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Back to Bari--Basilicata Itinerary Musings


Feb 8th, 2016, 10:46 AM
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Back to Bari--Basilicata Itinerary Musings

I scored a fare I could not believe, so my husband and I are headed back to Bari in May after a fantastic trip there last May (Bari-Matera-Lecce {Salento}-Monopoli {Itria Valley}). I am just beginning this plan, but I have read through the forum archives. I am at the rambling stage, so this is the type of post for those who love these areas or who find the trip planning thought processes of others mildly interesting.
We arrive in the evening, and while we could do a very brief jet-lagged drive upon arrival, my husband's favorite meal of last year's trip was in Bari, plus picking up the car in Bari was infinitely less painful than standing in line at the airport, so I think we'll stay the first night in Bari--and that's one night down. Our last night will also need to be near Bari airport, and I am thinking Giovinazzo looks lovely. That's two nights down, 7 left! I usually like to balance interior and sea towns, and we prefer towns (with good restaurants) to staying in agriturismo. Here's what I am considering so far, and any input to help me focus will be appreciated.
1) Gravina di Puglia
We like hiking, and is the weather does not cooperate, it looks like there are plenty of towns to explore.
2) Castelmezzano or Pietrapertossa
Again, the hiking thing, and the I Borghi più belli d'Italia rarely lets me down. I am a little apprehensive about mountain driving. We would NOT be doing the zipline. Culinarily, would we be satisfied in these towns?
I initially wanted to go across to Maratea, but despite our love for the sea, I think this might be a letdown with tough driving. If we really want the sea, then maybe we should stick to the Bari area.
Since we have been to the at Monopoli and south, and Gargano seems too far and early in the season (mid-late May), what about the Ionian Sea? It seems like it is mostly resorts, other than Metaponto, which we saw en route to Lecce last year.
We could also dip into Campania, but we have been there before. My real reason for that would be to see orchids in Cilento National Park.
As usual, my list is too long at this point. Pollino National Park is also in the running. Given that some of this driving will be arduous, I am looking for places to plop and enjoy at least 3 days at a time. I am tempted to just limit us to northern Puglia and the immediately neighboring areas of Basilicata. It seems a lot of visitors do a lot of moving. Any thoughts?
yorkshire is offline  
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Feb 8th, 2016, 10:57 AM
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Gravina's cave churches are worth the detour, ask at TI for guides. When we first went to this area it was Gravina down to Martina Franca and over to Matera and that was enough. Look at a masseria to stay.
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Feb 8th, 2016, 12:52 PM
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My best meal in Puglia was Bari as well, plus I liked Bari.

You have mentioned in previous posts that you dislike mountain driving and Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa are literally cliff hangers. But if you are in that area you might want to include Acerenza


Have you given any thought to visiting Venosa? I've never been, but it is some place I would really like to go (this is where Aglianico wine is from and it is less than an hour from Gravina in Puglia.




Also, were I going in mid-May I might try to include something of the May pole festival in Accettura in Basilicata. You would need to do some mountain driving to get there, but I don't think it is as high up as Castelmezzano or Pietrapertosa

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Feb 8th, 2016, 01:12 PM
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re mt. driving. I know--I was laughing as I typed that, but maybe if I close my eyes... That said, I am adventurous but don't want to freaking out during the drive, as it is hard enough for the driver without a nervous passenger. Maybe northern Puglia and Basilicata will be less stressful.
Thanks for the suggestions. At some point it will all become clear--when I cut half of my list. Then I was just thinking about how we missed Gallipoli but loved the area north of it. That fills the seafood quotient.
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Feb 8th, 2016, 05:44 PM
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Have you been to Trani? I loved it! AND you can reach it easily by train from Bari -- giving you a bit more time to recover from jet lag before trying to drive.
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Feb 9th, 2016, 08:35 AM
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I hope to get to Trani this time, kja, but my husband seems intent on a return to Bari and that favorite restaurant--and he asks for very little in the trip planning. The funny thing is, for once I did not note the name of a restaurant and we'll have to rely on a year-old memory to find it, and we were lost when we found it the first time, ha!
Still gnashing my teeth over whether to brave the mountains this time. It seems I planned the perfect trip last year, especially in terms of distance between stops, so now I am struggling with the return. I'll be cross-referencing with google maps and the slow food guide this weekend!
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Oct 8th, 2017, 07:33 AM
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Yorkshire: Did you take the trip to Basilicata? I am now reaading MURDER IN MATERA, which reminds me of my short visit to the region and promted me to think about planning a return trip...
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Oct 10th, 2017, 08:39 AM
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Hi eks, ya know we just ended up returning to most of the same places we had been the year before--Lecce and Matera, plus back to the Itria valley, but this time Cisternino. While in Matera, we visited Laterza for a lovely hike, plus Craco, and that was quite interesting.
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