Southern Italy itinerary
8 days between Puglia and Basilicata
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A week between Puglia and Basilicata, this is my Southern Italy itinerary.
The blue of the sky and the sea, the white of the old houses of Ostuni, Alberobello, Cisternino, Locorotondo. And then the beaches with the fine sand, the Maldives of the Salento, the elegant Lecce, the fish of Tricase, the stones of Matera.
What a trip in history and in the wildest nature! Today I want to make you discover an itinerary of 8 days between the white and the blue of Puglia and Basilicata.
More than 1000 km by car (yes, it would be better if you rent a car), from Bari to the southern point of Salento, and then back toward Basilicata and Matera.
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POLIGNANO A MARE, LOCOROTONDO, ALBEROBELLO
Polignano a Mare, not far from Bari, is a jewel: it is a must stop for whoever goes to south Italy. I recommend a stop to the yogurt shop "Joya," in the main square: not only natural yogurt but also a life's philosophy to be read in the poster and the business cards.
Further south, you'll be at Valley of Itria.
Locorotondo is white, with touches of pink, Locorotondo is a rose with the blue of the sky as background, this is the atmosphere of Puglia.
Locorotondo is a small village, but in visual terms, it is so powerful.
Alberobello, known all over the world for its Trulli. The area of "Rione Monti," the more touristic, is obviously full of little shops and restaurants. And sleeping in a Trullo has been thrilling.
But it is in the small "Rione Aia" that I suggest visiting, it is the residential zone where you can sleep among the residents, that while they take home the grocery, will tell you: "Bella Alberobello eh? We are Patrimony of the Unesco!" Better than any tour operator, the inhabitants here promote themselves, and they are proud of the place where they were born.
CISTERNINO, OSTUNI, OTRANTO
Another perfect village where to take pictures is Cisternino in the southeast Murgia. Less touristic than Alberobello, the historical center is a white labyrinth of alleys, staircases, and doors that give on courtyards and open windows.
Cisternino is little: one-hour walking will be enough for understanding it and remember it.
Ostuni is famous for being the white city but, among all those that I have seen, it is the lesser white!
There are white houses and blue doors, and the old buildings made a big beautiful historic center; however, I can't say I'm too impressed.
Special mention for the burrata, the olives, and the Taralli, eaten just before the slope that brings to the church of St. Damiano.
The next city is Otranto, where you can sleep in a modern farm just outside the boundaries of the town. Enchanting town on the sea (the eastern point of Italy,) beautiful the red sunset that illuminates the terrace out of the walls, with the sun that falls behind the houses of the center.
The main street is a parade of souvenir shops. To find some quiet climbed on the northwest terrace, from which you can see the dock, or take a walk out of the chaos.
LECCE, TORRE DELL’ORSO, BAIA DEI TURCHI
Lecce, with its elegance and Baroque style, will not disappoint you. I expected more from Piazza Sant'Oronzo, while I suggest you to see Piazza del Duomo and the Santa Croce Church.
Finally, a must-do (and I repeat, must-do,) taste the Pasticciotto filled with hazelnut cream or chocolate, with less than € 2 you will have so many grams of happiness!
Going down from Lecce to Otranto you' meet fabulous bays like Torre dell'Orso and the rock of the two sisters.
At Baia dei Turchi, a little more south, toward Otranto, you'll get what I call the true relax.
If you have luck this will be a dead zone for your cell, and you'll only think on how much sea surrounds you, how much sunscreen to rub on you and how much life is stupendous down here.
TRICASE, PESCOLUSE, MALDIVE OF THE SALENTO
Tricase is delicious fish, it is an old house behind the church, it is the cafe of a famous actress that serves funny appetizers, it is a party that lasts the whole summer.
But also a great breakfast of juice and Pasticciotto with pistachio.
The perfection is when you'll dip your feet in the sea of the Maldives of the Salento, at Pescoluse, the south area of Tricase.
I believe this is one of the most beautiful beaches in Italy. A quiet sea with shades that goes from bright blue to green up to a darker blue, and fine sand.
PUNTA PROSCIUTTO AND GALLIPOLI
Punta Prosciutto, I recommend the beach of the seaside resort Togo Bay: if it is Sunday you will be surrounded by swimmers, ready to dance for the appetizer-hour in the beach.
About Gallipoli, I regret it, but I don't have so much to say: personally, I would not come back there.
Its historic center doesn't have anything special, it left me perplexed. Probably when you visit the most famous places, you expect the best, but often you find the best in the less known places. For me, Gallipoli is a maybe; if you have time go, otherwise you're not missing a thing.
SAN PIETRO IN BEVAGNA AND MATERA
You can spend a sunny day on the peaceful beach of San Pietro in Bevagna, in the province of Taranto, surely less touristic in comparison to the most famous beaches of Salento.
I want to dedicate an entire paragraph to Matera, the city of the Stones, European capital of the culture for 2019.
Believe me, it is a "wow" city: yes, it takes your breath away, you can't find the words, you just don't understand how can be so much beauty in a forgotten region of south Italy as Basilicata.
Matera is one of the most beautiful places you could see in the world.
Walking through the narrow streets you still can't understand the magic in which you find yourself, but then, when you arrive in front of the Cathedral looking at Matera from there, then you know.
The top? Sleeping in a cave and make a ride in an "ape calessino," visiting its central districts, the Sasso Barisano (more modern) and the Sasso Caveoso (no one lives here since the houses have not been restructured after the abandonment in the '60).
In conclusion, for an 8 days trip, booking all with one month of advance (auto and hotel) I have spent around € 900, not a low-cost trip since the structures in which I lodged were all 3-4 stars.
If you are in a budget, there is plenty of possibilities!
Check here to rent a car.