Home base for 2 week stay in Puglia.

May 30th, 2014, 09:12 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2014
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Home base for 2 week stay in Puglia.

Hi, new here. I'm planning my first trip to Italy in October. I'm thinking about renting an apartment for two weeks in southern Puglia and having a lazy stay (no car) with side trips by train or bus. I think I'd prefer a small town, maybe by the water. Any towns that would be nice for exploration, la passeggiata , maybe some country walks, and near other towns worth visiting?

I don't speak Italian, but I'll see what I can learn in the next few months.

I'm considering Otranto, Gallipoli (the fish market is a plus), Nardo. Lecce is a little too big, but I'd certainly like to visit it.
tralfaz is offline  
May 30th, 2014, 11:48 PM
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You've named the two likely candidates for the southernmost part of Puglia. Without a car, neither town is well suited for day trips to other towns, although Gallipoli is marginally better, depending on your interests. Public transportation in that part of Italy is quite poor. Country walks are not really what Puglia is about. Much of the area surrounding most towns is blighted and desolate. October is likely to be extremely quiet (Otranto is mainly a summer holiday town) with a very high likelihood of rain as the month progresses.

If there is something very particular about Puglia that is drawing you by all means you should go. But if you are looking for a lazy experience of a small Italian seaside town with a fish market, there are many other choices on Italy's thousands and thousands of miles of coast that are much easier to get to with much better public transportation, and which are within easier reach of many other interesting small towns, and which are just as untouristed as southern Puglia (in fact, some lovely places are even less touristed than those places in Puglia).
sandralist is offline  
May 31st, 2014, 07:40 AM
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Where would you suggest? I'm open to other locations. I just thought Puglia would have a generally quieter pace of life, but the town would need to be on train or bus routes.
tralfaz is offline  
May 31st, 2014, 08:28 AM
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Your main obstacle is the combination of quaint little town and good public transportation. The one place that comes to mind is Vieste. There is bus service there, but I'm not sure how good it is.
vincenzo32951 is offline  
May 31st, 2014, 08:53 AM
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Only the largest cities of Italy have a busy, quick paced feel to them -- and even then you can be surprised how very loose and easy-going someplace like Palermo is, and how very quiet and slow small city like Ferrara or Spoleto or Arezzo or Ravenna or Mantova can be. If you go to someplace even smaller -- Chiusi, Pistoia or Pietrasanta in Tuscany, or Chiavari or Albenga on the Italian Riviera, or Vicenza in the Veneto, or Reggio nell'Emilia or Modena in Emilia Romagna -- but you can get on trains and buses to lots of places with marvelous art and monuments. All the places I have mentioned have pedestrianized historic centers (many locals get around mainly by bike in the flat towns). Honestly, I could name 3 or 4 dozen places along various train lines that have no hustle or bustle and very few tourists but are exceptionally charming places to be with delicious food.

As October progresses in Italy, the weather generally turns rainier and rainier, and often the last week in October sees some real downpours. So it is not optimal suntan and swim weather, and if you are not absolutely attached to the idea of being by the sea, then lots of possibilities open up.

But if you do like the idea of the sea, then you might find Sicily is easier to get to and has slightly better public transportation than southern Puglia and maybe even drier October weather. (I also happen to like Sicilian food and wine better, but I may be in the minority on that.) Check out beach towns like Cefalu, Trapani, Erice, or Ortygia/Siracusa.

The devil is in the details about the public transportation options in southern Puglia and I have no personal experience of it. (I had a car while I was there.) But traveling along the coastal road north of Gallipoli in May a few years back, I recall thinking that if I ever wanted to dump a dead body, this would surely be the place to do it. I passed not a single other person or open store or restaurant or gas station for kilometer after kilometer. Everything was shuttered for the off-season. Gallipoli has some commercial life year round, but apart from Lecce or Taranto for day trips, many small towns in that area have seen a lot of their population move north for work, and it is only at the peak of summer that places have much life. Fantastic for finishing a book or practicing long piano concertos non-stop, but if you think you might like to poke around various places and see some local life in Italy, other coastlines are denser (not faster) with local life. Ditto the small towns of the interior.
sandralist is offline  
May 31st, 2014, 08:56 AM
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I see that a left out one part of a sentence above, which left it confusing. I meant to write:

"If you go to someplace even smaller -- Chiusi, Pistoia or Pietrasanta in Tuscany, or Chiavari or Albenga on the Italian Riviera, or Vicenza in the Veneto, or Reggio nell'Emilia or Modena in Emilia Romagna -- the pace of life is like a village, but you can get on trains and buses to lots of places with marvelous art and monuments."

Also, I meant to add that Ortygia in Sicily also has a notable fish market. Many places in Sicily too, and along the Riviera and the Adriatic where you also find easy train connections or buses to interesting places.
sandralist is offline  
Jun 1st, 2014, 08:39 PM
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You might reconsider Lecce in Puglia. It is a vibrant and charming small city and although we had a car when we visited there one afternoon last year, I think that it has more transportation opportunities. We regretted not having more time there. We did stay in Otranto and I really liked it, but it's difficult without a car and not centrally located for Puglia.
packed is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2014, 01:39 AM
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Well puglia does have bus and train companies. But many small towns do not have great access. I'd look at Potenza in Basilicata and Lecce in Puglia as possibles.
bilboburgler is online now  
Jun 2nd, 2014, 06:19 AM
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I spent 2 weeks in Puglia last month without a car.
I based myself for 6 days in Lecce, a really beautiful marvelous city and was very happy with the public transportation options.
I would definitely rethink Lecce as your base.
tdk320n is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2014, 06:26 AM
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TDK - did you daytrip from Lecce? if so, where did you go?
jmct714 is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2014, 07:04 AM
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Matera, although not on the water, would also make a good base for part of your trip.
ekscrunchy is online now  

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