We had a beautiful ride through the Puglian countryside today. The majority of grapes and olives produced in Italy are grown in Puglia, and it is harvest time. On one quiet country road we could hear the staccato snipping of grape harvesters as they quickly cut the grapes from the vines. The peach orchards are already turning orange and the colors of fall are arriving.

We made a side trip to the Castel Del Monte, an octagonal castle constructed by Frederick II in the 13th century.  It has UNESCO world heritage designation.

My Dad would love this castle.  It must have been built with astronomy in mind. Frederick II was was known as the Wonder of his Time, for the breadth and depth of his intellectual interests, and no doubt astronomy was one of these.  The castle is located on a hill far from any light pollution and contains an octagonal central courtyard open to the sky.  Perfect for observing the nighttime sky.
From Castel del Monte we rolled down to the Adriatic Sea at Trani.  This is a charming seaside town with a well restored historical centre and an active fishing fleet.  Right beside the sea it also has a stunning 13th century Romanesque cathedral described as “the pearl of Puglian churches”.   We were able to get a pilgrim stamp at the cathedral, completing our line from England to the Adriatic, embarkation area for pilgrimages to Jerusalem.  Regrettably, season and civil war preclude us from taking that step this year.

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