Finally checking these off my bucket list!
This year's Italy trip was long overdue, and this time I wanted to switch things up! My family visited Italy in October, and spent 10 days between the regions of Puglia and Basilicata. The weather turned out to be PERFECT, and the number of tourists was way more comfortable compared to the average summer vacation in Italy. My trip to Puglia was short and sweet, but absolutely incredible. There's so much to see in this particular region, and my family and I managed to hit quite a few must see destinations. We ended the trip visiting family in Basilicata, which acted as the perfect end to our family vacation. Keep reading to learn about our adventure, travel time and recommendations.
Arrival / Departure Airport: Roma Fiumicino
Connecting Flight: Bari
Car Rental Pickup/ Drop-off Location: Bari
Weather: 28 Degrees Celsius
Home Bases: Bari, Lecce, Ostuni, Muro Lucano, Rome
The Full Itinerary
After a 8 hour flight from Toronto to Rome, and a 45 minute connecting flight to Bari, staying the night was an absolute must! We didn't get too much time to explore Bari on our first night, but we managed to have an exceptional dinner at a nearby restaurant. The next morning, we explored the old town, surrounded by ancient walls. We roamed the local streets, the Castello Normanno - Svevo, and the Basilica San Nicola (Basilica of Saint Nicholas). In just a few hours, we explored the old town, had breakfast, and we were off to our next destination.
Total nights: 1
Local dishes: Orecchiette, Sporca mousse (third photo), Spaghetti all'Assassina
Restaurant Recommendations: Al Sorso Preferito Ristorante
Lecce was our furthest point on our trip, and we decided to make this our second stop. We drove 1.5 hours to Lecce, which became our second home base. The city has amazing shopping, several historical sites, and incredible food. Lecce quickly became a favourite of mine, because of it's similar feel to Milan, and sense of home.
Total nights: 2
Local dishes: Puccia (street food, first photo) , Caffé Leccese (caffé macchiato with sweet almond milk syrup)
Restaurant Recommendations: Gusto D'Autore (crazy good and cheap street food, photo 6), Zio Pesce (incredible seafood, photos 7 and 8)
Otranto is just 35 minutes from Lecce, and was one of our first day trip locations. It's a quaint beach town, with shops and restaurants enclosed by ancient walls. The views in Otranto are absolutely stunning, and this place quickly became a favourite of ours. While visiting Otranto, we saw the Cattedrale di Otranto, did some shopping, and had the tastiest lunch. We ended the day with returning back to Lecce, and exploring the streets and stunning churches.
Restaurant Recommendations: So Fish (seafood street food, photo 4)
Ostuni was our third stop in Puglia, as we started to make our way to the region of Basilicata. We drove 1 hour to Ostuni, which became our final home base in Puglia. Ostuni is known as the Citta Bianca (the White City), and is home to the iconic restaurant Borgo Antico Bistrot (third photo). We spent one full day in Ostuni, and finished every day with a walk in the local streets. But the long lasting memory we will forever look back on in Ostuni, was from our amazing dinner at Osteria Da Nonna Ia. Be sure to check it out for a true home cooked Italian meal experience.
Total nights: 3
Local dishes: Foccaccia (native to all Puglian regions, but we indulged here the most)
Restaurant Recommendations: Panificio La Foggia Cose Buone (yummiest focaccia you'll ever have, first photo), Al Solito Posto- Ristorante Pizzeria (photo 6 and 7, unbelievable pizza), La Pastasciutta (the yummiest takeout pasta), Osteria Da Nonna Ia (photo's 10-12, ps. the lasagna was absolutely INSANE)
Monopoli is just 38 minutes from Ostuni, and was our next day trip location. Monopoli is a decently large city, with a stunning old town on the water. We spent a few hours admiring the waterside views, shopping (of course), and ended with the most amazing gelato that my family still talks about to this day.
Gelato recommendations: Gasperini | Gelateria dal 1936 (must try flavour- Cassata Pugliese)
Polignano al Mare
From Monopoli, we drove just 15 mins to the incredible Polignano al Mare. Polignano is known for its cliff-surrounding beach, and spectacular views. You'd be surprised to notice that many people were still enjoying the beach at this time of year, but with the comfortable heat and not as many tourists, it's truly the perfect time! During our visit, we walked along the coast, explored the streets, visited the Chiesa Matrice Santa Maria Assunta, and ended the afternoon with a tasty lunch in the piazza.
Restaurant recommendations: Bella M'briana (photos 5-9)
For our final day trip in Puglia, we drove about 45 minutes to one of my all time bucket list destinations, Alberobello. Alberobello is known for its unique styled homes known as "Trulli", originally from the 14th century. We spent a few hours exploring the old town, which was more than enough time to visit the local shops, and admire the views.
On our way back to Ostuni, we decided to head to Costa Merlata for an afternoon at the beach. Just 20 minutes from Ostuni, we enjoyed the clear waters with a few locals, and had a relaxing final afternoon in Puglia.
We ended off the family trip with visiting my dad's hometown Muro Lucano, which is a few hours away from Ostuni. My sister and I hadn't visited in 17 years, and it was so amazing to see it as an adult. Muro Lucano is a small town in the region of Potenza, and sits beautifully in the mountains. We stayed at Nonna Felicia Bed and Breakfast, which was newly renovated, and in the perfect location for our visit. During our trip to Muro, we had amazing cheese, and figs, just as I remember it as a kid. Among its endless beauty, there are couple of other attractions to visit, including the Museum, and Castello Medievale (medieval castle).
Total nights: 2
After a 2.5 hour drive to Bari, and 45 minute flight to Rome, we decided to stay the night before out trip back to Toronto the following day. We had the afternoon to do our last bit of shopping, and have a perfect dinner and Italian night cap: gelato.
Total nights: 1
Accommodations: iQ Hotel Roma
Gelato Recommendations: White Bar and Restaurant (must try the fig and walnut), Verde Pistacchio
I hope you enjoyed this post, and please like it if you did! Leave a comment if you have any questions, and I'd love to chat!
Fa la brava,