Nick Stefanelli is the chef and owner of Masseria in DC.
Italy has always been a part of my life—my grandfather is from Puglia and my grandmother Sicily—but my first journey to the peninsula was to learn the fashion trade. During that trip, I had an epiphany, and the restaurants, cafés, markets, bars and coffee shops were at the epicenter of it. Now every visit reconfirms what I found in Italy, and what I bring to the kitchen at my restaurant, Masseria in DC: Simplicity and wanting the first course to last forever.
My wife Romie and I took a late August holiday to visit Puglia, saving some time for Rome on our return. We made our home base in the towns of Gallipoli and Fasano while we explored the countryside and all the small towns in the region. And it was in those little moments—sitting in an olive grove or breathing in the salty seaside air while eating fresh langoustines and burrata—that I fell in love with Italy all over again.