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Puglia planning - where to base, how long to spend

Puglia planning - where to base, how long to spend

Old Oct 25th, 2013, 09:13 AM
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Puglia planning - where to base, how long to spend

I'm planning a trip that will include Puglia next July. This will follow 8-10 days Amalfi Coast and we are thinking about 8-10 days for Puglia although it's flexible.

I've been scouring the trip reports and they are a great source of info - so thanks so much to all of you who wrote them. I did notice that even a lot of people who normally base for several days in one place seem to do Puglia in one and two night stays. I would like to have as few bases as possible even if it means a little backtracking. However, it really doesn't seem reasonable in less than three bases.

So here's my rough itinerary:
Day 1 Matera - arrive late in the day
Day 2 Matera - explore Matera
Day 3 Matera - day trip to Castel del Monte (and maybe Trani)
Day 4 Polignano - drive to Polignano, explore Polignano and maybe Monopoli
Day 5 Polignano - day trip to Cisterno, Locorotundo, Alberobello, Martina Franca
Day 6 Polignano - day trip to Ostuni
Day 7 Lecce - drive to Lecce, explore Lecce
Day 8 Lecce - day trip around the tip of the heel
Day 9 back to Rome

Can you see a way to cover these places with only two bases?
Right amount of time for these places?
Correct order - or do Lecce before Polignano to make the trip back to Rome less?
Would you drive back to Rome or drop car and take train from Bari?
If we can afford another day or two what would you change?

Hotel suggestions - would like to keep it in the 75-100€ range. Ideally would be someplace in a town so we could walk to dinner and explore the town in the evening, yet not be really hard to find or drive in and out of the town given we will be doing day trips from each.
isabel is online now  
Old Oct 26th, 2013, 09:36 AM
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Old Oct 26th, 2013, 09:55 AM
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I would do Lecce before Polignano...but to be honest puglia is not that big and the road system is very good. We based just outside of mesagne and had no problem visiting Lecce and otranto up to Polignano in day trips. I think you could do it with one base. Depends where you want to eat at night etc.

We have a trip report you can find by clicking my name.
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Old Oct 26th, 2013, 11:56 AM
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I would check on how far Matera is from Castel del Monte. We visited it from our stay not far from Andria and it seems limit would be a long day trip. Other tha. That your tin sounds reasonable. As mentioned above, puglia is a relatively small area and easy to navigate.

I also have a TR you could check if you haven't seen it already.
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Old Oct 26th, 2013, 12:23 PM
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sorry for the typos - was on iPhone I was trying to say that I think the drive from Matera to Castel del Monte might be a long one.
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Old Oct 27th, 2013, 06:27 PM
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Trani is definitely worth seeing IMO. Enjoy!
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Old Oct 27th, 2013, 06:30 PM
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Old Oct 28th, 2013, 02:13 PM
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jami - I think you are right, it makes more sense to do Lecce before Polignano. I notice where you stayed was more central so I can see how you were able to do those places from that one base. But we really prefer to stay in a town/small city so we can have choices of places for dinner, can stroll around in the evening, etc. as opposed to rural bases where you either have to eat there or drive in the dark.

yes - I just rechecked and I think Castel del Monte is closer to Polignano than to Matera so maybe we'll add a day there and do it as a day trip from Polignano. I don't want to add yet another hotel.

kja - I am hoping to do Trani on the same day as Castel del Monte - do you think that's possible?

Thanks for all your trip reports, they were enormously helpful.
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Old Oct 28th, 2013, 05:41 PM
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I had originally planned to visit both Trani and the Caste del Monte on the same day and think that should be doable, particularly if you get a fairly early start to one or the other. I didn't actually make it to the Castel del Monte -- I didn't have a rental car and hadn't found a way to make advance arrangements to get there -- but think I would have had time to do so if I hadn't made other plans instead. FWIW, I didn't think the castle/fortress in Trani itself that interesting, so unless fortifications from that era are of great interest, you can probably skip that. Definitely leave time for Trani's cathedral and harbor and perhaps a bit of time in it's very tiny old town and maybe its waterfront park.

I think it makes more sense to visit Trani and the Castel del Monte from Polignano than from Matera. You might want to consider leaving Matera in the morning of Day 3 and go from there to Lecce. You might also want to give yourself a full day for Lecce itself, although you'll need to expect a very long siesta during which many, many things - including many restaurants -- may be closed.

Hope that helps!
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Old Apr 16th, 2014, 10:58 PM
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Hi Isabel--You were so kind as to leave some really helpful comments on my post about traveling in Italy with two kids.

We're considering visiting Puglia. Did you go yet? I was curious to hear your thoughts after your trip. Still wondering whether we should make the drive down south vs stay more north. Would love to hear about highlights, etc! Thank you! Ashley www.hitherandthither.net
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Old Apr 17th, 2014, 03:58 PM
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Hi Ashley - No we haven't gone yet, our trip is in July. I'll be posting a trip report but probably not until August or September. It does look like a very interesting area.

Both my daughter and I really enjoy your blog.
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Old Apr 24th, 2014, 03:04 PM
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Isabel--I'm heading to Sorrento on Monday; will stay for a week, then move on to Puglia after picking up a rental car in Naples after a short stay there. We are staying 2 nights in Matera, then basing for a week at a rural Truli in San Michele Salentino (near San Vito dei Normanni). Will take day trips from there to explore the rest of Puglia. We are hoping the one base will not be too inconvenient--will let you know how this works out when I get back to the US in early June (we're going on to the Greek islands after Puglia/Rome).
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Old Apr 24th, 2014, 03:49 PM
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We are actually doing a similar trip than you are, Isabel. We are going in May to the Amalfi coast for 5 nights, at one B&B, then driving to Matera for 3 nights, Lecce for 3 nights, then Alberobella for 2 nights. Then we will drop car in Bari and take train back to Naples before coming home. We are staying in all B&Bs. We hope to see all the places everyone is recommending. I hope we are doing the right thing also. I'll post when we get back.

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Old Apr 24th, 2014, 05:41 PM
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Ashley and bblount - I hope you both have great trips and will definitely be looking for your trip reports!
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Old Jun 3rd, 2014, 08:45 PM
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We visited Puglia two summers ago when our son was a little over one year old.

I wrote this roundup of our favorites from the trip, it might be helpful: http://3onthegoblog.com/2013/07/26/t...t-of-the-boot/

Matera was definitely the highlight for us -- 3 days is the right amount of time, many people spend only a night. It's a hip little city with some great restaurants (La Botteghe, Il Cantuccio) and the ancient sassi is unique and beautiful (though tough to navigate with a stroller!)

Nearby is the Volo de Angelo (flight of the angels) - a zip line strung up between two Italian hill towns in Basilicata. We did it and it was super fun.

Back to Puglia -- I will say that driving in Puglia was is not as in-your-face beautiful as many of the other regions we've been to, which was a little disappointing since we planned long stretches in between towns. I felt at times that we were spending way too much time in the car trying to get from town to town. I would pass on Alberobello (on just take a pic of the trulli and get out.) We did like Lecce and Ostuni and also the beaches at Gallipoli.

Let me know if you have any questions, I'm happy to help.
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Old Jul 5th, 2014, 01:25 PM
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I have yet to write a trip report for our similar itinerary last Fall- journals just sitting collecting dust! . We just adored Puglia. I am envious of your trip! We flew into Naples, then drove directly to Puglia to my grandfather's birthplace outside of Bari in Giovinazzo, where we spent one overnight. Next, we moved on to Ostuni, which was our base for the next five days. I think Ostuni is a great base for many of the places you mention. From there, we spent the first day touring Lecce, Gallipoli, and The Salento with Green Italy Tours. This provided a little respite from driving. Also from Ostuni, we visited Polignano a Mare, Locorotondo, and Alberobello. We almost skipped Alberobello, based on reviews,but wound up having a spectacular afternoon and lunch there. I don't think you can go wrong in any of these charming jewels of Puglia. Next time around, we will try to see Trani, Monopoli, and Martina Franca.

Since we were traveling to Basilicata to my grandmother's birthplace, we decided to spend three days in Matera, before driving on to the Amalfi Coast for the remainder of our trip. . Matera is not to be missed- truly amazing experience. Altamura is nearby, and you can easily day trip there from Matera.
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Old Jul 5th, 2014, 01:52 PM
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