I’m excited to announce that I won First Place in the OC Press Club Awards for my travel article La Dolce Grotta, a story about the ancient cave village of Matera, Italy. Matera was once considered the shame of Italy. But not anymore. You can read the article here.
The road into the Sassi di Matera was built for donkeys, not speeding minivans. But my taxi driver punches the accelerator, and our top-heavy shuttle teeters around another curve. The sun has just set, so it’s hard for me to make out the slanted terrain. The right side of the vehicle squeaks past the edge of a house built into the cliff. I peer out the opposite window and see nothing but a deep, black ravine. The van seems far too big for this road, like when a snake swallows a rabbit. Yet another oncoming car forces us onto the shoulder in an unwelcome game of chicken, then the driver nonchalantly slams the brakes and jumps the curb, landing us in a weed-filled slot barely larger than the van. To the front and left, we face the mountain. To the right, I notice a dusty stairway twice as high as the van, covered in weeds and dust. I look at my driver. “Why are we stopping?” Continue reading →