Has anyone been to Ostuni?

Old Aug 24th, 2005, 03:27 PM
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Has anyone been to Ostuni?

I am planning a trip to Italy in 2006 which will include the Amalfi Coast, Rome and Puglia. I have previously been to the Amalfi Coast and Rome, but I have not been to Puglia.

We are would like to base ourselves in Ostuni and do day trips to Alberobello to see the trulli and to Lecce. We are planning on arriving in Ostuni by train and really do not want to rent a car, but it seems like renting a car will be the easiest way to get around Puglia. Public transportation is preferred though.

I was wondering if anyone has been to this area recently. So, my questions are:

1. Where can I rent a car in Ostuni? Is there a car rental near the train station?

2. Has anyone used the bus or local train system from Ostuni to either Alberobello or Lecce? How convenient is it and how often does it run?

3. We really would like to stay in Ostuni, but maybe there would be a better base to use public transportation to see the places we want to see?

4. Is the train station in Ostuni convenient to the center of town?

I have been all over the internet searching for the answers, but it is hard to find detailed info on Puglia. I have done a search of this board also, but the info is pretty thin on Puglia. Any other ideas about Puglia are welcome also. This is an area I really want to see some of. We will have 3 or 4 days to do some day trips.

Thanks


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Old Aug 24th, 2005, 05:03 PM
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It will probably not answer your questions, but you might find it interesting to read a recent trip report by Kim on www.slowtrav.com.
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Old Aug 26th, 2005, 05:57 AM
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Thanks for your reply Eloise. I'm trying one more time to see if anyone has any info on Ostuni & Puglia. It does not seem to be a heavily travelled area on this board.
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Old Aug 26th, 2005, 06:18 AM
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Hi
I don't think I have any specific information about what you asked but I do go to Puglia frequently as my partner is from a town near Alberobello and we spend quite a lot of time with his family. I have never really needed to use car hire or public transport there but Ostuni is a beautiful town and there's lots to do, generally, in central Puglia.
I think it would be a good place, geographically, to base yourself and you could, as well as Alberobello, go to Locorotundo which is in the heart of the trulli region and is famous for its white wine. I went to a couple of great little restaurants whose names I wouldn't ever be able to remember (sorry - i'm very bad on details!) and there are some beautiful views as it is on a hill.
Further south, on the coast towards Lecce, is Otranto which is also beautiful although it is a bit touristy in the summer. Some of the beaches just north of Otranto are the finest I've seen and we found lots of little coves by hugging the coast which were virtually deserted.
It is also possible (by car - you couldn't really do this by public transport) to go to Castelmonte which has an incredibly well-restored Swabian Castle which (as the name implies) is on top of a hill and has the most beautiful views of the Pugliese Murge (the Murge or Murgia in Italian is a high plain where most of the wheat which is made into pasta is grown - it has a particular look to it which is just as beautiful as any I've seen in Italy (except Sicily!)).
You can also get to Matera easily and it is a great drive up there - Matera has the Sassi which are just as particular as the Trulli (although the Trulli are cuter and a personal favourite of mine!). The Sassi are strange cave-type houses carved into the sides of the mountains and Matera is a fascinating city because of this.
I'm quite bad about describing routing and timings because I never drive so I haven't paid much attention so I'm sorry I'm being a bit vague - but it is a part of Italy that I love.
It can be a little cruder than the more refined cities which are often seen as the 'hotspots' but the sea is so beautiful and certainly Ostuni, Lecce and Alberobello are as fine as any town in Italy.
There is a great Greek influence as Puglia was the first outpost of the ancient bounds of Magna Grecia and certainly on the east coast the whitewashed houses have an almost Greek feel to them.
i don't know where the train station in Ostuni is but I imagine it would be easier, if you are reliant on public transport, to stay somewhere like Lecce on the main line.
So if I had 3 days in Ostuni, I'd probably do one in Lecce, one in Alberobello/Locorotundo and one perhaps in either Otranto or Castelmonte but I think they'd be more difficult to manage with public transport.
Sorry about the vagueness of my answers!
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Old Aug 26th, 2005, 06:34 AM
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By all means, somehow get to Polignano di Mare and eat a meal in the cave restaurant literally surrounded by water at the grottapalazzese. It is amazing.

I'll be honest, I can't imagine fully enjoying the area without a car. We spent about a week in Puglia and loved driving from village to village to "nose around" and to stop to take in views. I suppose there is bus service from town to town, though.


http://www.grottapalazzese.it/intro.html
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Old Aug 26th, 2005, 06:34 AM
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I've always hired a car from either Bari or Brindisi airports so can't help you there, but I'd certainly say you'll find a car much easier than public transport.

Ostuni is wonderful, and a great base as there's a number of great restaurants and bars to go to in the evenings.. I can recommend a few great hotels in the town if you're interested.

There are a number of owners of villas in the area who frequent the italymag.co.uk forum who may be able to help you on your questions. I sign the purchase of my villa in Puglia in October, yay!
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Old Aug 26th, 2005, 10:17 AM
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Thank you to everyone for your replies! I am leaning towards renting a car because from the little info I have on public transportation it may be a major inconvenience due to infrequent times and distances to get to where we would have to pick up the bus or train.

The reason I hesitate with driving is I know that most vehicles in Italy are manual transmission and neither I nor the person I am travelling with are very good at all driving one. We've been spoiled with automatics. I think this will be good incentive though to practice on a manual and get good enough to have no fear of driving anywhere (and that includes at home). I have a year to learn, so what the heck. Now I just need to find out where to rent a car in Ostuni because I think we probably will arrive in Ostuni by train and I would like to have it reserved ahead of time.

From all your descriptions of Puglia, it sounds wonderful and I really am looking forward to it. If it were up to me I would spend the whole two weeks in Puglia, but it is not my decision alone. I can't wait!!!

Kate, what are your recommendations on hotels in town? We have one in mind, but I am open to suggestions.

If anyone else has any Puglia info it is surely welcome.

Thanks again!!
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Old Sep 5th, 2005, 09:09 AM
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Hotels: All these three are lovely, and newly converted from old buildings - so you get all the charm and exposed stonework without the moudly bathrooms!

La Terra is right in the old town, very very nice and reasonable for this standard of hotel.
http://www.laterrahotel.it/

Relais Sant'Eligio. Very similar hotel (also new) is 'just' outside the old town - 5 mins pleasant walk into the old town.
It's a conversion of an old posting house, which is why it's just outside the city walls. Major advantage is that they have a big parking area at the front (with the other 2, you'll need to park in the 'Centro' car park just outside the city walls.) Lovely host, last time I was there (May) he said they were going to build a rooftop swimming pool. A DEFINITE advantage.
http://www.santeligiorelais.it/inglese.htm

Top of the bunch (and top of the hill, next to the cathedral in the old town) is La Sommita. Stunning 'Conde Naste-esque'. Pricey, but glorious. Not worth a haggle if you're going out of season, which is what we did.
http://www.lasommita.it/en/index.htm
They'll tell you you can park in front of the hotel. Ignore them, it's not worth the herat failure of negotiating lanes only fit for donkeys. Park in the 'Centro' car park instead.
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Old Sep 5th, 2005, 09:11 AM
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Sorry, that should read it IS worth haggling if you're going out of season.

And I meant heart failure. Herat failure sounds nasty, but luckily I've escaped so far.
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Old Sep 5th, 2005, 04:05 PM
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Thanks Kate, for your recommendations. They look wonderful, especially La Sommita.

I was wondering if you or anyone else knows where this car rental place is located in Ostuni. We are arriving by train and I am trying to figure out the best way to get to get to the car rental place. We'll probably just take a taxi from the train station, but I'd like some idea of how far away it is. This is the address I found on the Sixt car rental web site:

Indirizzo:
VIA DELL'INDUSTRIA (Z.I) N 8
72017 - OSTUNI (BR)

Come arrivare
Autostrada A14, Uscita Bari Sud, Imboccare La Ss Per Brindisi Ed Uscire Ad Ostuni-villanova E Proseguire Per Ostuni.dopo Circa 4 Km È Presente Il Centronoleggio

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Old Sep 20th, 2005, 01:37 AM
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I was interested to read your question as I have just been to this region, returning last week, so I am in a good position to answer your questions.
Ostuni is the best centre in the area as it has some public transport, but not very much!
Ther seemed to be no local bus service linking the towns,which I was amazed at.
Although there is a trainline around Alberobello region, this has a very infrequent service, and could not be relied upon for day trips.
There is a better train service along the coast and to Ostuni station,so you could reach Lecce this way, but the station is a couple of km outside the town. However taxis are usually available.
There are no taxi services in Martina Franca or Alberobello, or car hire.
I have found a website that advertises car hire in Ostuni, which will be useful for next year, I think it's called SixT. This is what I am planning to use for my next visit. Or you could hire a car from either Bari or Brindisi airport.
As I am not wild about driving in Italy, next year I shall fly to Brindisi, get a taxi to Ostuni, and hire a car from there to see more of the countryside. it really is a lovely area, well worth visiting, quite different from the other areas of Italy you mentioned. In fact I am thinking of buying a little property there I likeit so much, and it is still cheap compared with other areas.


I hope you find this helpful in your planning. Let me know if you want to ask anything else.
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Old Sep 20th, 2005, 04:20 AM
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I have used Rent.it and thrifty.it for automatic car rentals in Italy. They had the best rates for automatics that I have come across in Italy. If automatic is what you are used to, I'm not sure I would switch over to standard. Unless, of course, you have one readily available to practice on.

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Old Sep 20th, 2005, 06:28 PM
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AP,
Thanks for the reply. I think we have decided to learn how to drive a manual car. I would like to rent the car in Ostuni itself and it doesn't look like they have automatics there. We have a truck to practice on and have a year to do it. Should be interesting.

Deliciarose,
Thanks for your info on the transportation in Puglia. I would love to hear about your trip. What did you do and see?

We will be taking a night train from Naples to Ostuni and will arrive about 8:00 in the morning in Ostuni. I'm hoping we can get a taxi to the car rental place (Sixt) and spend the rest of the day exploring Ostuni.

We are planning on staying at the Masseria Refrigerio which is just outside of Ostuni a few kilometers. We will have 4 days in the area. One full day will be in Lecce, one will be in Alberobello. How much time should we allot for Alberobello? It does not seem like it will take the whole day. Perhaps we will just drive the countryside and get lost the rest of that day.
Any other ideas for our fourth day? What did you really like when you were there? I am very much looking forward to this trip and any help is appreciated.
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Old Sep 21st, 2005, 05:46 AM
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We had just returned from Puglia where spent 4 nights with Lecce as our base. We drove around the Alborbello/Martina Franca/Ostuni/Locorotondo area, as well as the coastal areas of Galipolli/Otranto in the Salento Peninsula.

We actually rented our car in Sorrento and drove it all the way to Lecce . It took us about about 7 hours including a 2.5-hour lunch at Matera to view and walk within the jaw-dropping Sassi village. This is a “shouldn’t miss” town, and it can be done as a daytrip from your base.

Lecce is the liveliest , the biggest and most modern town that we’ve encountered and we’re glad to have used it as a base as it provided both nighttime and daytime activities for us. The baroque houses, government buildings and churches within the town center are beautiful. There’s a strong chance that during your daytime visit, you may decide that you need at least a couple of days in the town.

The trulli village in Alberobello is worth a grand total of 1 hour of visiting time. Trust me – as you walk around for a good 30 minutes within the small village, you would be disenchanted with all the tacky touristy commerce that some of the trulli occupants are peddling.

I agree with an earlier poster about the very nice beaches at Otranto. There’s some good ones at Gallipoli, too. A restaurant in this quaint fishing village provided us with some of the freshest and tastiest fish dishes that we’ve had during our trip,

As for as Ostuni, it is a nice small hill town with a surprisingly busy historic center. I am not sure where you’ll be staying staying, but I imagine that your parking can only be accommodated around the outskirts of the center, as that was where we ended up parking when we went and just walked into the town.

Good luck and enjoy your upcoming trip.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2006, 03:23 PM
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saving for future trip...nice article on Puglia in the new Gourmet magazine.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2006, 04:07 PM
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Hey Scullysioux!
I was doing bike tours near the town of Ostuni this summer with Andiamo Adventures. It's totally amazing. You will love it. I highly recommend renting a bike because the area is flat enough to explore it that way. Ostuni is beautiful - particularly from a distance. I think one of the best sources of info can be found here:
http://www.italianvisits.com/puglia/

I think that if I were doing this trip, I would stay closer to the sea that is more connected to the train stations. Maybe Otranto would be a good choice for you. Ferries go in and out of there to Greece.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2006, 07:22 AM
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Hi everybody,

Just one question, how long do you need to visit Lecce?

Thanks.
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Old Dec 26th, 2006, 09:09 AM
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Forgive me for jumping into this string, but I have some related questions:

(1) Does anyone know of a way to see Castel del Monte without a car? I plan to be in Trani and perhaps Bari in late May, and would love to see it!

(2) Is there a place in or near the train station in Alberobello where one can leave a suitcase for an hour or two? I would love to get close the the trulli.

Thanks so much!
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Old Dec 26th, 2006, 04:15 PM
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Hi,

To go to Castel del Monte without a car, you would have to take a train to Andria and then a bus to Castel del Monte. I've never done it, but I looked up all the information about it for a trip I was planning to do that included Apuglia. There's even a website with the bus schedule and everything but that was last year and I don't recall how I found it.

I also asked a question about Lecce. I apologize for cutting into this thread instead of opening a new one with my question. I don't know if I should have done it or not, but since Kja is apologizing I might as well do it, too.
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Old Dec 27th, 2006, 03:56 PM
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Fank Handy,

We took our trip to Puglia in October this year and loved it. It is so different from the rest of Italy. We ended up staying on the coast outside of Ostuni and rented a car since the public transportation system did not seem to be convenient enough to get everywhere we wanted to go without a hassle. It worked out ok except for the car not wanting the start everytime which is a whole other story.

Castellanese,

We took a day trip to Lecce one day from Ostuni by train. Lecce is a lovely city, very pedestrian friendly and unique. If I was to go back, I would spend a night there because I think it would be very beautiful and atmospheric at night with the buildings all lit up. The architecture is so interesting. We only stayed one day, but I think one day is enough to see what you'd want to see. I highly recommend Lecce.

If you are interested in my Puglia trip report click on my name and you will find it. We went to the Amalfi Coast, Naples, Procida and Rome too.
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