Need Help with Sicily and Puglia!!

Old Dec 7th, 2021, 09:53 PM
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Need Help with Sicily and Puglia!!

Hi, We are planning a 19 day trip to Italy in September. We will fly to Rome on September 5, arriving on September 6, and then to Bari, Puglia.
We will be renting a car. We thought we will spend 1 week in Puglia and then fly to Sicily, rent a car there and spend another week.
Leaving 2 or 3 days for Rome (we have been in Rome before). I understand that one week for Py=uglia and/or Sicily might not be enough. But it all we have, WE would like to have a couple of bases in each location. What will you suggest to do the best? Any advice on where to stay?
Any help is highly appreciated. Thank you!
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Old Dec 8th, 2021, 03:11 AM
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"What will you suggest to do the best?"
All depends on your interests. I suppose you have your reasons for just visiting these 2 areas of Italy, reasons that we don't know.
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Old Dec 8th, 2021, 05:35 AM
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Puglia is right next to Basilicata which has a famously terrible city (now a tourist draw) right on the border plus a nearby greek theatre so you may want to stretch your absolute definition of Puglia (Matera). The majority of the italian tourists will have gone home so the hustle will have calmed, but that does mean the tourist beach facilities will be simpler/fewer. If you want to stay in towns I'd look at Lecce/Martina Franca as my southern base and Foggia as my northern base. Don't get fooled into stay in 5 star international hotels on the outskirts of each town, try and stay in the centre and look out for B&Bs as the action is all in the centre of town. If you would prefer a more laid back holiday book into a Masseria in the countryside and sign up for any courses in what is basically a fortified farm with swimming pool and lots of space.

Sicily needs at least 7 days and I'd look at basing in Ortigia in the east and Palermo in the west. I'm not sure I'd go with a car in Sicily as the long distance buses are fine, but culturally Americans like cars. Just try and get a small one as you will be surprised how much they want to palm you off with a wide car when you need a Fiat 550 (the town roads can be very very small).
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Old Dec 8th, 2021, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by bilboburgler View Post
Puglia is right next to Basilicata which has a famously terrible city (now a tourist draw) right on the border plus a nearby greek theatre so you may want to stretch your absolute definition of Puglia (Matera). The majority of the italian tourists will have gone home so the hustle will have calmed, but that does mean the tourist beach facilities will be simpler/fewer. If you want to stay in towns I'd look at Lecce/Martina Franca as my southern base and Foggia as my northern base. Don't get fooled into stay in 5 star international hotels on the outskirts of each town, try and stay in the centre and look out for B&Bs as the action is all in the centre of town. If you would prefer a more laid back holiday book into a Masseria in the countryside and sign up for any courses in what is basically a fortified farm with swimming pool and lots of space.

Sicily needs at least 7 days and I'd look at basing in Ortigia in the east and Palermo in the west. I'm not sure I'd go with a car in Sicily as the long distance buses are fine, but culturally Americans like cars. Just try and get a small one as you will be surprised how much they want to palm you off with a wide car when you need a Fiat 550 (the town roads can be very very small).
Thank you so much! It is very helpful. We are traveling (used to travel to Europe often. In fact we already been in Italy twice. Just want to explore this part now.
Thanks again for your advice.
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Old Dec 8th, 2021, 08:36 AM
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We were in the Puglia + Matera area for 10 day this past October, and spent 4 days in Polignano a Mare and 3 in Lecce, before spending 2 nights in Matera. We loved each of these places. We stayed in Polignano because I found a great Airbnb but had initially planned to stay in Monopoli. Either makes a great base for the region. We considered a masseria, and if I had more time, I would've added that in, but we don't like to be driving in the evening and really want to be able to stroll around a town in the evening. September would be warm, though, and I think a masseria could be a nice addition. But we found Polignano & Lecce to be a really good pair of towns for basing ourselves.

If we had the time, I would've added one more night in Matera, but the 2 nights did give us a good feeling.

I also agree that Ortigia makes a good base to explore. Another option for a base, rather than Palermo ( a good city, but a big one), is Erice or Trapani. We stayed in Erice and loved it, but it's up a long hill, just above Trapani, with many switchbacks, and may not be the easiest base. Most people who spend time in Trapani like it a lot.
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Old Dec 8th, 2021, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by progol View Post
We were in the Puglia + Matera area for 10 day this past October, and spent 4 days in Polignano a Mare and 3 in Lecce, before spending 2 nights in Matera. We loved each of these places. We stayed in Polignano because I found a great Airbnb but had initially planned to stay in Monopoli. Either makes a great base for the region. We considered a masseria, and if I had more time, I would've added that in, but we don't like to be driving in the evening and really want to be able to stroll around a town in the evening. September would be warm, though, and I think a masseria could be a nice addition. But we found Polignano & Lecce to be a really good pair of towns for basing ourselves.

If we had the time, I would've added one more night in Matera, but the 2 nights did give us a good feeling.

I also agree that Ortigia makes a good base to explore. Another option for a base, rather than Palermo ( a good city, but a big one), is Erice or Trapani. We stayed in Erice and loved it, but it's up a long hill, just above Trapani, with many switchbacks, and may not be the easiest base. Most people who spend time in Trapani like it a lot.
Thank you! Do you happen to have your Airbnb in Polignano info?
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Old Dec 8th, 2021, 11:13 AM
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The Airbnb in Polignano a Mare - it really was wonderful. It's an old building and has its quirks, but the siting is incredible. The property owner/manager is very responsive and, when we had a problem with the kitchen light, he took care of it as soon as possible. He even provides vouchers for a pastry and coffee at one of the local cafes. It was a great place to stay. There is a parking lot which he has a key to that is just a few minutes walk outside the walls, and he gave us a very good rate for the 4 days we were there so we could come and go without having to search out and pay each time.
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/4782638...5-7037bcc51123

Last edited by progol; Dec 8th, 2021 at 11:21 AM.
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Old Dec 8th, 2021, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by progol View Post
The Airbnb in Polignano a Mare - it really was wonderful. It's an old building and has its quirks, but the siting is incredible. The property owner/manager is very responsive and, when we had a problem with the kitchen light, he took care of it as soon as possible. He even provides vouchers for a pastry and coffee at one of the local cafes. It was a great place to stay. There is a parking lot which he has a key to that is just a few minutes walk outside the walls, and he gave us a very good rate for the 4 days we were there so we could come and go without having to search out and pay each time.
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/4782638...5-7037bcc51123
Great! Thak you!
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Old Dec 8th, 2021, 03:43 PM
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We loved our week in Polignano a Mare and would happily return there again! In Sicily we spent a week of our time in Ortigia and loved it there too. This trip was a week in Puglia and two and a half weeks in Sicily. A good combination especially easy with direct
flights on Volotea from Bari to both Palermo and Catania. Less than an hour, non stop. Much better than having to return to Rome.Enjoy it all!
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Old Dec 8th, 2021, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by HappyTrvlr View Post
We loved our week in Polignano a Mare and would happily return there again! In Sicily we spent a week of our time in Ortigia and loved it there too. This trip was a week in Puglia and two and a half weeks in Sicily. A good combination especially easy with direct
flights on Volotea from Bari to both Palermo and Catania. Less than an hour, non stop. Much better than having to return to Rome.Enjoy it all!
Thank you! We will definitely be taking one of these flights to Sicily without going back to Rome.
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