When the words Riveria, Capri and Puglia start to slip into conversations it is a clear sign that winter has settled in the Southern Hemisphere. Sometimes it feels like everyone but you is posting idyllic images of the Med and ridiculously charming villages. If you have got the winter blues and can handle the scenery read on…!Being a Francophile & an antique dealer has meant that the majority of travel in the past has been centered around France – so I did feel like like a traitor. But that didn’t last long when I saw the Italian version of chateau 🙂
Travelling with with friends in and around Southern Europe were the main ingredients in this trip. We stayed with dear friends in Portugal and went road tripping with (ex Sydney folk) in Greece. Finally the two of us landed in Naples with a rough mud map for Italy including, Pompeii, Matera and Puglia…
There is a unruly charm to the Italian countryside – to get the best out of it you really need a car and a little planning. We are both happy road tripping, as long as I drive and HE navigates. All is well in the world. Swap us around and whoa not so good!
We arrived in Puglia after a weeks travel through the Peloponnese, you could see and feel the Greek influence. Wayward olive groves surrounded by dry stone walls with white washed masserias (restored and unrestored) and the not so Greek fairy-tale like Trulli’s.
Alberobello is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most photogenic towns in the region. Though it does feel a little like a toy town, over run with tourists & travellers like us – there is a unique charm to the structures, that makes them fascinating in a childlike way 🙂
Serendipitously we were able to catch up with friends who had just walked the Tour de Mont Blanc, we crossed paths in the Valle d’ Itria. They were heading north we were heading south. We spent a few days seeing the small towns of Locorotondo, Martina Franca and Ostuni – sharing meals, and drinking wine! Staying in a rustic little B & B complete with persimmons and Trulli accomodation.
As they headed towards Sicily, we decided to chase the sun – the weather had been patchy so we were determined to make the most of the blue skies. Driving to the coast is mostly unremarkable, the terrain is dry and dusty and it seems where one olive grove stops another one starts – sadly these olive trees are under threat. It was joyous to see the rugged coastline and take in the luminosity of the water – we had found what we were looking for.
I couldn’t quite decide if the Adriatic Sea was closer to aquamarine or turquoise..call it what you like but it is extraordinary and we were the only people here to revel in it. Travelling out of season has it’s perks!
After lunch we drove a little further south to Roca Vechia (read about the history here)- its a rambling rustic Italian archaeological site on the Adriatic coast. It has become instagram famous due to the drop dead beautiful rock pool that is Cave Poseia Grand. If you are in the area it’s worth a visit, but madly busy in high season.
The water is absolutely crystal clear – but bring a pair of shoes that you can swim in & clamber over the craggy limestone rocks + some kind of sun protection as there are no trees anywhere! Further south the pretty cove of Port Badisco has a little sandy beach as well as the black rocks to perch on and jump off – it was stunning.
Many of the coastal towns are built up so accommodation can be tricky and def not luxe – we were happy road tripping as we wanted to cover quite a bit of ground. Depending on your budget there are some pretty amazing rural properties and restored masserias – find a spot you like and do day trips to the coast, nature reserves and any of the small towns on your list. I had too many photos to include Torre St Andrea, Otranto, and Polignano a Mare – so hopefully I will see you for Part ll in Puglia !
**Shoes for swimming in + any kind of sun protection !
Excellent Enoteca in Alberobello – Le Bontà Del Central Corso Vittorio Emanuele, numero 53, 70011 Alberobello.
Ristorante Four Seasons Martina Franca
Braceria Rosso Di Sera – for meat lovers only! It was closed the night we were here but some local Italian folks recommended it.
http://www.bedandbreakfastvalleditria.it/verdi.php – local little B & B complete with Trulli accommodation run by a lovely Italian couple.
General Info Puglia