Puglia Travel Diary I

As you probably have read before (or noticed on Instagram) I’ve spent two weeks in the south of Italy. The heel of Italy’s boot is called Puglia. There was so much to explore and so much beauty to contemplate. We visited eight different cities and in this post I will share the first three – Bari – Polignano a Mare – Matera – and I’ll show you the beautiful pool and park of our hotel in Bari! Captured with the Olympus PEN EP-L 7 and the iPhone 5s (that died during the last days, poor thing! Probably I made too many pictures haha). Prepare for a picture overload!

Why Italy? I love Italy, the food, the language and the beautiful old towns. Three years ago I’ve studied in Perugia and Milano for 7 months, so I learned Italian and I just fell in love with this country. I went back several times (Rome for 3 weeks, Milan of course to do fashion shoots and I visited many small cities in the north and middle of Italy during my stay. Also the trip to the island Elba was a nice experience. I had never been to the south of Italy, so I was very curious to discover this part of Italy too. This part isn’t populair by tourist yet, what I really liked.

Puglia is comprised of sun-bleached landscapes, silver olive groves, picturesque seascapes, and memorable hilltop and coastal towns. It is a lush, largely flat farming region, skirted by a long coast that alternates between glittering limestone precipices and long sandy beaches. The heel of Italy juts into the Adriatic and Ionian Seas and the waters of both are stunningly beautiful, veering between translucent emerald-green and dusky powder blue. Its extensive coastline bears the marks of many conquering invaders: the Normans, the Spanish, the Turks, the Swabians and the Greeks. Yet, despite its diverse influences, Puglia has its own distinct and authentic identity. – by Lonelyplanet

This is the map of Puglia, do you see the little stars? I will talk about these places in this and the upcoming post.

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To start with Bari! Bari is a big port city on the Adriatic coast. The capital of the Italian region of Puglia. From Amsterdam it was a 2,5 hour flight to Bari with Transavia. After 20-30 minutes by taxi we arrived in the 4 star hotel and were surprised by the very new pool (open since one month before our stay) and the lovely park. We booked the hotel Villa Romanazzi Carducci for two weeks in Bari and decided to travel by train to the other cities. Between the trips we made, we also wanted to relax. So this hotel was a great home base :) Did I already mention the perfect breakfast buffet? You could eat everything you like, from cake and candy to eggs to yoghurt to bread or a salade. I preferred to start with the Soy yoghurt with almonds, walnuts, raisins, dried plums and apricots. Followed by a boiled egg, a kiwi, a green apple and sometimes a 5 cereals muffin or a slice of bread. Not to forget the Italian cappuccino! As you can see I love breakfast and I wish I had this buffet at home too.. Also a big compliment for the sweet and hard working crew!

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Bari is separated in an old and new city center. The old center (Bari Vecchio) was typical Italian and located at the sea. Small streets, little stores and many locals. I loved the balconies with many plants and flowers. Bari’s signature basilica was one of the first Norman churches to be built in the south of Italy. There was also a beautiful cathedral and a castle to visit. What I liked the most are the piazza’s (not pizza’s ;) A Piazza is a square). The piazza was lined with bars and cafés and we had diner a few times and Black and White restaurant. Also the boulevard (lungomare) of Bari is quite famous and nice to have a look. The new center is filled with shopping streets. The most famous shopping streets are the Via Sparano, the Via Argiro and the Via Manzoni. Most of the designer European brands are represented. Bari is the most famous shopping districts in southern Italy. I only bought a skirt and a top at Stradivarius, one of my favorite stores in Italy!

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Polignano a Mare was definitely my favorite city at the coast. It’s perched atop a 20 metre-high limestone cliff above the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic Sea. The tiny old town can be reached through the Porta Vecchia gate. It combines charming, white-washed streets with beautiful old churches. While getting lost in these streets, we reached all three panoramic terraces offering breathtaking views of the beautiful sea and coastline. In recent years the town has hosted the Red Bull diving competition and American soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful shot some episodes in Polignano a Mare. We visited this city more than once. Have a look at the pictures and you will understand!

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Matera is one of the most interesting, unusual, memorable and destinations in Italy. It is still little-visited by foreign travellers. A walk through Matera’s historic center will transport you back into a past long-forgotten. These old cave houses are called sassi. In 1993 the sassi were declared a Unesco World Heritage Site. Mel Gibson chose to film The Passion of the Christ here, and many other writers and creatives were inspired by one of the world’s oldest towns. I agree, I would love to go back and organize a huge fashion shoot here! (keep on dreaming). Matera is the European Capital of Culture 2019 and I’m happy I saw this unique town.

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Hope you liked it! Let me know if you have any questions.

Next post: Monopoli – Alberobello – Trani – Mola di Bari – Lecce – coming soon!