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If you're looking for a slower pace of life, good food, and somewhere you constantly feel like you're on a movie set from 100 years ago, Puglia is for you.
Puglia is a place where you can relax and not feel guilty for it. There was something refreshing about waking up in the morning, having my tea and not having anything planned for the day, but roaming the beautiful cities within Apulia.
As you drive through Puglia you will be surrounded by lush fields of olive trees, vineyard vines and the occasional cow on the beautiful masseria's across the region.
I flew from Rome to Bari and rented a car in Bari. You can also fly into Brindisi. Whatever is easier for you. Getting around by car was the best decision I made on this trip. You can take trains & buses, but having the freedom of getting in the car and driving wherever you want was amazing. I rented an economy car with insurance for $429.34 for 10 days (with the thought that is would be small enough to get around the tiny streets of Puglia & still be able to fit our two huge suitcases) I was supposed to get a 4-door sedan Audi....casual. I ended up getting a brand new Jeep Cherokee...also casual. Both cars are better than the one I have at home. I don't recommend getting an SUV, they are fine to drive on most streets & highways, but getting through the small towns & parking is a tad difficult at times.
(side note: people drive insane on the highway, it's as if lines don't exist and when you are merging on the highway slow down and merge when there is an opening, don't expect someone will move over for you-also if the speed limit says 90kmh chances are everyone around you will be going 150 or 40....there is no in-between.)
Just like most places when traveling you will need a credit card with a PIN. Just call your credit card company and get one set up.
For 10 days we spent around $200 USD on gas. We got the car with a full tank, barely filled up all the way on the road once and then we had to drop the car off at 4:00am so we opted to have the rental company fill it up (I don't recommend doing this because sometimes they charge more, but sometimes you don't have an option) We dropped the car off pretty damn empty, just drive that baby around and get your money's worth. You pay for gas by the liter here and it's diesel- so it's pricey...and noisy. Expect to pay around 90-100 euro to fill up your car. Some gas stations are full service so you just pull up and they pump your gas for you, if not they are self service and you can pay at the machine, put in your PIN and pump number and you're good to go.
I feel like it's hard to go wrong with anywhere you eat here. There is plenty of bread, pasta, wine and Taralli to go around...did i say bread?- but Puglia is known for their fresh seafood, fresh produce, and olive oil. More specially known for Frisella, Taralli, Orecchiette, Baccalà alla salentina, Sott’olio, & Pasticciotto.
I'm not sure how normal it is, but I feel like most places we dined we were served a 67 course meal. I went home every night so freaking full i needed to be rolled around and deflated before bed.
Here are some of my favorite places we ate:
-Ristorante Pentole e Provette-
(truly this was a 15 course meal, I don't know if they do this every night with every table, but I'm not complaining. I ordered the beef cheek and it was one of the best meals i've ever had.)
-Taverna del Porto-
(when we arrived at our beautiful masseria we asked our host where they recommended we ate and they mentioned this place. it was an hour drive from our masseria and we were hangry, but it was worth the drive for one of the most beautiful views I have ever seen while eating. Our host called ahead and booked us a table upstairs. I recommend booking ahead and asking if you can sit upstairs by the windows)
The rest of our time in Otranto we actually ended up eating at our Masseria for 2 nights. Filled with homemade food, good company, music and laughs.
(gelato. i don't really need to explain. I got pistacchio.)
-Ristorante La Vinaigrette-
(i recommend the gnocchi here)
-Ristorante Le Tre Sorelle-
(we were told they have really good pizza and our host was not wrong. probably the best pizza we had the entire time in puglia. I wish i could remember the name of it, but it was a white pesto pizza)
(another place our host suggested for us to try. we were told this is an authentic italian breakfast to order a pasticciotto & cappuccino)
Here is where we did a cooking class and I suggest you book this exact one... months in advance. It was truly one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever had. This was my first time doing airbnb experiences and it exceeded my expectations, you can read my review here and book through airbnb on the link below.
(a beautiful farm you can pick fresh lemons for your tea in the morning & get fresh produce next door for the morning)
(this is where I imagine people die and go to heaven)
(the rooftop is perfect for drinking wine & watching the sunset over the ocean)
I was in Puglia April 1-12. This is their Spring season- apparently the best season to come. It was cool when I was there around 50-60 Fahrenheit , but typically it's around 60-70 Fahrenheit mid April. Everything is so green and lush and there were just a few Italian tourists visiting for the weekend. We were told multiple times we came at the best time of the year and if you come mid Summer you will be swarmed with tourists, hot weather and dead grass.
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