Puglia, Basilicata, and Calabria: Places to Explore


  • Alberobello

    Although Alberobello is something of a tourist trap, the amalgamation of more than 1,000 trulli huddled together along steep, narrow streets is nonetheless a striking phenomenon that has been designated... Read more

  • Aliano

    This remote village off the SS598 in the center of Basilicata's empty interior was the site of Carlo Levi's internment during 1936 and 1937. After the war, Levi published his account of that time in his... Read more

  • Bari

    The biggest city in the region, Bari is a major port and a transit point for travelers catching ferries across the Adriatic to Greece, Croatia, and Albania. It's also a cosmopolitan city with one of the... Read more

  • Camigliatello

    Lined with chalets, Camigliatello is one of the Sila Massif's major resort towns. Most of the Sila isn't mountainous at all; it is, rather, an extensive, sparsely populated plateau with areas of thick... Read more

  • Castel del Monte

  • Castrovillari

    Accent the first "i" when you pronounce the name of this provincial Calabrian city, notable for its Aragonese castle, synagogue, and 16th-century San Giuliano church. It's also a great jumping-off point... Read more

  • Ceglie Messapica

    With its 14th-century Piazza Vecchia, tattered Baroque balconies, and lordly medieval castles, the little whitewashed town of Ceglie Messapica is a jewel. The town, at the center of the triangle formed... Read more

  • Cosenza

    Cosenza has a steep, stair-filled centro storico that truly hails from another age. Wrought-iron balconies overlook narrow alleyways with old-fashioned storefronts and bars that have barely been touched... Read more

  • Crotone

  • Diamante

    One of the most fashionable of the string of small resorts lining Calabria's north Tyrrhenian Coast, Diamante makes a good stop for its whitewashed maze of narrow alleys, brightly adorned with a startling... Read more

  • Gallipoli

    The fishing port of Gallipoli, on the eastern tip of the Golfo di Taranto, is divided between a new town, on the mainland, and a beautiful fortified town, across a 17th-century bridge, crowded onto its... Read more

  • Lecce

    Lecce is the crown jewel of the Mezzogiorno. The city is called "the Florence of the south," but that term doesn't do justice to Lecce's uniqueness in the Italian landscape. Though its pretty boutiques... Read more

  • Maratea

    When encountering Maratea for the first time, you can be forgiven for thinking you've somehow arrived at the French Riviera. The high, twisty road comes complete with glimpses of a turquoise sea below... Read more

  • Martina Franca

    Martina Franca is a beguiling town with a dazzling mixture of medieval and Baroque architecture in the light-color local stone. Ornate balconies hang above the twisting, narrow streets, with little alleys... Read more

  • Matera

    Matera is one of southern Italy's most unusual towns. On their own, the elegant Baroque churches, palazzi, and broad piazzas—filled to bursting during the evening passeggiata, when the locals turn out... Read more

  • Mattinata

    The town of Mattinata itself is an unlovely urban sprawl halfway up the hillside. Most visitors stay down at sea level, where there's a fine sandy beach.... Read more

  • Ostuni

    This sun-bleached, medieval town lies on three hills not far from the coast. From a distance, Ostuni is a jumble of blazingly white houses and churches spilling over a hilltop and overlooking the sea—thus... Read more

  • Otranto

    In one of the first great Gothic novels, Horace Walpole's 1764 The Castle of Otranto, the English writer immortalized this city and its mysterious medieval fortress. Otranto (the stress is on the first... Read more

  • Peschici

    Peschici is a pleasant resort on Gargano's north shore, a cascade of whitewashed houses and streets with a beautiful view over a sweeping cove. Some surrounding areas are particularly popular with campers... Read more

  • Polignano a Mare

    With a well-preserved whitewashed old town perched on limestone cliffs overlooking the Adriatic, Polignano a Mare makes an atmospheric base for exploring the surrounding area.... The town is virtually dead... Read more

  • Reggio Calabria

    Reggio Calabria, on the tip of Italy's toe, was laid low by the same catastrophic earthquake that struck Messina in 1908. This raw city is one of Italy's busiest ports, where you can find every type of... Read more

  • Rende

    Rende is a pleasing stop on the way to or from Cosenza. Leave your car in the parking lot at the base of a long and bizarre series of escalators and staircases, which will whisk you off to this pristine... Read more

  • Stilo

    Grandly positioned on the side of the rugged Monte Consolino, the village of Stilo is known for being the birthplace and home of the philosopher Tommaso Campanella (1568–1639), whose magnum opus was the... Read more

  • Taranto

    Taranto (the stress is on the first syllable) was an important port even in Greek times, and it's still Italy's largest naval base. It lies toward the back of the instep of the boot on the broad Mare Grande... Read more

  • Trani

    Trani has a harbor filled with fishing boats and a quaint old town with polished stone streets and medieval churches. The town is also justly famous for its sweet dessert wine, Moscato di Trani. It's smaller... Read more

  • Tropea

    Ringed by cliffs and wonderful sandy beaches, the Tropea Promontory is still mostly undiscovered by foreign tourists. The main town of Tropea, its old palazzi built in simple golden stone, easily wins... Read more

  • Vieste

    This large, whitewashed town jutting off the tip of the spur of Italy's boot is an attractive place to wander around. Though curvy mountain roads render it slightly less accessible from the autostrade... Read more