AUGUST 12, 2023
Puglia, Italy Travel Guide
A Dreamy Journey Through Bari, Polignano a Mare, Ostuni, and Alberobello
Nestled in southern Italy, Puglia beckons with its enchanting landscapes, rich history, and captivating culture. Known for its stunning architecture, olive groves, and beautiful coastline, Puglia offers a unique travel experience through its various unique towns. My recent adventure through Bari, Polignano a Mare, Ostuni, and Alberobello left me mesmerized by the region's beauty and allure. We spent a week in Puglia and mostly stayed in airbnbs. Our travel guide below will be focused on the unique activities and restaurants we discovered during our visit.
Our journey began as we touched down at Bari Airport, where the warm breeze seemed to carry whispers of the adventures ahead. Bari, the capital of Puglia, is a bustling port city steeped in history. We recommend spending 1 or 2 nights max in Bari and then exploring the other towns in Puglia.
Highlights of Bari
A Breathtaking Old Town
With its winding streets and medieval architecture, Bari's old town invites you to wander and explore. The labyrinthine alleyways of Bari's old town held secrets waiting to be discovered, from charming piazzas to ornate churches. Bari's maritime heritage and bustling markets lent an air of authenticity to our experience.
The Home of Orecchiette Pasta
We immersed ourselves in the local culture by learning the art of crafting orecchiette, the ear-shaped pasta, that has deep origins in Bari, Puglia. Traditionally made by local women, its form is thought to have been inspired by the region's rich agricultural heritage, where generations have perfected the technique, bringing the essence of Puglia to every plate.
Gelato Gelato Gelato
We indulged in velvety gelato that seemed to capture the essence of the Mediterranean sun in every corner of Bari.
POLIGNANO A MARE
On day 2, we took a 30mn train from Bari Centrale to Polignano a Mare. Seats were very comfortable and the ride was about 6 euros. I fell in love with this unique coastal town and decided to call this place home for the remaining 5 days of the trip. From here it was easy to take day trips to visit other towns in Puglia.
Highlights of Polignano a Mare
Magical walks through the Streets of Polignano
Strolling through the enchanting streets of Polignano a Mare felt like a journey through time and dreams. The beautiful buildings and cobblestone lanes seemed to whisper tales of centuries past. Walls were covered with beautiful poetry and the architecture revealed a harmonious blend of medieval and coastal influences. We discovered hidden boutiques, cozy cafes, and charming local artisans.
Breathtaking Views from Aquamarea
The Aquamarea Hotel elevated our meals with its rooftop restaurant, with panoramic views of the azure Lama Monachile beach. I came here so many times for brunch, sunset drinks and dinner. The best focaccia I have ever had.
Lama Monachile Beach
This beach is a coastal gem enveloped by towering cliffs and cerulean waters. For the first time, I got to embrace the thrill of cliff jumping into the crystal-clear sea and it was incredible.
Artisan Gelato at Cafe Lucarelli
The delightful Cafe Lucarelli captured our hearts with the finest gelato, a sweet symphony of local flavors. My favorite was their homemade ricotta pistachio gelato.
Dinner at Archibugio Restaurant
This cozy Italian restaurant beckoned us with homemade specialties of pasta, eggplant and local olive oil flavors that whispered of tradition.
Sunset Views from La Balconata
La Balconata offered stunning sunset vistas and live music, turning each evening into an enchanting symphony of sights and sounds.
Romantic Vibes at Terrazze Monachile
For the ultimate romantic experience, Terrazze Monachile took us on a culinary journey under the stars, with the backdrop of the Adriatic sea adding to the magic.
Best Seafood at la Pescaria
A charming seafood haven, this iconic restaurant welcomed us with the aroma of the Adriatic. Here, the catch of the day is transformed daily into culinary artistry, serving up the freshest seafood.
Venturing beyond Polignano a Mare, we embarked on a day trip to Ostuni, the "White City." Its gleaming whitewashed buildings and winding alleys created an ethereal ambiance.
Highlights of Ostuni
The Enchanting Streets of Ostuni
Walking here is like stepping into a captivating labyrinth of timelessness. The gleaming white buildings, adorned with cascading flowers and winding vines, create a mesmerizing backdrop against the azure sky. Every cobblestone alleyway holds secrets of the past. As we wandered through the narrow passages, we discovered hidden courtyards, vibrant markets, and inviting cafés where locals gather. The streets of Ostuni present a unique blend of rustic authenticity and artistic allure.
The Iconic Borgo Antico Bistro
Borgo Antico Bistro, which garnered TikTok fame, did not disappoint. Nestled within the heart of Ostuni's streets, this eatery exudes an inviting aura, offering traditional flavors of Apulian cuisine in a timeless setting. They served the best burrata salad I have ever had!
The Allure of Local Masserias
These ancient fortified farmhouses, nestled amidst the rolling countryside, are a testament to the region's rich agricultural heritage. Each masseria carries a unique tale of generations past. The serenity of the surroundings, coupled with the scent of olive groves and vineyards, creates the most magical environment. Today, these meticulously restored gems offer a unique retreat, where you can bask in the rustic elegance of Puglia's landscape. The allure lies not only in the charming architecture but also in the promise of a genuine connection with nature and a chance to savor the authentic flavors of the region. Some of our favorites were Maseria Cuppucinni and Maseria Cervarolo
Alberobello, with its iconic trulli houses, was our last daytrip during our Puglian escapade. The fairytale-like architecture transported us to a realm of wonder. As we wandered through the narrow streets, we couldn't resist capturing the magic through our lens.
Highlights of Alberobello
The History of the Trulli
The enchanting trulli in Alberobello are a captivating sight. These traditional Apulian houses are crafted with whitewashed limestone and feature distinctive cone-shaped roofs, each topped with a symbolic pinnacle. Rooted in history, trulli were ingeniously designed by the locals in the 14th century to evade property taxes imposed by foreign rulers. At the time, the authorities imposed taxes on permanent structures. To counter this, the local residents devised trulli, which are dry-stone, mortarless structures with removable stone roofs. These unique dwellings could be swiftly dismantled when tax inspectors were in the area, leaving no permanent structures to be taxed. The architecture, with its simple yet ingenious construction, has been passed down through generations, creating a mesmerizing village that evokes a sense of stepping into a timeless storybook.
Streets of Rione Aia Piccola
Our afternoon stroll through Rione Monti and Rione Aia Piccola in Alberobello was a captivating journey. Wandering the narrow streets of Rione Monti, we marveled at the unique trulli structures adorned with local craftsmanship. The intricate details and white-washed facades seemed like a dream. As we ventured into Rione Aia Piccola, the cozy alleys revealed a more intimate trulli experience, offering glimpses of authentic daily life. We met the locals who lived in these unique houses and were so inspired by their love for their hometown. These quarters are truly an embodiment of Alberobello's charm and heritage.
Our Puglian adventure was a testament to the region's undeniable charm. From the rustic authenticity of Bari to the coastal allure of Polignano a Mare, and the whimsical beauty of Ostuni and Alberobello, Puglia offered such a unique journey. We experienced all of this without a car, relying solely on the region's efficient public transportation using the train system. Puglia truly captured my heart, and I'm so excited to share the dreamy memories of my journey with the world.