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One Week in Ostuni, Puglia, in April

Pauline

Forums Admin
We spending a week in mid-April in Ostuni. We have not been to Puglia before and I would like some recommendations of things to do. I posted about my trip planning on this thread.

Amy wrote about her Ostuni trip her blog, so I am getting some advice there.

One place she went that I want to go to is the Dolmen of Montalbano. From Amy's blog: "A short drive from Ostuni is the town of Montalbano near Fasano (corrected), and the “blink and you’ll miss it” sign pointing to the Dolmen of Montalbano. The small road leads to an even smaller one, and finally you turn down a stone-walled track barely wider than a Fiat Panda. And just off the road, in an abandoned olive grove, is a bronze age dolmen."
Bronze Age, 2000 - 1500 BC. I like these prehistoric dolmen and have seen then in England, Ireland and France, but not in Italy (or in Portugal, although we must have been very near the one we were searching for but didn't find).

We will spend a few days in Ostuni and the nearby seaside.
Another day finding the Trulli, which are near Alberbello from what I read - where are the best places to go for them?
The city of Lecce is just an hour from Ostuni, so we will have a day there.
Galipoli is 1hr 15min, so we may go there too, either the same day as Lecce or a different day.
It would be nice to do a walk/hike somewhere, other than walking in towns.

Recommendations?

We are spending the night in Matera after our week in Ostuni and then a few days in Basilicata.
 
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jonathan

100+ Posts
Amy had a slip of the fingers: the bigger town is Fasano. I've seen the road leading towards the dolmen, but so far (in 30(!) visits to Ostuni) we've never made it down there :blushing:

Lots of trulli in the fields by the very pretty road as you drive from Ostuni to Cisternino, and then on to Locorotondo and Alberobello - but Trulli Central, in Alberobello itself, is a bit of a tourist trap. Locorotondo's centro storico is the pick of the bunch.
 
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Roz

500+ Posts
We stayed in Ostuni for about a week in October a few years ago. I imagine that would be a similar time to April, as far as numbers of tourists go. I'm glad we saw Alberobello, even though it is, as Jonathan says, a bit of a tourist trap. The key thing was to arrive around 4 pm, when most of the tourist buses had gone. There were actually very few tourists on the street at that time. I enjoyed visiting the museum-house and walking through the streets full of trulli.
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Roz

500+ Posts
Hi, Pauline,

Here's a page from my website with a photo album of Sassi, Trulli, and White Cities.

We actually covered a lot of ground on that trip. We planned it around a villa we had won in a Slow Trav contest (remember those??) in Perdifumo, Campania. But we called it our "Hip to Toe" trip because we started in Piemonte and made our way south. Here's an overview: Italy 2008.
 

Roz

500+ Posts
P.S. In looking back at my trip journal (I didn't write a report on that trip) I realized that we also, while in Ostuni, visited the cities of Bari, Lecce and Galatina, plus Egnazio, with extensive Roman excavations. Somehow I never got around to posting pictures from any of those places, although I did take some. I guess they weren't as photogenic as the white cities.

Now you've inspired me, Pauline. My journal is such a mess of scribbles, that I think I will try to transcribe it into something legible so I can read it more easily. I do like looking back and recalling the places we visited.
 

Diva

New Member
i just took a group down to puglia for a 10 day program. We based ourselves at a farmhouse stay which was trulli, just outside of Alberobello. It is nice to see the whole town, made of trulli, but was much more facinated by the ones in the farmlands around, especially the abandoned ones. I adored Martina Franca,which is not visited a lot. But for me, one of the highlights was an overnight trip to Matera. only an hour or so away. We chose to spend the night and enjoy it lit up! facinating. Do take a walking tour of the town, to really understand. We also took the apitour in matera and the rickshaw tour in bari which were a fun way to tour. food was great. this was my 4th trip down to puglia, it is getting better and better. more choices on where to stay.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
Topping this thread because we leave in two weeks!!

@jonathan - do you have any restaurant recommendations for us in Ostuni? A good pizza place and a restaurant where Steve can get fresh fish and I can get something vegetarian. Also, what about food shops - do you have a favorite?

The owners of the vacation rental we are staying in sent me a lot of information and I will go through that this week.
 

Ann

100+ Posts
Hi Pauline. Our favorite restaurant in Ostuni was recommended by Jonathan years ago ('98, I think) -- La Piazzetta Cattedrale, http://www.piazzettacattedrale.it/en/. Vegetarian pasta dishes for you and fresh fish for Steve shouldn't be a problem. Maybe Jonathan can confirm that it's as good as it used to be. Have a great trip.
 

jonathan

100+ Posts
Not quite as long ago as 98, Ann! That was before P and I had actually been to Italy together: we were still mostly holidaying in France. But we did first eat at Osteria Piazzetta Cattedrale in 04, and have eaten there many, many times since.

It's still just as good - and (like most places in Italy) if you popped in there the day before, they would certainly have vegetarian & fishy dishes available for you. Cheaper and slightly less formal than Ptta Catt is Osteria Monacelle, also up in the Centro Storico - really good food, reasonably priced.

Pizzerias: up in the CS, Il Posto Affianco & Pozzo dei Desideri (near each other: same ownership) are good, as is Vispa Teresa, almost next door to Monacelle.

Local specialities are often vegetarian: Orecchiette con cima di rape is great (though beware: sometimes they put anchovies in the rape (= turnip tops) mixture - ask for senza acciughe to be sure). And one of my favourites is Purea di fave served with vegetables (often cicoria, though depends on the season, of course). (Didn't I cook this for you here once?)

Angela's shopping recommendations are pretty good. That local shop she mentions (Rosanna's) is tiny, but well stocked, and a very close walk from yours (and ours). Iper Simply is the best supermarket, but is one to visit with the car; the smaller Simply in Viale Pola is much closer, and the best of the closer ones. Do go to Forno 31, to see the wonderful old wood-fired oven; their bread and focaccie are excellent. Up at the top of Corso Cavour by the war memorial is Fruttivendolo del Monumento, as mentioned by Angela, where we buy most of our veg - apart from Saturday, when a visit to the market is an absolute must. When Judith (in Umbria) first visited Ostuni's market, she couldn't stop raving about the quality, range and value of the fruits & veg...

That's enough for now! If there are any major updates, I'll post from Ostuni next week :dork:
 

Ann

100+ Posts
You're right, of course, Jonathan -- we went to Puglia in '08. And to Sicily in '98. Hard to keep the dates straight! Have a wonderful stay in Ostuni -- we're off to Paris and Puy l'Eveque in the Lot River valley soon, and I'm sure we'll head an hour north to return to La Belle Etoile!
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
... we're off to Paris and Puy l'Eveque in the Lot River valley soon, and I'm sure we'll head an hour north to return to La Belle Etoile! ...
The Lot is at the top of my list for a trip, but somehow I ended up booking Italy instead this year. I look forward to hearing all the details (and let us know if you found a good vacation rental).
 

Ann

100+ Posts
We've spent a lot of time in the Dordogne, Pauline, and also some time in the Aveyron, Tarn, and northern Lot. I think the southwest is probably our favorite part of France, although northern Provence around Sablet and Vaison-la-Romaine is right up there at the top too. I was inspired by Dana Facaros to stay in Puy l'Eveque, and through her we found this place: http://www.labrise.co.uk/lang/en/index.php. Friends of theirs from Tennessee (my home) had stayed there, and I corresponded with them and decided it looked perfect for us. The owner, Edwina, actually recommended the smaller apartment, Papillon, so we'll be there almost 2 weeks at the beginning of May, after 10 days in Paris.
Have a wonderful trip to Italy -- I think you'll love Ostuni and surrounding area.
 

Valerie

100+ Posts
Alessandra at the inn you'll be staying at can give you a guided tour of the Sassi in English, if you'd like. She just needs a few days notice to set it up. She does a really good tour. But even without that, she'll take you down into their cistern area under the rooms, which is incredible to see!
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
I just realized it is a week and a half until we leave on this trip. How did that happen? I ordered Christ Stopped at Eboli - The Story of a Year for the Kindle so we can both read it and ordered the TCI South road atlas and a book about Matera. It is amazing how a trip can sneak up on you!
 

jonathan

100+ Posts
I know what you mean - this past fortnight has been really busy with concerts, and our flight leaves at 7.30 tomorrow morning! (From Heathrow T4, a new one for us) Only 5 days, though, and we've got plenty of what we need there already... We'll take notes of any interesting Ostuni novelties, and post here.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
Have a great trip @jonathan and let me know what the weather is like.

Maybe you could hide a note for me somewhere, like tucked into a stone wall in the main piazza. That would be fun!
 

jonathan

100+ Posts
Well, we had a tiny bit of snow in Ostuni 2 days ago :eek:. And evening temperatures are low - 8-10C now (was as low as 4 at the beginning of the week). We've never known it so cold at Easter! But the good news is that temperatures are definitely on the up - too late for us, though... Today's sky was brilliant blue throughout, but still only around 14 max.

We had a before-supper prosecco in your house last night! Not La Terrazza, though - the smallest one, where our friends Kate & Nick (Lower St) are staying: their little place in the country is too cold at the moment, so they're gardening there by day and sleeping in Ostuni by night.

There's a nice new food shop with a good range of fruit & veg, and cheese, run by one of the local agricultural cooperatives, in via Martiri di Kindu, just up the side of the little square park, less than 5' walk away. Bigger range than at Rosanna's nice little corner shop (which isn't actually on a corner...), but more personal than the supermarkets.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
Here's a page from my website with a photo album of Sassi, Trulli, and White Cities. ... But we called it our "Hip to Toe" trip because we started in Piemonte and made our way south. Here's an overview: Italy 2008.
Great photos Roz! I took notes and will visit those other white cities too. (When you posted this in January we were dealing with our very sick cat and I lost my focus on the Puglia topic.)
 

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