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Suggestions for Puglia?

Old Sep 24th, 2012, 05:46 PM
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Suggestions for Puglia?

A group of friends (10 people) will be renting a villa for a week next September in Puglia. We would like to settle somewhere that also provides easy driving access to some of the key sights in Basilicata, esp. Matera/sassi etc. Right now I am looking at the area around Martina Franca/Cisternino/Alberobello etc. Have any of you stayed in that area and can you provide suggestions about where is the best for sightseeing in the area? None of us is especially interested in beaches but love food/wine/sightseeing/biking!
losaltos is offline  
Old Sep 25th, 2012, 01:31 AM
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You may want to read our trip report:
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...t-do-italy.cfm

We spent a week in Puglia in June.

I think that area would be fine, but keep in mind you will need to drive about 2 hours each way to get to Matera so you may want to plan to spend 1 night there.

Have fun!
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Old Sep 25th, 2012, 02:16 AM
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For me, the area you mention would be too far to do repeated day trips to Matera, etc. Is there any chance that you could begin with a few days in a hotel or B&B, or rental, in Matera itself, and then proceed to your Puglia rental?

I have stayed several times in the area you mention. There is a belt of towns beginning with ALberobello in the west, and continuing in a southeast direction through Locorotondo, Martina, Cisternino, Ostuni, CeglieM, and Carovigno. Each one of those towns are lovely, with some being larger or smaller than others and thus perhaps more difficult to drive into the center.
But anywhere in those towns or, more likely, in the surrounding countryside, would make a great base.


If you want to delve further into Basilicata, I would also recommend the area of the Pollino Park, which is an easy drive from Matera. Food and wine in this area is unique and the scenery is exquisite.

I've written two trip reports about Puglia; maybe you can find helpful info within. And I've just returned from a third visit that included Basilicata, so would be happy to answer questions based on my experience.

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ern-puglia.cfm


http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-di-senise.cfm
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Old Sep 25th, 2012, 03:52 AM
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You may find the Puglian section on http://www.mybikeguide.co.uk/ useful, good stuff above
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Old Sep 25th, 2012, 04:38 AM
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Basilicata is so beautiful, and Matera and its surrounds are so interesting, I suggest you move your focus to being in or quite near Basilicata, and see a few of the more exceptional sights of Puglia from there, as well as more of Basilicata. Food and wine in Basilicata are every bit the equal and often better than what you find is less scenic Puglia, (minus of course, sea urchins and horsemeat). If you don't want to be in Basilicata, staying around Gioia dei Colle/Altamura in Puglia would give you easy access to the trulli hills where you are currently looking. For me, once you've seen one trulli you've pretty much seen them all, and while the various white towns that dot the area have antique atmosphere and sometimes fine churches, there's not a huge amount of cultural interest. But for a week you are not likely to run out of entertaining places to pop into.

If biking is going to be a major activity for your group, and especially if you are brining your own bikes so you can go biking every day rather than rent them for an afternoon or two, than the majority of Puglia is flat, and probably the main reason for non-beach lovers to go. But then be aware that areas around Cisternino are hilly, although nothing a fit cyclist couldn't handle. Basilicata around Matera is quite hilly and ravine-filled, and the most spectacularly beautiful parts of Basilicata have dolomite mountains. So if you stayed mainly near there, biking would be about going someplace else in Puglia, or down to Metaponto and the coast, and renting them for a day

Something else you might consider is that only parts of this region are really developed for tourism, restricting where you will find a villa large enough for your group. However, you could probably very easily strike a deal with a masseria owner to give your entire group a steep discount on a full one-week booking of rooms in their masseria, and many of these places are cheap to begin with. You can find masserie all over Puglia. If you pick a masserie with a restauarnt, you could get dinner made for you on a regular basis, really freeing up your time from shopping -- plus you get the real home cooking. (It is often difficult in rural Puglia, where villa rentals are, to find restaurants located anyplace other than the middle of the nearest town.)
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Old Sep 25th, 2012, 06:04 AM
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When renting a villa for 10, be sure you get the right number of beds in the right kinds of configuration. Often villas are advertised as "sleeps 10" when many of those beds are bunks or foldout sofas or chairs. Getting enough bathrooms can also be a challenge. Doing searches for villas that "sleep 14" or even 16 can sometimes get you closer to what you really need.

In September, I am pretty sure I would want air conditioning that far south in Italy. It is another reason to consider whether booking en masse in a masseria might be the way to go.
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Old Oct 5th, 2012, 10:51 AM
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Thanks all! I am rethinking where we want to be based and after looking at villa descriptions totally agree that something that says "sleeps 10" too often means roll outs and a place with 2 bathrooms!
losaltos is offline  
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