PEZ ROADSIDE Giro’13 St.5: Back in 2013, “The Pez” Richard Pestes was in Pistichi much longer than planned, due to the labyrinthine layout of the old Italian cities. Here is the story: “Semper Dritto” – “always ahead” – a good translation. Used properly, it is a sign of confidence, focus and success, but these same slogans can also get you where you never expected.

But let’s start with a small note about breakfast – at least the one that feeds my driver for the whole day behind the wheel …

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An interesting fact about Mino # 38 “It’s not lunch.”
Day after day my “pilot” Mino continues to amaze me when I meet the man behind the wheel. I’ve already called us “unlimited power” and seen Mino take care of things that would be the envy of Harvey Keitel’s character in “Criminal Readings,” and I was amazed at how he walks hour after hour on these long days with not-so-noon snack. I can make it to about 4pm before crashing hard – but he just drives up to dinner – which happened once at 10:30. Then I noticed his breakfast ritual consisting of just a cappuccino and three croissants and then another cappuccino and three more croissants. Boom. Done. It is scheduled for 12 p.m. I have no idea how he does it, but he has it working.

For his part, he rolls his eyes every time I take a slice of pizza for lunch – he wonders why I eat so much. Anyway, he seems to be the perfect Tonta for my Lone Ranger – which of course makes him a great travel partner.

If in Italy – why not go by Italian car? The Alfa Romeo Giulia was a decent ride, and even more so today.

Now to today’s history, which actually tells the story of an unexpected adventure we had yesterday. After the start of the day at Policastra Busentino we planned to head east and not stop until we reached today’s finish in Matera. I calculated this to save 3-6 hours in the machine, which is better to use for writing a report, doing some work and maybe even getting a negro before lunch.

Banner with t-wrench for Arundel bicycles

When it comes to handheld devices, the Mino is an old school – it’s Nokia (while I have an iPhone). Thus, we conduct dueling GPS devices, both of which sometimes offer completely different route suggestions. I’ve noticed that Nokia has a habit of leading us down obscure routes, sometimes straying, and even just giving us the wrong location.

The mother sits in the middle of the foot – kind of below the ankle, and is one of those places you can’t get from here. Based on our electronic devices, we had several routes to choose from, but seeing that my driver is my driver, I preferred the Nokia Mino (old school), although it already gave us bad advice and constantly contrasts with my Iphone.

We left the lush forests of the coast behind and found a completely different landscape when we passed the mountains that isolate the central south from the rest of the country.

The village below is deserted – dry, hot, little rain – and little growing. It reminds me of the American West – and I’m sure they shot a lot of spaghetti westerns here in the 60s.

But we had a good time – focusing on arriving in Matera at 2:30. Nokia did a good job today and we bombed an empty tiny country road past abandoned farms and occasional olive groves.

In the distance I saw the town of Pistichi on top of a hill that majestically nestled above the lowlands, and although it obviously had medieval origins, it seemed to flourish in the modern world. It would be nice to see someday, I thought.

And just as I began to look forward to my story being done before the Negroes, Mina pressed the brakes and nearly stopped. The road ahead was blocked – the bridge was damaged, and there was no passage.

I asked Mino what he thought?

“Semper dritto” was his answer. He turned the car to the left and onto a tiny dirt track I hadn’t even seen. It seems that this bridge has not been working for some time, and it seems that it will be some time before it is fixed. Maybe that’s why we haven’t seen another car since we drove off the main highway many miles back.

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Now I’m ready to push and all that – sometimes you just have to drive in “smoke” to see what’s on the other side. But I had my doubts, because the track was winding in the opposite direction and was so uneven that our speed dropped to 20 km / h. Luckily, Mino treated my rented car with full respect – then there was no need to pay for unnecessary repair bills.

The rugged geography here is accentuated by a rocky riverbed that runs without a specific direction on land, except that it cuts fairly wide strips, making a huge piece of land unusable.

Another thing I appreciate about my driver is his complete willingness to ask for directions – so when we finally spotted the oncoming car, Mina didn’t hesitate to point it out. “It’s Pistichi’s turn,” he said.

So far we had lost a good half hour, and ahead was still the ascent to the top of the hill and the descent on the other side to get us back on track. But, like any good adventure, I saw the smoke begin to dissipate. At least we’ll take a look at the ancient city – maybe even have a coffee in the town square.

Next we went – the road suddenly became paved (but only in places), and now we saw that eventually we will get to the city gates – although first we need to increase the mark by 20%.

Nobody uses this road anymore, but it led us to the lower part of the city. Of course, our choice of direction was sometimes not the best, and we chose the direct approach (compared to the signs). The road narrowed. Then it narrowed again.

The turn, which would have been reversed if there was enough space to unfold, led to our first stop-backup-before-repeat, which would fill our navigation log for the next 45 minutes.

There was no question of turning around – and none of us even offered – go on! The road turned into a narrow sidewalk in other parts of the world, but we argued that we would be able to drive Alfa Romeo Giulia, but this time I jumped out to guide Mino ahead.

Centimeters left, but we did it. It was the worst street I had ever driven. Then we broke through another narrow corner, and the walls closed again. And again I was ahead, watching both wings as Mino slipped through an even thinner slit.

It was noon, and the city was deserted – well, there is no place for our cars and pedestrians.

It should also be noted that so far even my very chilled driver has started to get “nervous”. I couldn’t blame him, but as the trip threw every new hurdle to block our progress, we won. Continue! I want to see what is in the church that is on top of the hill …

We drove up and down here and there – asked for additional instructions, and the signs were not followed, then followed. Then we climbed – to an incredibly steep slope (I’m sure this time it was over 20%) and bop – we jumped to the highest point of the city.


What’s here? It turns out not so much, the ancient citadel is closed, and based on the number of pigeon cocoa and an amazing empty bottle of beer, visitors to it are few. Photos were taken, land views were appreciated – but of course I suggested another route down where our car had no place at all.

Pistichi Castle


But we hurried – the out-of-course tour turned into an opportunity to see a place I had never visited under normal circumstances. Even better – the car came out undamaged – even after we got into a difficult place where it overturned on three wheels in a particularly steep turn.

Pistichi street
It is Wednesday in Matera, and heavy thunderstorms threaten to flood the finish line of the stage – the last meters are now literally under inches of running water – before the 72 km race and we’ll see what happens. But despite this, the adventures continue.

negroni and mother
– And I still got my negro. It was so good, I had two.

Keep it typed PEZ for all true Giro actions.
– hello domani

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