Apulia trip questions

May 25th, 2007, 08:30 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: May 2007
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Apulia trip questions

Hi,

A friend and I will be in Rome in mid-June and are interested in an excursion to Apulia, specifically way down to Otranto in the heel; we also want to visit some other places in the vicinity. We have 6-7 days and are trying to determine a feasible itinerary and transportation. Ive searched this forum and found some info on the region and would greatly appreciate any insights anyone is willing to give on two main questions.

1. Is there a central town that we could settle in to use as a base for day trips to other towns/sites in southern Apulia? We are particularly intrigued by Otranto and want to spend a few of our days there, but it doesnt seem to be the best located for day travel to other towns. If anyone has been to Otranto, can you give me an idea if it would be possible to take day trips from there perhaps Ostuni, Lecce, Alberobello (Im open to suggestions, as Ive just started reading about the region)?

2. Related to that We would take a train from Rome. Plan A is that wed prefer to take local trains (or buses) for day trips within the region, rather than driving. Is this possible? Are there convenient train/bus schedules/routes? If not, Plan B is to rent a car, which I realize would enable us to see more behind the scenes and at our own schedule. I assume wed need to do in a major town, e.g. where we arrive by train? It sounds as if most of you have driven in Apulia can you give some insight into the local driving situation I assume the driving is not in large traffic-filled cities or major speedy highways? I ask this because I live in a large city and rarely drive and I have to admit that Im a bit nervous about driving in Italy, though I drove around Greece & Ireland --when I was much younger and more intrepid! Id appreciate any insights into whether a car is a necessity and how it is driving in that part of Apulia.

Many questions, I know! But I always appreciate the great information Ive gotten from other travelers in these forums. Many Thanks for any info.
Principessa1 is offline  
May 25th, 2007, 09:52 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,480
I returned from Puglia less than 2 weeks ago and am writing up my trip report (see further down on this board called "My Party in Puglia"). Have you read it?

To answer some of your specific questions, Otranto is FANTASTIC. It is a beautiful city with a gorgeous centro storico and we just LOVED it. You will see that day coming up soon in my report. It it towards the end of our stay.

We had 11 days in Puglia so were able to "base ourselves" in three areas, one for the Northern part - Trani - , one for the middle part - Conversano -, and one for the Southern part - Lecce. We loved them all.

Ostuni and Lecce are definitely doable from Otranto, Alberobello is a bit further but also doable.

This was only my second time renting and driving a car in Italy. It was EASY. Italian drivers are very speedy and sometimes nervous about slower drivers, but they are very careful drivers and you hardly ever see an accident. Puglia, as opposed to Tuscany where I drove first (!!!) is completely flat. It is easy driving everywhere and I would highly recommend renting a car.

Let me know if you need any other answers.
Flame123 is offline  
May 26th, 2007, 06:34 AM
  #3  
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Many thanks, Flame. This is very helpful. Yes, I have been following your serialized report and it has been my best source of info thus far! I look forward to your Otranto post (hotel info will be especially helpful). This definitely makes me more confident about planning a trip to the Otranto area.
Did you rent an automatic or standard shift? I forgot to mention my other driving worry -- in addition to not having driving practice, I have only driven a shift ONCE, on a trip to Ireland 20+ years ago. Let's just say it was interesting! But I have no shift to practice on now. I suppose I will have to spring for the extra $$$ for an automatic (will start searching rates).
Thanks again!
Principessa1 is offline  
May 26th, 2007, 07:06 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
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I am glad you are using my report to gather useful information. However, we did not stay in Otranto. We only day-tripped there during our 3 night stay in Lecce. In Lecce, I can recommend a fabulous B&B run by a young man and his Mother. You will read about it in the following days as I complete the report.

I also have NO experience with a stick shift. I have rented a car twice so far in Italy, both times automatic. It is worth the extra bucks if you cannot handle a stick. Puglia is relatively an inexpensive area since it is a less traveled and less touristy area so you will save money elsewhere.

Stay tuned......
Flame123 is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 01:09 PM
  #5  
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Thanks again for the information, Flame123, and I have read your more recent post on the Otranto area -- very helpful.
It does sound like a car rental is the way to go versus the local train/bus option. I think we may take the train to Bari and see if we can picu up a car there, unless there is a better town to connect with a car rental.
Can you -- or anyone on the forum -- recommend a good car rental agency that would have automatics?
Thanks!
Principessa1 is offline  
Jun 13th, 2007, 05:49 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 52
car rental

i got a great rate for an automatic from maggiore out of naples, though i think they are all over. paid a premium for the automatic, but i got a large volvo wagon for the same price most agencies were offering a nissan micra or mercedes a. we have 2 adults and 2 kids so we needed the space.
bridonohue is offline  

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