Puglia, Italy

Puglia, Italy

I traveled to Puglia this past November with my worldwide traveling buddies BethAnn and Laurel. I would love to see this region in the summer, but the benefit of the off-season is no crowds, and we found exploring the boot of Italy easy! At the top of this video are two of my favorite all-time food stops in Altamura, a small town between Matera and Bari.

Altamura D.O.P. Bread 

If you visit Puglia, you must visit Matera, and after visiting Matera, go straight to Altamura. Forno Antico S. Chiara’s oven dates back to 1423, and their Altamura D.O.P. Bread is amazing. I will never forget the focaccia spread. After gorging at the bakery, we made our way to Caseificio Dicecca for a cheese sampling from this fourth-generation shop that produces over 300 cheeses sold in the shop. The sisters were incredibly friendly and generous with their homemade cheese samplings. 
 

Forno Antico S. Chiara’s Foccacia

Forno Antico S. Chiara Oven since 1423

Caseificio Dicecca, Best Cheesemakers in puglia

Maristella 4th Generation Caseificio Dicecca

Matera, Italy

Matera is jaw-dropping, and I would have loved to explore the Sassi di Matera more. Fodor’s Guide describes it as one of the most interesting landscapes in Europe. The Sassi of Matera is a complex network of ancient cave dwellings carved into the limestone cliffs of the Gravina River gorge. These dwellings, dating back thousands of years, feature a unique architectural style where homes, churches, and other structures are seamlessly integrated into the natural rock formations. Today, the Sassi are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. We only had a few hours in Matera, and I was sorry I had no time to explore it. I recommend spending a few days in Matera.

Sassi di matera

Matera

Alborobello Trulli Rooftops

Alborobello was our home base in Puglia. We stayed in a charming Trulli house. This town may get overrun in the high season, but in November, the town was very quiet. Pay the nominal fees in the gift shops to visit their rooftop vistas for incredible views of Alborobello. Most shops had rooftop access.

Alborobello, Italy

Alborobello, Italy

Basilica of Santa Croce, Lecce

Piazza del Duomo, Lecce

We took a day trip to Lecce, the Florence of the South. Lecce has stunning Baroque architecture and is a must-visit city in Puglia. The local bar (cafe) recommended visiting a local restaurant, Osteria da Angiulino, which specializes in horsemeat and local specialties. We appeared to be the only tourists in the packed, bustling restaurant at lunch.  We met friendly residents, and the food was incredible. Visit if you find yourself in Lecce! We also drove to Gallipoli, but in November, this town was shut down, so we drove in and quickly left.

Parmigiana di melanzane

Eggplant parmigiana (fried eggplant with tomato sauce, mozzarella bolled egg, mortadella and horse meatballs)

Orecchiette with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese

Mashed fava beans and chicory

Pasticciotto cake

Typical Lecce dessert with cream and cherry

Monopoli

Monopoli

After clothes shopping in Alberobello’s weekly Thursday outdoor market, we took a day trip to Ostuni, Polignano a Mare, and Monopoli. The Puglia region produces 40% of the olive oil in Italy. Driving by fields of olive trees and trulli houses makes this region uniquely beautiful. Ostuni is known as the “White City” since all the homes of this hillside town are whitewashed with limestone. Polignano a Mare and Monopoli are white cities against the beautiful Adriatic Sea. We stopped for lunch in a charming alley in Ostuni and stumbled into a wonderful seaside seafood restaurant in Monopoli.

Monopoli, PUglia Italy

Baby Monkfish

cold seafood 

cavatelli with clams, shrimp and calamari

Ostuni 

Ostuni

ostuni

Ostuni City Walls

While in Puglia, we rented a car and found the roads easy to navigate! We arrived in Puglia via train from Rome and left via Bari International Airport to Stockholm! Why Stockholm? We like to maximize our budget and found a reasonable flight from Bari that connected to Stockholm before returning to the States. So, stay tuned for a quick 24 hours in Stockholm.