Not following any particular path, Donatella and I nosed downwards and left, knowing we’d eventually come to Torre a Mare — Tower by the Sea — a stone sentinel standing on a rocky promontory at the very edge of the coast.
Once serving as a lookout against invading Saracens, the tower is now home to local artist Paulo Sandulli’s art studio. But Donatella and I didn’t know this yet as we picked our way down the endless steps that wove their way downward.
Along the way, we passed whimsical walls dripping with flowers, a riot of color against the gray stone. Tiny niches carved into the rock held religious icons, iron grating protecting them from straying hands.
Miniature houses cast in terra cotta were set into lilliputian scenes, like toy towns abandoned by elf children.
We arrived at the tower. “Mostra d’Arte — Ingresso Libero” the sign read, announcing Mr. Sandulli’s art studio. Free admittance. The narrow trail leading to the entrance was decorated with pieces of his whimsical art. Once inside, we were dumbstruck.