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My Visit to Puglia

Judy Witts

The earth is sooooo red in Puglia, and the olive trees so old!! A beautiful place. It is a mix between Italy, Greece and Mexico. The water is clean and very blue. We hit some bad weather so drove around down to Santa Maria dei Leuca, but didn't get to Gallipoli.

Puglia, alberobello. Photo by Judy, summer 2002.

Alberobello - the Trulli

Puglia, Lecce details. Photo by Judy, summer 2002.

Lecce details

Puglia, trattoria. Photo by Judy, summer 2002.

Trattoria

Puglia, Lecce antipasto. Photo by Judy, summer 2002.

Lecce antipasto

Puglia, market. Photo by Judy, summer 2002.

A street market

Puglia, capers in the market. Photo by Judy, summer 2002.

Capers in the market

Puglia bay. Photo by Judy, summer 2002.

The sea

Towns

Ostuni was a dream They tend to live more in the evening, shops open after dinner, everyone hanging out on the sidewalks. It is lit up and night and really a postcard town. Found Antique shop on the main drag, but was afraid to ask the prices! Or rather my husband was pulling me out so I couldn't!

Alberobello is touristy but worth it. The Trulli are unbelievable. Many of the local shops are in Trulli so you can enter and see what they are really like. We did a lot of shopping here, great wine, oil and food products in many of the shops. I found that only the tourist shops carried the really special items and not the regular stores.

Lecce was the most beautiful (I love Baroque). They are famous for their papermache. There are special tourist police, that are there to help! We were stopped and given a map on the street and she kept us for a good half hour explaining where we should go and mapped out a walking tour for us! Incredibly nice.

Oltranto was also nice, a small village on the water, with a great Centro Storico to enjoy. Lots of restaurants in the walled in city and also in the modern town, we tried both. We stayed here for two nights. There was a great little trattoria with typical dishes.

The best Ceramics were in Grottaglie, a whole town of artists with open studios (hard to find, on a winding road leaving the village).

Food in Puglia

On the whole, food was inexpensive and great - large portions. The people fabulous and the scenery vast and wonderful.

In Lecce we stopped at a bar recommended in Fred Plotkins book and ordered a glass of wine with appetizers. Oh my god, they filled the table with goodies for only 6.50 euro a person!!! It was a meal.

We couldn't eat out for both lunch and dinner - it was too much food - so we would do dinner and enjoy it and have lighter lunches, such as the wine with appetizers, or a sandwich!

The Taralli (round breadsticks) are incredible - and I love the sweet version too - I am working on the recipe for my website.

Pastry shops were also fun.

Il Poeta Contadino, Alberbello

I collect the Piatti di buon Ricordo plates and we only ate at one of the places, in Alberobello, Il Poeta Contadino. The dish itself was simple - fish filet with olives and tomato - but the rest of the meal was inspiring and his wine list is second to Enoteca Pinchiori in Florence. The owner comes out and takes your order himself. The Burrata appetizer made me cry!

For dessert he has a sweet bruschetta -candied tomato with raisins, pinenuts and orange, served on a slice of tasted pound cake bruschetta with a basil sorbet!!

At the end of the meal he served us his homemade sweet liquore, flavored with bay leaf!! Bayocello?

It was our most expensive meal, about 200 euro for the two of us. The rest of the meals we had in Puglia were under 50 euro for the two of us.

Hotels

www.tuttoalberobello.it: Tutto Alberobello, hotels in the historic trulli buildings.

Hotel Airone, Via Col di Lana, 30, tel: 080.4322804, fax: 080.4322803
Camere con servizi privati, telefono, TV, garage. Bar prima colazione.


Judy, the Diva from www.divinacucina.com, sent us her notes and photos from a recent trip to Puglia.

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