Feb
2015

San Fele

Basilicata

More than ninety percent of the region of Basilicata comprises mountain or hills. The town of San Fele, surrounded by lush forests, is no exception. 

San Fele is a small town of about 4,000 that lies along the Passo delle Crocelle, the southern passes of the Appenine mountain range active during ancient and medieval times. The pass served as a connector between the ports of Bari to the east and Salerno to the west. The village lies on an ancient trade route as well as on a crusader route to the Holy Land. 

The village’s skyline is dominated by a nearby volcano called Monte Volture. Because of the volcano’s proximity, San Fele has throughout history been subject to earthquakes. 

Basilicata is not an area known for its restaurants. But one exception is in the town of San Fele, a stone’s throw from the town center, called Tipicamente (literally “typical”). Chef Antonio Puppio leaves no local ingredient untouched, celebrating everything from the podolica long-horn cattle to the burrata from Andria. 

The paccheri pasta, a seemingly risky yet perfect take on carbonara with baccalà, guanciale and a dusting of peperone di Senise, is mind boggling. Puppio’s cooking seems effortless. His is the food of the Old West: risky, wildly varied, and yet extremely tasty and completely unique to its “terra.”