Zapponeta is a small town in the province of Foggia in the south of Italy. You can literally walk around the whole town at a leisurely pace in less then an hour (I actually did as part of a religious festival). The town has a beautiful beach with a family friendly beach bar/club called Nirvana where you can find all the towns’ youngsters on a Friday night. With a beautiful traditional Catholic Church in the heart of the town.
Zapponeta is a small town that I fell in love with and now call my other home.
THE PEOPLE OF ZAPPONETA
The amazing wonderful people of Zapponeta. We (myself and Fiona – camp tutor) arrived in Zapponeta to be greeted by all the kids from camp, their families and some of the other kids from town. They were all so excited to see us and the kids literally were hanging off of us, it was actually surreal and all I could feel was love.
One thing that I loved was that all the parents treated all the children like they were their own. Making sure they were okay, sending their kids to camp with extra food and water for anyone who doesn’t have enough, playing and having little jokes with them. Honestly, it is one of the nicest things you’ll ever see. That’s a perk of being from a small town, everyone knows everyone and everyone takes care of everyone.
The kids all grow up knowing each other and each others parents. We would walk around town and stop to chat with so many different people, I absolutely loved it. Everyone was so friendly and all the kids wanted us to be their best friend – it was honestly the sweetest thing.
LA MIA FAMIGLIA ITALIANA – MY ITALIAN FAMILY
Vito, Nunzia, Ruggiero and Francesco – the most amazing family in all of Italia. I honestly have been Blessed with having them in my life.
I genuinely believe that everything happens for a reason. I was not meant to be going to Zapponeta and I was told the day before Bergamo that I had a 15 hour trip to the other side of Italy. When I first met them, I knew I was in for a great week. They were so friendly and Francisco so chatty and literally made me laugh from the get-go.
I genuinely felt like Vito was a Dad and it was nice to have a father in my life for that week. Nunzia was so caring and looked after me like I was her very own, it was so nice to have a maternal figure while I am so far from home and don’t get to contact home often. And my lovely little Brothers were everything I wanted and more! We had so much fun and they made me laugh so much – love them.
Honestly so lucky to call them my family.
SUMMER CAMP WITH ALL OUR KIDS
The bundles of joy that I was like to spend an entire week with. On my way home on the final day, my Brother kept quoting several things I said to my class – “Silence”, “It’s not funny” – I was literally in hysterics. Its funny how kids pick up on things like that and that’s what resonates with them – they obviously found it funny.
We had met all the kids from camp on the day of arrival and they literally loved us. They gave us the biggest hugs when they said goodbye and were so excited to see us on Monday morning.
It is literally hilarious how pretty much all the kids in camp where somehow related, either cousins or siblings. I loved it, although it did get distracting sometimes. You could see how much they cared for their siblings which was really sweet, making sure they had their snack, had enough water and were okay.
My favourite part of camp was definitely the final showcase day. It was great seeing them perform to their parents and it was like one big party at the end of it. You could see what a close-knit community they are and how much love they put into their cooking. The cake was also AMAZING which my Mum’s sister made.
EATING IN ZAPPONETA
FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD! Zapponeta did not fail to impress in the food department at all. Food was definitely important in Zapponeta. For one, the kids loved food and had big appetites for their little bodies. The Mum’s would bring fresh food in for them at lunch time to make sure their kids ate well and the lunch was fresh.
My Mum was an amazing cook and always put her heart into every meal we had – my Dad would also contribute to the meal even if it was setting the table or doing the salad – haha. I was fed so well every single day, whether we were eating at home or eating out. What was also really cute, is my family rotate their Sunday lunches between the Grandparents’ houses on each side. The food was made with love and tasted so freaking good.
I ate so well while being in Zapponeta and I definitely was having withdrawals once I returned to London. There was not one meal I ate and didn’t enjoy every single bit of it (minus the first night – I was full on starters before the main). Italians take pride in their food and make sure that you eat well.
BEAUTIFUL LITTLE TOWN WITH A PRETTY LITTLE BEACH
Where I stayed in Zapponeta was a 7 minute walk away from the beach and where I worked was a 2 minute walk away from the beach – luckiest girl right?!
Zapponeta is honestly a beautiful town with a pretty beach and loving people. The palm trees that you see all around the town make it look like something out of a movie.
I honestly am in love with this little town called Zapponeta and I cannot wait to return.
All that food looks so good. I am liking the idea, for one of my next trips, of finding a cool little town and just exploring it really well for a time. I haven’t exactly done this for a long time, but last year in Japan we made a brief stop in one and it reminded me how interesting being in a more remote place somewhere different can be.
That food looks incredible and is making me so hungry right now! It sounds like you had a truly cultural experience being completely ingrained into the Italian lifestyle. What an amazing opportunity!