As promised, Part II of Puglia…!
It’s such a place of contrast – here the rough and the smooth combine to create a real & rustic experience of Italy. The ‘terroir’ of the landscape and ancient villages crash into modern, unsophisticated towns (on the outskirts) that have you seeking out the signs that say Centro Historico….
Sometimes travel doesn’t go as planned so we found ourselves in Otranto looking for accommodation about 5.30 pm, that was cutting it fine…but the light was divine.
It was a good place to stop on the coast, deep in the boot of heal. The entrance to the old town is dominated by the imposing Castello Aragonese, originally an ancient Greek town, the monumental stone walls and moat were built in the 15thC. In high summer the little alleyways would have been bustling and lively – but we were here in early October so it was kind of sleepy and laid back.
The castle houses an archaeological museum and hosts temporary art exhibitions (loved this retrospective of Italian artists from 20thC) …& you can climb to the rooftop to take in the views of the Adriatic. Hidden up a small alley within the old part of town is the Byzantine Chiesa di San Pietro; and another mosaic floor that was filed away in my head, further inspiration for our new space in Byron!
A little further north is Torre dell’Orso. If you want to walk amongst limestone cliffs, stunning aquamarine waters and discover a crescent shaped sandy beach…then this is the place. It is an easy walk, fine if you have kids…though it does run along the cliff edge 🙂 For swimming we found a few places where the stairs were literally carved into the stone that met the sea, but it could have been tricky getting out.
We were happy campers when we found this lovely little beach, deserted 👇
Next stop, was Polignano a Mare – I loved this town. I am not sure I would love it in high season, but it had a buzzing blend of old town, tourists, gentrification and charming doorways.
A medley of staggered houses hug the cliff face, every window and balcony clambers for a view of the beach, Cala Porto. The best spot to capture this scene is either above from the Balconata sul Mare in the old town 📷or down at beach level taking a dip.We arrived late again, finding the cutest B & B of the trip, it was in a great location, with top notch interiors, & a delicious breakfast served in their rooftop garden; and..
the coastal views were just a few minutes walk away…literally at the end of the street. If you have followed my travel notes you will know my mantra is morning or afternoon light, and it didn’t disappoint here…we were up early to have a wander.
Whether you have a day or a weekend there is plenty to do in Polignano a Mare..take your beach shoes if you plan on swimming out to the grotto as we did, and then enjoy the best swordfish burger and a glass of rose at the hip fish n chips spot, Pescaria.
Here’s hoping that we will back to discover more of Puglia – I am thinking of testing out a white washed masseria in an olive grove next time 🙂
Pescaria – hip n happening joint with an excellent swordfish burger 🙂
Restaurant and B & B fab pasta here, & the b & b was a in good spot.
Osterio Molini in the old town.
Cathedral of Otranto
Excellent B & B in Polignano a Mare – fave find of the trip.
Visit the Fondazione Museo Pino Pascali – the only contemporary art museum in Puglia.