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Magster2005 Jul 24th, 2013 06:08 AM

Puglia Without a Car
I am just starting to plan a trip to the Puglia area for next April. (Special thanks to ekscrunchy and chucktown_dobbs for their outstanding trip reports!) We will be arriving in Bari by ferry (from Corfu) and will have 8 or 9 days. We prefer to use public transportation although we might want to rent a car for a day. Our main interests are culture and history (not beaches).

We would like to base ourselves in just two locations since we are of the Slow Travel persuasion. One base will definitely be Matera (Locando de San Martino sounds fabulous). A couple questions about Matera: How steep is it? (My husband does pretty well, but lots of very steep steps would be a problem for him.) Could we find enough to do for 4 or 5 days?

The big question is where else to base ourselves – hopefully somewhere we would not need a car (other than for a day of wandering). Would love to do a couple side trips to places like Lecce, Alberobello, Ostuni (others?) I was considering Martina Franca or Gioia del Colle?

Also we will be here during the week before Easter. Are any towns exceptionally good for pre Easter celebrations?

One last question: Our next destination is Rome. Will it be a problem arriving on Easter Sunday? (I know transportation will be more limited and Rome will be packed.) Would it be better to arrive on Easter Monday?

Thanks so much for your help!

kja Jul 24th, 2013 04:22 PM

I loved Matera (which isn't actually in Puglia) and I loved the Locando di San Martino there. There are some pretty steep stairs, as I recall, but you can also take a taxi if necessary to get from the sassi to the New Town. I would have found 4 or 5 nights there too much, but it really depends on what you want to see and experience. I think I spent about 1.5 days there; if I had had a rental car (I did not), I would have liked one more day for the surrounding area.

I visited a small part of Puglia without a car: I went by train from Matera to Trani (with a change of trains in Bari); then by train from Trani to Lecce, stopping en route to visit Alberobello; then from Lecce to Bari, stopping en route in Polignano a Mare; I left by flight from Bari. As you can see, there was a great deal of the area that I did not see -- my time was too limited to permit a more extensive ramble.

Hope that helps!

Magster2005 Jul 24th, 2013 06:02 PM

kja -- Thank you very much. I especially appreciate your train travels -- sounds very doable with stops enroute. Just what I was hoping.

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