on the beauty of travel + southern italy

HG | forty-sixth at grace | italy

I was surprised when I first arrived in Puglia.
I’d taken the train there,
a near full day whizzing past
small towns, long fields
and the Adriatic Sea.
Eight or so hours of inspiration from my seat.




But still, I hadn’t expected the south to look that way.
I hadn’t dreamt of the stark whites
and beautiful creams.
Nor, the light sandy beige.
I hadn’t considered
that a short moss might grow
beneath the olive trees.



I hadn’t expected
the flat, pale, beauty of it all.
The lack of rolling hills
and terracota soil.



I don’t know what it was I’d expected.
It’s almost as though I hadn’t dreamt big enough.


HG | forty-sixth at grace | italy


I’d heard how wonderful the food was.
How different the tomatoes taste,
and how fresh the cheese.
But I wasn’t prepared for
backyards of oranges,
roadsides of arugula
or gardens tucked amidst olive groves.
I hadn’t thought of the seafood.


Somehow I’d kinda forgotten
just how extraordinary travel can be.
xo, N






PS: find a little more from our trip, here.
Photos: Michael Graydon

posted on February 4, 2013 by Nikole


  1. Joy @ OSS says:

    wow. im utterly blown away!

  2. Janice says:

    These are such spectacular photos. I love the seashell one.

  3. Meghan says:

    You have a way with words, accompanied by some pretty special imagery. These are beautiful.

  4. Sasha says:

    That is certainly what makes travel magical: what you don’t expect and how different the expected can end up being.

    Did you discover any wonderful new recipes while in Puglia? And as a pastry chef, what did you think of the flour? Puglia is supposed to have the best wheat in Italy.

  5. Amber says:

    I am having serious photo envy!! Great pics and great place to visit x

  6. becca says:

    Lovely, lovely, lovely. I can’t help but be envious, but I know this trip will infuse your life with creative energy and love. Can’t wait to see all the lovely influences unfold on your blog! Safe travels! xxoo

  7. Janel says:

    Hi Nicole!

    It’s Janel. Met you in Morro Doro in October. Just wanted to say Hello. So fun to see some pics of your travels south after our workshop was over. Hope you are well! I have been looking at your shop and can’t wait to purchase a handmade item. Not sure what I want though, it’s all so amazing and beautiful. I could have one of everything. Thinking a cutting board or a cake stand, perhaps some small bowls to. If I can snag any…..they are coveted items!


  8. Janel says:

    Correction, it’s a cheese paddle, not a board. So sorry. I came back to ask, have you made any gnocchi yet?? I haven’t but want too! Just haven’t thought to do it yet.


  9. Kelly says:

    I love Puglia!!! Had my honeymoon there 2 years ago. Freshest octopus and sweetest figs. They also have gorgeous beaches – Not as crowded as the rest of Italy but warm sea water and sandy beaches….blissssss……this makes me want to go back!

  10. nadia says:

    so beautifully said. i am excited to be there in May but till then your words and photographs will fill in the miles and days till
    i too will see and experience those things.

  11. Rebecca says:

    Oh, what a gorgeous post and stunning photos. I’m a bit homesick for Italy, now. Have a lovely day!

  12. amy m. says:

    The most beautiful silvery colors!

  13. Charlyn says:

    Oh Nikole….
    I love this post so much, I couldn’t even tell ya…!
    Ofcourse those photos are incredible, incredible…..



  14. furry 2000 says:

    Oh Nikole and Michael
    This post and photo are amazing…

  15. Jade Sheldon says:

    *sigh*… There is no place like Italy…

  16. alexandria says:

    I love reading what you notice in everyday life and your travels. This is a beautiful collection.

  17. Alessandra says:

    this beautiful post makes me homesick, I just want to scream: “I wanna go back!”. I miss all those colours, odors, and details I was so accustomed too. Such a pleasure to read that you saw Italy in that way.

  18. Liz says:

    Amazing moody photos; winter is always that kind of light. Far less stark in the Med at times. I live further south than Puglia – in Malta – but au paired there years ago when 19! Abruzzo and Puglia are my favourite regions, even though Tuscany, fame and crowds aside, is magical. Sicily is perhaps my secret place to get lost in in Italy. I guess living in the southern Mediterranean makes one need to go north to really appreciate the ‘lost’ South. I have to add though, that while I adore fish and fish markets, I stopped eating Octopus years ago. Once a diver friend said how rare they were becoming, and how after he’d seen one for the first time early in his diving career, he could never eat one again – so graceful and so afraid, so keen to be left alone. Intelligent. I snorkel but have never seen one, but his words linger. So sad to see them there alive still, awaiting the pot.

    On another note, I adore your new boards and wonder if you P&P to Malta?!

  19. Jill Palumbo says:

    Your pictures take my breath away…………..

  20. Meghan says:

    I’ve been waiting for this! Beautiful, beautiful photographs, Mister Graydon.

  21. These are just stunning images. Makes me want to go.

  22. Lauren says:

    oh my gosh Nikole! I am so in love with Michael’s octopus photo, do you think he night sell a print? It’s just gorgeous (as always).

  23. Jay Rana says:

    beautiful pictures and nice article…

  24. Amy says:

    beautiful words, beautiful images. makes me want to pack that rucksack! your words have such poetry and grace to them, thank you for sharing.

  25. [...] In Italy, this past October we stood on our tiptoes to see oranges over walls. And in California a couple months later we slowed the car for lemon trees. [...]

  26. […] In Italy, this past October we stood on our tiptoes to see oranges over walls. And in California a couple months later we slowed the car for lemon trees. […]

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