Puglia is a region in southern Italy located at the ‘heel of the boot’. Although we had both been to Italy several times neither of us had been to this part of the country before. It is mainly visited by holidaying Italians and manages to escape the influx of mass tourism that other parts of the country can be prone to. When I was researching for the trip I found it difficult to find information in English. So I hope this post will help you decide on where to stay in Puglia. We certainly found a few gems that I would highly recommend. However, there are so many villages and towns to choose from it is hard to know where to start. Using the regional train service we decided to have Breakfast in Bari, Lunch in Martina Franca and dinner in Locorotondo !
Apartment in Martina Franca
We booked this lovely little apartment on booking.com. The cheeky owner named it “The White House” and even had letter headed paper printed up. It was cleverly designed to optimise on space. I have to admit after travelling for so many years I am getting fussy when I can afford it. It looked brand new and they were probably still working on a few details. However, what was annoying was when you tucked yourself into bed under the covers there was no way to turn off the light unless you went down the stairs and switched it off. Meaning you would have to climb back up the steps in darkness. Admittedly, this little inconvenience was soon forgiven with the charm and character of the apartment. It was like a doll house for grown ups. There was a wood chip stove in the corner (which we nearly exploded), a small kitchenette, an en-suite shower and everything you could want for a short stay. The manager even collected us from the train station in her own car and drove us to the apartment. Which we might never have found as the town is a bit of a maze of white washed buildings and narrow streets.
The train from Martina Franca to Locorotondo
We dumped our bags and headed back to the station taking the 6 minute train back to Locorotondo to explore.
The regional train service is called FSE (Ferrovie del Sud Est) and costs 1€ one way. The tickets can be purchased from the machine at the station or the ticket desk.
Locorotondo is a heavenly place built on a hill. It’s a lovely spot to just ramble around in. There are Trulli’s (traditional stone hut dwellings with a conical roof) located just on the outskirts of the town and definitely worth seeing or even staying in one. There are a few advertised in Airbnb.
Dinner in Locorotondo
It was riposo the Italian siesta. So when we finished exploring most things were closed. The restaurant we were recommended was not open yet. People are way more relaxed about time in these parts. No one seems in a hurry except the espresso junkies. Business trading times are generally open to interpretation. Just the way I like it. Unless you have a rumbling stomach.
At the entrance to the old city we popped into Caffe Della Villa for an aperitivo. Then sauntered over to Taverna del Duca for dinner of slow roast pork with veg. It was insanely good, literally just falling off the bone. They also had donkey on the menu. In hindsight, for the novelty factor I should have orderd it. Admittedly, I am just not brave enough for a donkey dinner.
Poligano a Mare
As the weather was improving and we wanted to spend the last few days by the sea. We took a train to Poligano a Mare. The apartment was run by the wonderful Ada. She literally could not do enough for us to ensure we have a great stay. Collecting us from the train station, giving us suggestions, offering us the use of another apartment on the day we were leaving.
We booked Casa Mare B&B through Airbnb. It is split over 3 levels and has a balcony with a view that can hypnotise you. It should really come with a warning. You find yourself in a trance like state with a glass of Primitivo in hand just sitting and staring at the waves or watching the last rays of sun slowly sink before you.
Other places we would recommend staying … but we didn’t get around to this time
Other recommended blog posts for researching your trip:
- What to see and do in Puglia by Stylingyou
- 8 Towns not to miss in Puglia by Never Ending Voyage
- When all else fails mangia food tips from Puglia by the PlanetD