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How to cover Maratea, Monopoli, Lecce?

Explorer

New Member
My partner and I have had a several trips to Italy. We love coastal areas - we enjoy swimming and hiking/walking and day trips to other towns. Some of our favourite areas/towns include Amalfi, Tropea, Taormina, Cefalu,Lipari, Levanto and the Cinque Terre.

We will be visiting Italy in September this year, flying into Rome. Apart from Rome, we plan to explore new towns/areas. As we will not be driving, we need to choose areas/towns that are a good destination to visit and/or make a good base for exploring other areas. We have approximately 3 weeks in Italy.

Our draft itinerary is: Rome 2 nights, Maratea 5 nights, Scalea 3 nights, Monopoli 5 nights, Lecce 3 nights and a last night in Rome before we fly back home. I normally like staying at least 4 to 5 nights at a place and am not sure we are spacing this trip well and that our choices make sense.

The plan is to take a high speed train from Rome to Maratea and then from Scalea make our way to Monopoli. It seems like the trip from Scalea to Monopoli would take 6-7 hours depending on whether you use trains and a bus or just trains (Rome to Rio site). Does anyone know how reliable the public transport is to get from Scalea to Monopoli in mid September?

I have visited Matera on another Italy trip so I did not consider reaching Monopoli via Maratera as that would break up our travelling even more. Also, at the time, the public transport to and from Matera was a massive challenge. I am wondering if it is worth going to Monopoli and Lecce because it seems like a mission to reach these areas from Maratea/Scalea?

I'm wondering if we shouldn't just go to Tropea after Scalea because we loved Tropea and the beach there so much?

I also wondered if it would make sense to split the 8 nights after Rome between Maratea/Scalea and Tropea, and then to fly with one of the budget airlines from Lameze to Brindisi airport to reach Lecce? From there we could make our way to Monopoli by train and potentially fly from Bari back to Rome. Sometimes, flying can be a false economy of time as the transfer to and form the airport and the waiting period before flying can also 'steal' time.

We enjoy being active in nature and love having a swim at a beach every day in summer. Of course, we enjoy combining this with some day trips on some of our days in a town. Getting the balance right is tricky.

Also, I wondered if it was better to stay in Maratea's historical town and if we would be able to hike to the port and beaches from there or at least be able to easily access buses from the town to go to the port and explore nearby beaches.

We are both reasonably fit and can easily hike for 3 to 4 hours or even longer.

We had also considered visiting the area Vieste after we arrive in Rome but the public transport form Rome looked 'messy' as well. So we thought Maratea could work well.

On previous trips we loved Amalfi because it was an excellent base to swim, visit other towns and also to hike.I have visited that town and region several times. It was all very doable with public transport. I'm hoping Maratea and the other towns will also be good destinations for us. I'd appreciate your insights.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Pauline

Forums Admin
Hello! I added some paragraph breaks to your post to make it more readable. We also like to go hiking in Italy but you’ve been to more areas than we have. We’ve hiked on the Amalfi coast and from Levanto in Liguria.

I have not been to Maratea on the coast of Basilicata but @Valerie and @BryanS know that town well. Tagging them so they see this.

I don’t know Scalea and will describe the location for others who don’t know it - south of Maratea on the coast in Calabria.

I can see that those two places would be good to do together. And going on to Tropea further south in Calabria would be tempting because it would be easy transportation-wise.

I’ve not stayed in Monopoli in Puglia but have been in the area and the photos that I see of Monopoli are always beautiful.

If it were me, I would train and/or bus from the Calabria on the west coast to Monopoli on the east coast instead of flying. But you could fly from Puglia back to Rome for your flight to avoid another long train trip. Are the trains good from Puglia to Rome?

Valerie wrote a travel article about Maratea.

 

Ian Sutton

1000+ Posts
I wonder whether you could ease the transport logistics / length by keeping this to a west coast trip, using stops on the faster Frecciargento trains. Cilento might appeal greatly, with beaches, but also the inland national park. Salerno/Vietri sul mare might make a practical location to end up at, potentially avoiding the need for an overnight stop in Rome, using the fast trains from there via Napoli to Rome?

I did a quick look at the route of one such train, with timings, to give you an idea of options

Salerno
Fermata: Salerno
Partenza: 11:44
11:54
11:56

Battipaglia
Fermata: Battipaglia
Arrivo: 11:54
Partenza: 11:56
12:09
12:11

Agropoli-Castellabate
Fermata: Agropoli-Castellabate
Arrivo: 12:09
Partenza: 12:11
12:23
12:25

Vallo Della Lucania-Castelnuovo
Fermata: Vallo Della Lucania-Castelnuovo
Arrivo: 12:23
Partenza: 12:25
12:53
12:55

Sapri
Fermata: Sapri
Arrivo: 12:53
Partenza: 12:55
13:11
13:13

Scalea-S. Domenica Talao
Fermata: Scalea-S. Domenica Talao
Arrivo: 13:11
Partenza: 13:13
13:45
13:48

Paola
Fermata: Paola
Arrivo: 13:45
Partenza: 13:48
14:18
14:21

Lamezia Terme Centrale
Fermata: Lamezia Terme Centrale
Arrivo: 14:18
Partenza: 14:21
14:39
14:41

Vibo Valentia-Pizzo
Fermata: Vibo Valentia-Pizzo
Arrivo: 14:39
Partenza: 14:41
14:55

Rosarno
 

Explorer

New Member
Hello! I added some paragraph breaks to your post to make it more readable. We also like to go hiking in Italy but you’ve been to more areas than we have. We’ve hiked on the Amalfi coast and from Levanto in Liguria.

I have not been to Maratea on the coast of Basilicata but @Valerie and @BryanS know that town well. Tagging them so they see this.

I don’t know Scalea and will describe the location for others who don’t know it - south of Maratea on the coast in Calabria.

I can see that those two places would be good to do together. And going on to Tropea further south in Calabria would be tempting because it would be easy transportation-wise.

I’ve not stayed in Monopoli in Puglia but have been in the area and the photos that I see of Monopoli are always beautiful.

If it were me, I would train and/or bus from the Calabria on the west coast to Monopoli on the east coast instead of flying. But you could fly from Puglia back to Rome for your flight to avoid another long train trip. Are the trains good from Puglia to Rome?

Valerie wrote a travel article about Maratea.

Many thanks for your insights. I will do some more exploring. I loved Valerie's article.
 

Explorer

New Member
I wonder whether you could ease the transport logistics / length by keeping this to a west coast trip, using stops on the faster Frecciargento trains. Cilento might appeal greatly, with beaches, but also the inland national park. Salerno/Vietri sul mare might make a practical location to end up at, potentially avoiding the need for an overnight stop in Rome, using the fast trains from there via Napoli to Rome?

I did a quick look at the route of one such train, with timings, to give you an idea of options

Salerno
Fermata: Salerno
Partenza: 11:44
11:54
11:56

Battipaglia
Fermata: Battipaglia
Arrivo: 11:54
Partenza: 11:56
12:09
12:11

Agropoli-Castellabate
Fermata: Agropoli-Castellabate
Arrivo: 12:09
Partenza: 12:11
12:23
12:25

Vallo Della Lucania-Castelnuovo
Fermata: Vallo Della Lucania-Castelnuovo
Arrivo: 12:23
Partenza: 12:25
12:53
12:55

Sapri
Fermata: Sapri
Arrivo: 12:53
Partenza: 12:55
13:11
13:13

Scalea-S. Domenica Talao
Fermata: Scalea-S. Domenica Talao
Arrivo: 13:11
Partenza: 13:13
13:45
13:48

Paola
Fermata: Paola
Arrivo: 13:45
Partenza: 13:48
14:18
14:21

Lamezia Terme Centrale
Fermata: Lamezia Terme Centrale
Arrivo: 14:18
Partenza: 14:21
14:39
14:41

Vibo Valentia-Pizzo
Fermata: Vibo Valentia-Pizzo
Arrivo: 14:39
Partenza: 14:41
14:55

Rosarno
Many thanks for your suggestions. I'll do some research on these options.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

NoSpin

100+ Posts
You might like this travel guide, I can personally recommend it.

 

Mary Hanson

New Member
Living in Puglia all I can say is that is an extremely convoluted itinerary You go 3/4 of the way across Italy to Matera (assuming no typo) come back to the west coast and then back the entire width to hit Monopoly.
My advice is edit. Pick the heel or the Toe and spend your vacation there. On the toe I would suggest adding Paestum and the Greek ruins. Beaches; there are several in the agropoli area that are gorgeous but would require a car to access. Farther north but close would be Sorrento.
In the heel (AKA Puglia) you have Matera on your way to the west side of the heel with the estuary at Santa Maria de Leuca and it's year round flock of wild flamingoes. The museum there is a record of how 39,000 death camp survivors were placed in Lecce and surrounding area as the camps were liberated. Few jews are left in the area as almost all went to Israel. Gallipoli is a beautiful city. The beaches and water will be warmer than in the west side. From Gallipoli there is a bus to Lecce with its amazing baroque architecture . A local bus takes you to Otranto (30 min 2 50€) head back to Lecce and grab the train up the east coast. I personally prefer Polignano al Mare to Monopoly. The train from Bari to Lecce is frequent and reliable with stops along the way
 

NoSpin

100+ Posts
I personally prefer Polignano al Mare to Monopoly.
Interesting to hear a local say that. In September we are going to spend 4 days at San Michelle Suite. I just selected it by looking at Trip Advisor reviews.

We are going to the area because my mother's parents came from Giovinazzo and my father's from Terlizzi. I was there for a few hours in 1997, but I wanted take some time to explore.

If you have any other suggestions for the area, I'm all ears!
 

Mary Hanson

New Member
On the west side I LOVE Castellabate. Truly a gorgeous town. Only reason we are not living there is I couldn't find a realtor to show me houses.
Inland is Ostuni, the white city.
 

Tina

10+ Posts
Hi No spin,
There are so many beautiful places on the coast north and south of Bari that's difficult to choose which is nicest. My favourites are Giovinazzo which you can read about here https://slowtravelitalyspain.blogspot.com/2020/12/october-2020-trani-bitonto-and.html
and Trani which is probably my favourite town in Italy for the Cathedral by the sea, the harbour, the Villa Comunale park, the historical centre, the fact there are local tourists (we usually go out of season)
Here there's a trip report about a week in Bari using public transport with links to other pages.
Puglia is fantastic (NB I'm talking about low season, I wouldn't fancy the hordes in June/July/August)
If you have any questions try me, we've been for a total of 11 weeks in the last 4/5 years!
If you're in Polignano, Valle d'Itria is worth seeing too, I've just got back so it's not on my blog yet. Apart from Alberobello, Locorotondo, Martina Franca and Cisternino are all worth seeing.
 

Explorer

New Member
Living in Puglia all I can say is that is an extremely convoluted itinerary You go 3/4 of the way across Italy to Matera (assuming no typo) come back to the west coast and then back the entire width to hit Monopoly.
My advice is edit. Pick the heel or the Toe and spend your vacation there. On the toe I would suggest adding Paestum and the Greek ruins. Beaches; there are several in the agropoli area that are gorgeous but would require a car to access. Farther north but close would be Sorrento.
In the heel (AKA Puglia) you have Matera on your way to the west side of the heel with the estuary at Santa Maria de Leuca and it's year round flock of wild flamingoes. The museum there is a record of how 39,000 death camp survivors were placed in Lecce and surrounding area as the camps were liberated. Few jews are left in the area as almost all went to Israel. Gallipoli is a beautiful city. The beaches and water will be warmer than in the west side. From Gallipoli there is a bus to Lecce with its amazing baroque architecture . A local bus takes you to Otranto (30 min 2 50€) head back to Lecce and grab the train up the east coast. I personally prefer Polignano al Mare to Monopoly. The train from Bari to Lecce is frequent and reliable with stops along the way
Many thanks lot of great ideas here!
 

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