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So excited!! Planning a trip to Matera, Alberobello & Polignano

So excited!! Planning a trip to Matera, Alberobello & Polignano

Old Feb 22nd, 2011, 08:08 PM
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So excited!! Planning a trip to Matera, Alberobello & Polignano

Hi All!

I've been aimlessly searching for an itinerary and I think I've finally found my destinations!

I'm so excited, I haven't really started planning yet - but I would love to hear any suggestions, recommendations for accommodations, restaurants, hidden gems, logistics - anything under the sun!

Some background: I have about one week free to explore in Italy - I love exploring small towns, great food is very important to me (anything from street food to Michelin stars). This will be a mini-honeymoon for us and we are willing to rent a car. I also will need to fly back into either Paris or London at the end of this trip - I'm looking at Bari as the airport to fly in and out of (only because of Easyjet/Ryan Air)

Tentative plan:
Fly into Bari
Alberobello - 2/3 nights
Matera - 3 nights
Polignano - 2 nights

I would also really love to find a slow-food agritourism multi-course dinner destination somewhere in between these destinations as well!

This site is great - I never would have come across these destinations otherwise!

Thanks in advance
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Old Feb 22nd, 2011, 08:17 PM
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Oh, I forgot to add that my time frame will be either in mid-June or early July - any special reasons for picking one time over another?
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Old Feb 23rd, 2011, 12:19 AM
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If you search under my name you will come across an extended trip report on my 11 days in Puglia during 2007. We had a great time and you can get some information regarding places to visit and hotels, restaurants, etc.

Having said that, I would not choose to spend more than several hours in Alberobello as a short day trip; there are other more interesting and less touristy towns, if that is what you are looking for. Matera is definitely special in its own right and we were sorry we did NOT spend more than a day there. As for mid-June or early-July, since it gets quite hot down there, I personally would opt for mid-June, also because it might be less trafficked with tourists (although this is still a largely undiscovered area for foreign tourists - mostly Italians are the ones who visit I believe). Enjoy your trip.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2011, 08:15 AM
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Thanks, Flame - I was just starting to realize that Alberobello probably isn't worth an overnight stay. Some other town names coming up now are Constertino, Otranto, Ostuni..

I definitely do want to spend more than a day in Matera. What would you recommend as a good base? It would be great to stay somewhere more lively at night. With a week, perhaps I should stay 5 nights in Lecce with day trips to Pogliano, Otranto, Ostuni and another 2 nights in Matera?

I couldn't find your trip report for Puglia. I see two topics with the heading "Just Back from .." but no trip reports under them.

Thanks for your help!
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Old Feb 23rd, 2011, 08:25 AM
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I agree that it is worth spending a few hours in Alberobello, but I don't regret spending only that amount of time. I enjoyed Matera, Trani, and Lecce. And do consider dinner at the Grotta Palazzese in Polignano a Mare - outstanding food and service in a truly stunning setting:

http://www.grottapalazzese.it/it/i-ristoranti/
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Old Feb 23rd, 2011, 08:35 AM
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We stayed in Matera for a few days five or so years ago. I would, again, stay down in the sassi. Its incredible, but difficult to find one's way about after dark. The sasso that we stayed in was beautifully modernized, but still required a dehumidifier to stay dry. Sorry, I don't have the name of the place.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2011, 08:47 AM
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kja, yes - i'm going to Pogliano a Mare just to eat at the Grotta! Do they take reservations?? It looks absolutely stunning. Do you know what the average cost is?

DRJ, definitely - I'm looking forward to living in a cave hotel Would you recommend 3 nights or 2 nights?

Thanks all!
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Old Feb 23rd, 2011, 09:47 AM
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Jan, I have a holiday home in Puglia, so know the area very well.

I Matera, stay in the Sassi, there are some fabulous hotels that have been made out of the old caves. The Sassi is also where you'll find a lot of great retauarnts and bars springing up.

I wouldn't stay in Alberobello. I would, instead, pick either Otranto or Ostuni, which both have the advantage of being very beach accessible, which you may be glad of if you get a heat wave. I'm personally a big fan of Ostuni, as there's loads of great restaurants and hotels in the old town and you're an easy drive for daytrips to places such as Alberobello, Martina Franca, Locorotondo and Cisternino.

Just outside Ostuni is THE most fabulous "slow-food agritourism multi-course dinner destination". It's called Il Frantoio: http://www.masseriailfrantoio.it/
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Old Feb 23rd, 2011, 10:06 AM
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I, too, went to Polignano a Mare specifically for the Grotta Palazzese, and was glad to arrive early enough to walk around the town and waterfront briefly before dinner. It's been several years since my wonderfully memorable dinner there, but at that time (a) yes, they did take reservations and (b) it was surprisingly affordable. Sorry, but I don't remember specifically how much.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2011, 10:15 AM
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Our hotel was Locanda di San Martino, down in the sassi. Free car park adjacent.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2011, 12:51 PM
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Kate, thanks for that fabulous masseria recommendation!! I can't wait to go. Will definitely take a closer look at Ostuni as well.

DRJ, yes - that's the same hotel I'm looking at as well. Thanks!
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Old Feb 23rd, 2011, 02:32 PM
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Hi Jan, I spent a week in Lecce a couple of years ago and stayed in the old part of the city. It is such an interesting place and heaps of things to see. We travelled by train to Otranto (absolutely divine) and then another day trip to Alberobello and had a realy great day. As advised by everyone else I wouldn't do more than a day trip there. In Lecce our apartment was La Stelle di una volta. They have a website http://www.stellediunavolta.com. Hope you have a great trip.

P
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Old Feb 23rd, 2011, 08:46 PM
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Jan,

Here is my trip report that you had trouble finding. I hope it gives you some ideas and if there is anything else I can help you with, just let me know !!

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...and-nights.cfm
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Old Feb 24th, 2011, 12:30 AM
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Hi Jan,
We were in Matera in October last year - it was amazing. We stayed in a fabulous apartment in the sassi district with our own sassi excavation visible through our kitchen window! It was the nel Pozzo suite of the Residence San Giorgio. Nearby was an excellent restaurant "la Talpa" which served local fare.We engaged a wonderful local guide for a 4 hour walking tour of the sassi district - it was fascinating!This was booked through our reception.
In 2008 we used Martina Franca as our base to visit Ostuni, Alberobello & Locorotondo. The old town of Martina Franca was also beautiful. We had a car & driving in this region was relatively easy.
Cheers, Ozlinz
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Old Feb 24th, 2011, 04:00 AM
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You realize that Otranto is no substitute for Alberobello since it's not in the region of the trulli, don't you? Instead of Alberobello, you could stay in Ostuni, as mentioned, in Cisternino, Locorotondo, Martina Franca - or, much better, somewhere in the surrounding countryside! Most trulli are single farm houses outside the villages (with the exception of Alberobello, which however, as you've already realized, is as over-touristy as Disneyland) - and a great number of trulli has been restored (some very beautifully) and made vacation rentals.
As far as Slowfood and related, look for ekscrunchy's trip/food report "From Pettole to Pasticiotti" on this forum, that's exactly what you need (she's a far more than reliable food expert!) - THE place to go for dinner in the trulli region, it would seem from her report, is this one: www.masseriaparcodicastro.it
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Old Apr 20th, 2011, 01:44 PM
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We just returned from Matera. What an amazing place. . .I quickly wanted to recommend the place we stayed. It is called La Dolce Vita. The rooms were impeccably clean and beautifully built into a cave. Vincenzo and his wife could not have been a better hosts. Vincenzo, being a Matera-native can answer any questions you have about the area. Our entire stay was wonderful.
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