If you follow this blog for a while, you probably remember the Puglia Travel Diaries from last summer. I love Italy, the food, the language and the beautiful old towns. Four years ago I’ve studied in Perugia and Milano for 7 months, so I learned to understand and to speak Italian. After discovering the north and the middle of this country, we felt in love with the south of Italy, called Puglia, and even more in the south is called Salento. This part isn’t populair by tourists yet, what I really liked. It’s only very populair by the Italians. People from the north go here to enjoy their summer at the most beautiful beaches. It was a real adventure to explore all these villages without a car! Together with my mother we only used the public transport, trains like Trenitalia + SFE and the bus called Salento in Bus). It will take a lot of extra time, but it is possible to visit this part of Italy without a car, but… the public transport is really cheap! :) Luckily also my mom speaks Italian quite well, what is almost a must if you want to travel around while using the tips and suggestions from the locals.
Last year we went to: Bari (airport + hotel) – Polignano a Mare – Matera – Monopoli – Alberobello – Trani – Mola di Bari – Lecce.
This year we went to: Bari (airport) – Lecce (B&B) – Porto Cesareo – Cisternino – Ostuni – Otranto – Gallipoli – Martina Franca – Torre dell’Orso
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? The stars from Martina Franca and down are the villages we visited this year. The other we discovered last year and I’ve wrote 2 big posts about them! Click here for Puglia Travel Diary I and here for Puglia Travel Diary II.
Captured with the Olympus PEN E-PL7 and the iPhone 6s Plus.
Last but not least: the historic Lecce! Also known as the ‘Florence of the Baroque’ or the ‘Rome of the South’. This baroque town took us 2 hours by train from the Airport in Bari. Last year we went to Lecce and we thought is was a lovely city for our next stay to explore more villages in Salento, so we did! Via booking.com I’ve found the cute Bed & Breakfast called I 4 Balconi. This B&B was founded by two boys of my age. We had a pleasant stay here and I can really recommend I 4 Balconi!
Lecce has a true southern rhythm. As the day heats up, the streets are empty during the hottest afternoon hours. In other words, no other people in the pictures! There are many churches, a cathedral, a Roman amphitheater and picturesque little lanes to discover. I liked the ambiance of Lecce, and it’s quite big, so please take the time while visiting.
Dinner at Nautilus Garden in Lecce.
Porto Cesareo is a beautiful white beach with a crystal clear sea. We went here on a Sunday at the end of August (not a good idea haha) so it was really crowed with Italian tourists. We had a lovely day and the temperature of the sea was perfect!
The charming centro storico has remained virtually intact for centuries. Its whitewashed houses, narrow, shady streets, historic churches and elegant central piazza open out onto a panoramic view points where you can see the surrounding countryside, where you also will see the white-tipped conical trulli roofs. The typical white houses that we saw before in Alberobello. We where in Cisternino during a hot day and we were happy with all its shaddy streets. After a few hours we decided to take the bus to the next village: Ostuni. A 30 minute ride. Make sure to look out the window, the ride is pretty nice!
Ostuni was definitely more touristic than Cisternino. We arrived at the afternoon, around 4.30 pm, and it seems like all Italians hide in their houses (?) during the day and come out in the afternoon. The sun feels less harsh and they go for a aperitivo or a gelato.
Ostuni is the most typical and most representative town of Puglia. The beauty of Ostuni is in a particular mix of characteristics such as its white houses indicative of a Oriental modelling of the town; its surrounding walls built by the Messapi and redesigned by the Aragonese; its stratification in accordance with the various periods of its historical growth; its architecture in harmony with surrounding landscape made of olive trees that reach the blue Adriatic sea. – more: pugliaandculture.com
Hope you liked it! Let me know if you have any questions.