Fontanelle is a farm holidays today, not far from Otranto, on the north coast, a stone’s throw from the beach and the sea of dreams, that of Baia dei Turchi, and immersed in a setting of wonderful countryside, where olive trees, cereals, grope-vine, fruit and vegetables are grown. We offer accommodation in a camper area with recreational facilities and in nine double rooms, furnished inspiration to local history. We were born slowly, step by step, on a road where lots of people accompanied us, sometimes taking us by the hand, sometimes looking at us from above, or simply walking alongside us. If you have any minutes, sit back and relax: you are going to listen to a story, ours.
We need to move the hands the years early twentieth century when Otranto was changing and that of Alimini, which as the Greek name limèn, was just a marsh, was drained and became a flourishing area of wood and Mediterranean scrub. The small pine trees, planted by local farmers by order of the government grew sweet-smelling and strong, while behind them, the waves of the Strait of Otranto beat.
At a point on the coast, where today the myrtle and the mastic tree, clung to the rock, embrace the white sand, there, the legend landed the Turks, back in 1480, ready to conquer a town that had always unarmed, peaceful and very beautiful. That beach is called, even today “Baia dei Turchi”, and loved, respected and protected.
But beyond the sea, and over the pinewood, there were the fields: hectares of hectares of land still uncultivated, waiting to be discovered, adopted, cultivated with love. They thought the many farmers of Otranto, where the Land Reform, in the fifties assigned a farmhouse with an adjoining farm. A small plough, a horse or a donkey, a stable and a hoe were the equipment of those men and women who had nothing to lose; they bent their backs to bring to light the ground that under the stones would give a lot of fruit.
My grandfather, Ottavio, left us too soon, and my father, Mario, chose to follow his own path left in half. He adopted and grew with love, for thirty years, that land which in his hands became versatile, friable and prosperous. He produced grain, vegetables and fruit, specializing in wine-growing and barbatella; he was intelligent and looked away. In 1982, a small pinewood was born, together with me; my father dreamt of transforming it into a camping site, and then a lot of shade it would have given to the hundreds of people who have crossed over the years. In 1998, under the sun of June, my father planted one thousand olive trees, which are still small today, and are orphans him.
At this point I am reminded of the passage from a poem by Hikmet:
Life is not a joke,
Take it seriously.
But seriously to the point
That at seventy, for example,
You will plant olive trees
Not because they remain
on your children,
But because you will not
believe in death
My mother, Maddalena, is a woman who knows what it means to love, and she does not give up, even if she could. In 2001, together with her and my sister Silvia, we began to re-build that dream, which was a man’s dream and has become for many. Year have passed and the small camper area, that my father left us, has soared. Stone by stone, step by step, smiling in spite of pain, working for an idea, my family drove me here. To all, I have something. And if it is true that “one who throws seeds in the wind will flourish the sky”, my sky is a spring party now.
This story continues, and continues with me; I collect all this legacy with joy and I make my stronghold. I take this earth, and every day a feel more mine, but if you want, you can even feel a little yours.