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Puglia itinerary and suggestions

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Nov 6th, 2015, 03:17 PM
  #1
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Puglia itinerary and suggestions

My husband and I like to go somewhere for two weeks in May. We have been to many areas of Italy including Rome, Tuscany, Sicily, Amalfi.
We have the idea that we would like to go to Puglia. It seems harder to find information about this area and would love to get a sense of where to stay as a home base, what sights to see. We love to walk and are in good shape and also like the beach. We would rent a car to tour around the area also.
Does someone have a good itinerary, with sights to see and where to stay?
Also, we have the idea that we would combine Puglia with a return to Taromina (spelling?) in Sicily--how far would that be?--
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Nov 6th, 2015, 05:37 PM
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There are actually quite a lot of posts here about Puglia, several people on this forum have been and done trip reports. If you put Puglia into the search box you'll get lots of discussions.

We did an 8 night trip there a couple summers ago and loved it. Here's my trip report and link to my photos - http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ast-puglia.cfm

Although both Sicily and Puglia are in the south of Italy, they are not that close together. You could check for flights but I'd be surprised if there were direct flights between the two. Combining driving and ferries would take a whole day or more. We combined Puglia with the Amalfi Coast and that was a great combo.

Have fun planning.
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Nov 6th, 2015, 07:48 PM
  #3
kja
 
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As isabel notes, there's a lot of information on Puglia on this forum.

Puglia is a large enough area that one or two bases might not be sufficient -- your call. You might want to consider Lecce as one base. How many other bases you use, and which, will depend on your choices about what you want to see and how long you want to spend in the area.

Although not technically in Puglia, many of us recommend spending at least a night or two in Matera, just outside the borders. I encourage you to give that some thought -- it is unique and astonishing, IMO.

As for combining your time in Puglia with Taormina, I agree with isabel -- doing that would not necessarily be very convenient. The Rough Guide is usually a good source for identifying options for traveling from one region to another, so you might want to check that.

Puglia is fascinating -- enjoy!
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Nov 7th, 2015, 12:37 AM
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Volotea flies regular 1-hour non-stop flights from Bari (in Puglia) to Catania (in Sicily and the closest airport to Taormina). I don't think it is would be inconvenient at all. When I visited Taormina, I flew from Naples to Catania and picked up a car there. Most people visiting Sicily fly there from mainland Italy. Flying from Bari is actually simpler because it is a less busy airport.

You might not want to spend an entire 2 weeks in Puglia. Few people spend that much time there except avid bicyclists. Materia is not just "technically" not in Puglia. It's not in Puglia. It's in Basilicata. Many people feel (I'm one of them) that Matera is the outstanding sight of that southernmost part of Italy.
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Nov 7th, 2015, 09:47 AM
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Loved Puglia and thought there was alot to see and do s 2 weeks or anywhere inthat that time range would be fine by me. Definitely agree with those who suggest a visit to Matera which is fascinating. Also as others mentioned there are quite a few great TRs on this board that you may find helpful. It was reading them that got me interested in going to Puglia and very glad I did. Here's our TR for a portion of our trip to Puglia.
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...a-short-tr.cfm
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Nov 7th, 2015, 03:37 PM
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We are planning a two week trip to Puglia and still will not get to the Gargagno Peninsula. While we do have some time set aside for relaxing at a masseria with a pool, I am sure we will not be bored.
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Nov 8th, 2015, 02:21 AM
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I agree with the others you'll find plenty in Puglia for two weeks, particularly if you add in neighboring Matera. If you do make it to Matera I can recommend seeing the astonishing Crypt of Original Sin. One of the most memorable sites we've seen in Italy.

http://www.somuchmoretosee.com/2012/...q=original+sin

We enjoyed a number of the small towns near Trani and explore the area in search of Puglia Romaneque architecture. If this sort of thing is of any interest to you I highly recommend the Approach Guide ebook guide to the Romanesque Churches of Puglia .

http://www.approachguides.com/guide/...hes-of-puglia/

The guide gave us reasons to seek out Bari, Molfetta, Ruvo di Puglia, Trani and Troia.

Here's a link to the Puglia posts on my blog
http://www.somuchmoretosee.com/search/label/Puglia
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Nov 8th, 2015, 03:52 AM
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There are so many interesting old towns in Puglia that you will be fine, the waves of invasion, wealth and poverty means that every town seems to have a marble square, ancient official building (church, castle, town hall) then some 1950 horrid flats on the outskirts. Amgst these you will find some gems, such as cave churches in Gravina or Norman castles supporting local shops.

But the real gems are the people, the cooking and the wine.

You need to meet people eating and drinking to get the best out of puglia, book onto a cooking course, go wine tasting, take a bike tour, do some art, do a yoga course, do anything that lets you meet this mixture of greeks, albanians, normans, spartans, spanish, etc etc and meet a very exciting and excitable friendly bunch.

we used yltours and had a bomb
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Nov 8th, 2015, 09:26 AM
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Well said Bilbo. Another way to get a feel for the people,and the food is to stay on a farm at an agrotourismo. We enjoyed Celafacchio Country House built on an interesting organic wine estate.

http://www.somuchmoretosee.com/2012/...-house_28.html

The quantity, quality and reverence for food in this area is really something. If you want to eat "local" this is the place to do it! Here's a wonderful trip report from eskcrunchy which is well worth reading even several years on....

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-di-senise.cfm
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Nov 8th, 2015, 09:59 AM
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Although I most certainly agree that the people of Puglia are the most charming aspect of Puglia (no comment on the wine!), I regret to say that I stayed at the Celafacchio Country House and did not in particular enjoy the experience, or the food there. At the time I was there (and this may have changed) the chef was not Italian, and meals were more "creative" than I had hoped for. Also, in a region of Italy notoriously known to be a bargain for accommodations and food, it was pricey. But there are many other choices.

I also want to clarify my remarks about most people not spending 2 weeks in Puglia. I realize some people do spend 2 weeks, and it is a large region, so if one wants to see most of it, 2 weeks would be necessary. I was only commenting it is not at all unusual for people combine Puglia with another part of Italy, and not just Matera, but Campania or the scenic coast of Basilicata. If one wanted to combine it with a return to Taormina, it's short trip by air.
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Nov 8th, 2015, 11:11 AM
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This past Spring we spent some time along the Cilento coast and it was fabulous. Every bit as scenic as the Amalfi coast but no people. Highly recommend it.

Do read eskcrunchy's TR's from the area -- they are terrific esp for food suggestions.
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Nov 8th, 2015, 09:37 PM
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We chose to stay at Celafacchio Country House because of the proximity to Antichi Sapori, our meal there was our favorite among a great deal of good food in Puglia.

Yestravel - we really are going to all the same places

I enjoyed the Cliento coast too, though I'd love to revisit in the Spring. I'm not sure I found it as scenic as the Amalfi. We were there in late June/early July for a week several years ago and while there were very few English speakers there were a lot of Italian tourists on the beaches so it certainly gets busy in the season. We were there for my mother's 75th so we didn't have a lot of flexibility on the date. One thing I learnt was that I'd like to see a lot more of Campania and Basilicata.
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Nov 9th, 2015, 05:23 PM
  #13
 
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Antichi Sapori--best meal ever! And yes, we do seem to travel to many of the same places, WTB. I've been looking at your Paris recs for our upcoming trip.

Yes, we heard that it gets lots of Italian tourists in season. This time we were there late April and then again later in May. First trip it was September and also empty.
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Nov 9th, 2015, 05:53 PM
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here was our trip report. if you like to walk, i would highly recommend the trullo we stayed in... it's in the country with miles and miles to walk... near a lovely town and about 1/2 hour from the sea. (best i can recall.) it was a highlight to stay in a trullo that is also a working farm and family owned.

link to our report...
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...a-loved-it.cfm

post if you have any questions...
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Nov 12th, 2015, 06:06 PM
  #15
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Wow! I am getting very excited. It promises to be a wonderful trip and I appreciate the thoughtful feedback. I am off to do some research and will return with itinerary ideas and questions.
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Jan 1st, 2016, 07:37 AM
  #16
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I have begun my research and thought it would be great to get some feedback on possible itinerary. We decided that we would spend the full two weeks in the Puglia area with the addition of Matera instead of heading over to Sicily.
-- We were wondering about whether we should spend time in Bari or not. Also, at what point in the trip should we go to Matera? (not sure of all distances yet)
We are okay with public transportation but do intend to rent a car so we can drive around.
We would then stay in Martina Franca for a few days and tour the area (Alberobelo, Locorotondo, Ostunni) from there.
We would then go to Lecce and spend some time there. I saw a cooking school there and although they have week long courses, we could try to go for one day (the Awaiting Table). It looks fun. We might rent a bike for a day although I am not sure of road conditions--I love riding but find going down one up and one down roads terrorizing! Would we tour other areas from Lecce?
We would then head down to the Gallipoli area and stay somewhere in that region (not sure where yet) We would like to visit the beach somewhere. We will be going in mid May so I think it should be warm enough.
Then how do we make our way to fly back to Boston?
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Jan 1st, 2016, 07:55 AM
  #17
 
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We have a trip planned in Sept for 2.5 weeks in Puglia and will then take the train to Rome and spend 4 days before flying home to Boston.

We won't ride bikes but it is a huge pass time there so I imagine it is quite doable.

We have decided not to spend time in Bari, though we will fly into there.
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Jan 1st, 2016, 07:58 AM
  #18
 
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DRKATHEJ:

We enjoyed Puglia very much. We were there for 10 days in 2009.

Here is the URL of my web page describing the trip.

http://www.travel.stv77.com/puglia/puglia.htm

Check it out. Maybe it can help you in your planning.
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Jan 1st, 2016, 08:09 AM
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North of Lecce and Martina Franca is a raised plateau called the Murge. Riding on the top can be pleasant but obviously going down to the coast requires a bit of work. In the southern area the place is flat.

Away from the main roads biking is very safe, little traffic and sensible drivers. Some actual bike paths are now in place ie Squinzano to Lecce for example
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Jan 2nd, 2016, 06:59 AM
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my bad, going down to the coast is easy, getting back up is hard work
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