Southern Italy Itinerary

Old Jan 17th, 2012, 03:28 PM
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Southern Italy Itinerary

Hi everybody,

I am planning a trip to southern Italy, and I'd like to have your feedback on my itinerary.

Arrival in Rome in late June taking a three hour train ride to Sulmona
- Sulmona: 4 nights with a day trip to Scanno

Two hour train ride down to Termoli and fifty minute boat to the Tremiti archipelago.
- Tremiti Islands: 4 nights with no day trips.

Fifty minute boat back to Termoli and three hour train ride down to Lecce.
- Lecce: 4 nights with a day trip to Gallipoli

Two hour train ride up to Bari.
- Bari: 4 nights with day trips to Alberobello and Matera

Four hour train ride back to Rome
- Rome: 4 nights to revisit the city with no day trips.

End of my trip in the middle of July. Return home from Rome.

What do you think of the logistics? Am I being too ambitious? My main goal is to stroll, visit churches, spend time on the beach, eat and enjoy the atmosphere. I've been thinking about cutting off Bari and add an extra night to visit Alberobello from Lecce in order to make it shorter and less hectic (I'm not a great fan of day trips). However, while I would've loved to spend a couple of nights in Matera, I cannot visit it from any of the other destinations as a day trip.

I visited Campania and Sicily in 2008 combining train/boats, and while I had a great time, I have to admit that I was a little tired by the third week. Back then my itinerary was: Naples-Capri-Amalfi-Taormina-Cefalù-Palermo.

Thanks for your feedback!

Daniel
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Old Jan 17th, 2012, 05:22 PM
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> My main goal is to stroll, visit churches, ...

You might consider spending a few hours in Trani, which has an amazing waterfront cathedral next to a small old town and harbor. It can be easily reached by train from Bari.

> I've been thinking about cutting off Bari and add an extra night to visit Alberobello

I'm glad I saw Alberobello, and was ready to leave after a few hours.

> I would've loved to spend a couple of nights in Matera

Matera can also be reached by train from Bari.

Hope that helps!
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Old Jan 18th, 2012, 02:59 AM
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Nice!

I thought Locorotondo was gorgeous. You will see plenty of trulli on the roads in that zone, so you do not absolutely need to include Alberobello, although it is quite a sight to see them in such a concentrated area. Agree that a couple of hours is fine there.

4 nights in Lecce will allow you do do other daytrips; perhaps Otranto (??)

Can you take a night away from Lecce and overnight in Matera?

Will be eager to read of the Gargano/Tremeti and Sulmona, too.
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Old Jan 18th, 2012, 05:58 AM
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Bari is not considered very tourist-friendly. Consider spending time in Matera instead and visiting Alberobello from somewhere else.

There are buses from Bari to Matera and from Matera to Potenza. You could return from Matera to Rome via Potenza.
http://www.fal-srl.it/it/pdf/quadriautdaBari0112.pdf
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Old Jan 18th, 2012, 06:19 AM
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I think your plan is overall excellent and not too ambitious, I'd just rethink the 4 nights in Bari, which is a highlight as far as architecture and art, no doubt, but atmospherically not my top choice in Puglia. (Bari used to be very very poor and pretty dangerous until few years ago; those days are fortunately over, but recovery hasn't gone as far as making it what I'd call a pleasant city.) I suggest looking into Giovinazzo as a base instead, which is a really cute small town, with a very nice and calm atmosphere; you could easily do Bari, Alberobello and Matera from there, and also Trani of course. (You didn't say how you'll be making your day trips: rental car or train/bus?) I realize you said you're not a big fan of day trips, and it's true that in two hours, you'll know every corner of Giovinazzo, but then, also Bari doesn't ask for more than one day of thorough sightseeing, so the difference is not that big - you'd have to do three daytrips in four days from one base or the other.
You may be interested in this thread for Puglia and Matera: http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-revisited.cfm
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Old Jan 18th, 2012, 06:51 AM
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Wn November, we visited Sulmona, which we found to be a beautiful and charming town.

In Puglia,instead of basing in Bari, we stayed in Bisceglie, which is very close to Bari, but is on the beautiful Adriatic. We took trains everywhere, including from Bisceglie to Matera, via Bari.

Your trip sounds wonderful.

Byrd
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Old Jan 18th, 2012, 07:22 AM
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Yes, staying in Bisceglie is basically the same idea as staying in Giovinazzo - just that Giovinazzo is far prettier IMO.
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Old Jan 18th, 2012, 07:57 AM
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Or Trani, perhaps?

http://www.pbase.com/isolaverde/pugliagen

We enjoyed the couple of nights we spent in Alberobello - the trulli were better once the crowds had moved on, and it's a nice little town to explore!

Peter
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Old Jan 18th, 2012, 02:35 PM
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Wow, thank you guys, for your wonderful suggestions. I think I'll base somewhere else instead of Bari. Technically, I wasn't that excited about Bari in the first place, I had leaned towards it in terms of logistics.

Trani had been one of my first options, or spending a couple of nights in Matera and visiting Alberobello from Lecce instead. However, I'll investigate about Giovinazzo and Bisceglie, since you're saying it's feasible to visit Matera from there. I could remove a day from Rome, since I've already been there, and allocate it somewhere else if needed. Bari is definitely off the itinerary, then.

I was so sorry to cut off Otranto from my original plan, but I'm glad to see encouragement about it. I've read Lecce is small enough to be visited in a day, so I could definitely fit it.

Apulia seems to have so many wondeful places: Ostuni, Locorotondo, Martina Franca... I wish I could visit them all.

I cannot drive, so I'm planning to day trip by train.

Thank you guys, again, I'm feeling pretty confident about it after reading your opinions and suggestions.
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Old Jan 19th, 2012, 01:12 AM
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How does one put this nicely...

Is it sufficiently diplomatic to say, "Whilst there's nowhere that can't be whizzed round in a day, few places are sufficiently limited that their attractions can be appreciated properly in so short a visit" ?

If so, do please share with us which yahoo it was who suggested Lecce might be visited in a day!

But all the same, given the later sacrifices, I wonder if the Tremiti offer sufficient to justify quite such a large proportion of your time?

We live on an island not very much larger (which you'll probably have noticed in the Capri sunsets?) and well apppreciate the pleasure people get from both diving and simply being at the beach - and didn't get to visit them ourselves - however, from this at least, I don't see an awful lot else to occupy one whilst there...

http://www.italiantouristoffice.se/sv/docs/523.pdf

Not easy though, is it?

Peter
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Old Jan 19th, 2012, 02:19 AM
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Hi Brit in Ischia,

I never meant to say that I'd visit Lecce as a day trip; I meant to say that I have read here, on Fodor's, people who have said that they considered a full day in Lecce was enough for them. For me, Lecce, is my main reason to visit Puglia.

Is it me or you seem to be upset? I have never been to Lecce, so, that's why I am asking. Besides, like I've just said, a lot of the posts I've read about Lecce here, on Fodor's, thought a full day in Lecce was enough.

Actually, that's why I do not like day trips, as I stated it in my original post, because I don't think a day is enough to appreciate the atmosphere of a place, which is my reason for traveling. I'm not into visiting a series of landmarks and museums, but into getting into the atmosphere.

I'm just trying to figure out my itinerary. For me, the Tremiti are worth it because I'd like to spend a few days on a beach with nothing to do other than rest.

Thanks for the Tremiti link!

Daniel
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Old Jan 19th, 2012, 02:34 AM
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Here is one Lecce thread:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...any-nights.cfm
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Old Jan 19th, 2012, 03:07 AM
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But it's true that you only NEED one day for Lecce - I'm really an avid art-and-architecture traveler and typically need far more time for each and every sight than anybody else needs, so if I can do a town in one day, everybody can. Lecce's baroque is fun, but doesn't frankly rank highly among baroque architecture, let alone among baroque sculpture
A completely different question is whether you really WANT to have but one day in Lecce - which is one of Puglia's nicest places in terms of atmosphere, strolling around, eating gelato... that terrific gelato (see my trip report, quoted above) alone is a valid reason to want more than one day in Lecce! But making it a base for a few nights, one day of sightseeing for Lecce proper, the remaining days for daytrips, returning to Lecce in the evenings, that's a perfectly reasonable plan that meets all requirements, the cultural and the hedonistic ones.
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Old Jan 19th, 2012, 07:04 AM
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You seem to be focusing on Abruzzo and Puglia. In my opinion, you can add Umbria and lessen the days in the other provences. Assisi is a lovely ancient town, and has a beautiful basilica (cathedral). You can also visit the Basilica of Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo, it is in Puglia, and you can easily reach it from Bari.
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Old Jan 19th, 2012, 10:51 PM
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Thank you Eks and Franco, for a moment I thought I had misread these other threads I was talking about. Eks' thread was one of the ones I had previously read.

Franco perfectly defined the way I see it and done it in other trips: sightseeing for a day and then coming back for dinner or for strolling or for an ice cream after a day trip.

Thank you, Anna, however, Umbria would be far, for me, by train, and I have already visited Assisi, which is a place I hope that I can return to in the future. Thanks for the Giovanni Rotondo recommendation.

Daniel
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Old Jan 20th, 2012, 03:22 AM
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Don't think I'm a lot wiser.... the chief proponent of "Lecce in a day" doesn't really mean quite that, or do they?

To me, such equivocation is indeed upsetting - and to be frank... well no, that's something I'd rather not be!

It took us a deal longer to see Lecce's attractions, some of which (as well as, presumably, a few puffs for the site's sponsors) are shown here...

http://www.10things.it/guide/lecce/top-10/

... although, first time round, our visit did coincide with the city's lovely "Cortili Aperti" event - when courtyards, church gardens and other 'hidden' spaces had been specially prepared and opened to public view.... as you may have noticed towards the end of those photos - only now labelled as such!

http://www.pbase.com/isolaverde/puglialecce

That's still going, with its most recent 17th edition held over 28/29 May last year. Guided tours in English, French, German and Spanish although this PDF is all in Italian....

http://www.comune.lecce.it/NR/rdonly...aperti2011.pdf

Perhaps then we knew where there was interesting stuff to show the friend with whom we went the second time - and you too may find that leaflet useful, if planning to be there for a while?

Whatever you do, be sure not to miss the glorious sight of those streets lit at night... that would be well beyond yahooism!

Peter
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Old Jan 30th, 2012, 04:04 PM
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Thanks for the links, Peter! I'd been away for a while and I wasn't able to check my thread again.

Your pictures are B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L! I cannot wait to go there! The Cortili Aperti event seems very charming.

Due to logistics, I've decided against the Tremiti islands and cut down my Rome/Sulmona stay to 3 nights each. the Tremiti make more sense for a Gargano trip. Sulmona is the nearest town near Rome where I can spend a few nights near Puglia at a short train ride and I've been to Rome already, so it's not a priority for me.

Anyhow, I found, what I think, it's a great deal for 6 nights in Lecce, from where I'll visit Otranto, Laghi Alìmini and Gallipoli.

Bari is out of the itinerary as a base, but, since my mother is from Castellana Grotte, I've decided to base there for the Valley d'Itria. I even found a masseria that I like. I'd thought of 4 nights, however, how would you rank these towns as day trips from Castellana Grotte:

Alberobello
Martina Franca
Locorotondo
Monopoli
Citernino

Thanks again for your time and opinions!
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Old Jan 31st, 2012, 02:54 AM
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That's a difficult question, but here are a few thoughts:

I would place Monopoli at the bottom of the list. Granted, I visited only to see the food market as it was on our way to Polignano, but from the glimpse I saw it would not rank as highly as the others. But then, I did not see the waterfront, so perhaps I missed the main draw. (I would put Polignano on the list if you can do an easy daytrip; it is downright spectacular)

As for Cisternino, I've been twice during the day and while it is a very attractive "white" town, one of the draws there are the fornillo/butcher shop restaurants and I believe these are open only at night.

Locorotondo would be at the top for sheer beauty. Great view of the plain as well. Weekly market takes over the town on Fridays, so avoid that day if possible unless you want to shop for cheap brassieres and sparkly jeans.

Martina ranks very close for sheer architectural beauty. It is larger than Locorotondo, with much Baroque architecture. More majestic than the small white villages like Locorotondo and Alberobello.

Alberobello should be visited for the trulli; make sure to see the trulli house museum. You already know that there will be many tourists so try to time your visit to avoid coach tours if possible.

Those are just my own thoughts and others will give different viewpoints.
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Old Jan 31st, 2012, 04:58 AM
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My opinion is very similar to ek's, not very surprisingly, just that I would rank Cisternino, not only because of the fornelli but also as a "white town", higher than Locorotondo.
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Old Jan 31st, 2012, 05:00 AM
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Sorry just wanted to thank everyone for their thoughts as I am also planning for a trip to Puglia in June! (Franco if you click on my name, I have a post about Le Marche and Puglia and I would love your thoughts on our plans!!)
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