pizzomunno in Vieste, Italy reminds me of this game. In the most deliciously romantic way possible.
My Husband Bello, a Northern Italian was told the tale at checkin by a Southern Italian with a strong dialect. Plus, my Italian is still lagging so Bello had to recount the story in English. All of that to say, we already had a game of telephone going before getting to Pizzomunno Beach.
Arriving just before sunset on a cool, breezy evening in May, a magical pink hue set the scene. A soft wind blew cool breezes on shore, turning our faces to Cristalda. A monolithic stark white rock, standing tall, blushing in the face of the Adriatic Sea.
As the legend goes Sirens dragged one of the lovers deep into the sea. Retribution for Pizzomunno’s refusal to be the Sirens immortal lover and king. In pain, the remaining lover became frozen in time over hundreds of years. Remaining on the beach with the hope to unit.
The symmetry of the legend with Bello and I walking the beach was not lost on me. Inseparable lovers on Puzzomunno beach at night. Bello tall, strong and handsome, often the eye catcher of Sirens remains faithful to his long red locked love.
I will admit, a strange pull, a desire to never leave Pizzomunno Beach. Perhaps hearing the story just before our arrival, perhaps puttering through sunset. Pizzomunno Beach cast one of my most legendary personal memories of all my travels to date.
On looking back through the images, I researched the tale. As it turns out, there is good reason for confusion. Be it the translation or the telling of the tale, each is unique.
One story drags Cristalda while another Pizzomunno into the sea. Some say it is Pizzomunno frozen in time on the beach, others it’s Cristalda forever awaiting the return of her love. Whatever the true Legend be, there is no doubt the tale lends to the magic of Vieste.
Vieste jets out into the Adriatic on the Northern coast of Puglia. A positively enchanting small village that well earns it’s nickname, Pearl of Gargano. Bright white rocks hued a subtle pink divides azure waves from a cyan sky making Vieste the softest coastline I’ve seen.
In the coming days, I’ll share what we saw, where we ate and because I can’t stop myself, a few goofy headlines like, Lazy Cows Make The Best Cheese. True story, something I learned while visiting a cheese shop in Vieste! See, told you, can’t help myself.
For now I’ll say this. Vieste is part of an economically depressed area in Italy. Yet, there is a special beauty and magic to Puglia. Nature is bathed in resplendent color, people are kind, wine is delicious and the quality of food is among the best in the world.
Just wandering the city streets you get the sense, a magical memory always lies ahead.
If you have heard the tale, the Legend of Puzzomunno and have a definitive source, please share! I’d love to get to the bottom of the original story one day it that’s truly possible. As a romantic gesture for Bello.