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Puglia, Calabria, Basilicata


Also known in English as "Apulia," this region forms the "heel" of Italy's boot, and is known for its wild landscape, the Castel del Monte (a 13th Century octagonal fortress that appears on Italian 1-euro-cent coins), interesting trulli houses in Alberobello, and the town of Lecce (the "Florence of the South" due to its splendid Baroque architecture).  Bari and Brindisi are also frequent departure points for Greece and other Eastern Mediterranean destinations.

Puglia features pristine beaches, including the most amazing at the "tip of the heel" in Santa Maria di Leuca.  The region produces some of the best olive oil in Italy, and does excellent things with seafood.  Consider staying at a masseria, a fortified country farmhouse (similar to an agriturismo; see this Frommer's article on masserie).  Also try out the excellent wines such as Primitivo di Manduria, the region's flagship red wine,  Nero di Troia, a rich red wine, and others such as Negroamaro, Salice Salentino, and Malvasia.

Trulli Country

The Valle d'Itria (Itria Valley) between Putignano and Martina Franca has a number of conical-shaped buildings known as trulli.  You will see them throughout the valley, in particular along a scenic drive through the farmland (punctuated by various trulli along the way) recommended by Frommer's: Alberobello on Hwy 604 to Locorotondo, then Hwy 172 to Martina Franca, then Cisternino, then Ostuni.  Also check out the Valle d'Itria Music Festival each summer.

  • Alberobello - this town has the most trulli, packed densely onto a hillside.  The main trullo part of the town has become over-run with tourists, but some more residential areas are quieter and more characteristic:  for example, Frommer's recommends crossing Largo Martellotta to check out the more residential area near Piazza M. Pagano...behind Piazza 27 Maggio through Piazza Plebiscito to the Aia Piccola district.
    • Where to Stay
    • Where to Eat
      • L'Aratro - via Monte San Michele 25/29, 080-432-2789, restaurant in trulli (although outdoor seating also available), homemade pastas, excellent wine list, ~€25-45, €15-35 fixed menus, rec'd by Fodor's, Panorama, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia (still in 2017), Espresso, Michelin (still in 2017), and TCI!
      • La Cantina - vico Lippolis 9 (at Corso Vittorio Emmanuele) 080-432-3473, 347-740-1588, closed Tues, owner Francesco Lippolis welcomes you with great, seasonal meat dishes; good house wine, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia (still in 2017), Mangiarozzo, and TCI.
      • La Fontana 1914 - Largo Martellotta 55, 380-369-6969, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2017, who recommend the lamb, sausage, and sweetbreads
      • Poeta Contadino - via Indipendenza 21, 080-432-1917, closed Mon, expensive but good restaurant, ~€70, rec'd by Panorama, Gambero Rosso, Espresso, Veronelli, Michelin, TCI, Cadogan, Fodor's and Frommer's
      • Trullo d'Oro - via Felippe Cavallotti 27, 080-432-3909, closed Sun eve, Mon, in old trulli, local dishes with a creative flair, good desserts and wine list, rec'd by Michelin (still in 2017), TCI, Cadogan, Fodor's (not anymore in 2017) and Frommer's.
      • Gli Ulivi - Contrada Popoleto 15 (exit town towards Putignano, make R after bridge), 080-432-3796, closed Wed except July/Aug, inexpensive local-only spot rec'd by Fodor's (not anymore in 2017), Mangiarozzo.
      • ?? no longer rec'd?
        • [Sciarabà at Hotel Colle del Sole - via Indipendenza 63, 080-432-1814, beautiful pergola and local specialities like orecchiette pasta with turnips and country-style cavatelli pasta with tomatoes and arugala, also rents rooms, was rec'd by Michelin but not anymore in 2017]
        • [Hotel Astoria - viale Bari 1, 080-432-3320, convenient to the train station, Pugliese cusine but also international dishes, ~€40 with €22 fixed menu, was rec'd by Michelin but not anymore in 2017]
        • Trattoria da Donato - Via Turi 98 in Coreggia (just NE of downtown Alborobello), 080-432-4539, a simple place with Bari specialities, especially meats such as beef steak on a hot plate, ~€20-25
        • Cucina dei Trulli - Piazza Ferdinando IV 30, 080-432-1511, inexpensive family-run place rec'd by Cadogan, associated with hotel Lanzillotta.
      • in Noci (~15 min W of Alberobello):
        • L'Antica Locanda - via Spirito Santo 49, 080-497-2460, closed Sun eve, Tues, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia (still in 2017), Michelin (still in 2017), TCI, Mangiarozzo, Dissapore
        • Il Falco Pellegrino - rec'd Michelin 2017
        • Domenico Scarano -  Via Vittorio Emanuele 15, 080-497-7315, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2017...a butcher shop that also sells prepared food; only open Wednesday & Friday but also Tues/Thurs/Sat by appointment (?)
        • Agriturismo le Casedde -  rec'd by Mangiarozzo
      • in Putignano: Botteghe Antiche - rec'd Dissapore
  • Locorotondo - whitewashed city known for its wine (at the Cantina del Locorotondo, via Madonna della Catena 99, 080-431-1644, 080-431-1298, ask for Oronzo Mastro).
    • La Taverna del Duca - via Papatodero 3, 080-431-3007, closed Sun eve, everything is fresh and good in this former palace, homemade desserts, ~€20-22, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia (still in 2017) and TCI.
    • I Piaceri della Carne - Traversa Maestro Curri 68, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2017
    • Da Nicola Semeraro - Contrada Lamie Olimpie 217 (or 189?), rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2017
    • Trattoria Centro Storico (di Loparco Giovanni) - via Eroi di Dogali 6, 080-431-5473, closed Wed, intimate trattoria with carefully prepared food, ~€25, rec'd by Cadogan, Michelin (still in 2017), Mangiarozzo, and TCI.
    • Casa Mia, via Cisternino on the way to Ostuni, 080-431-1218, Cadogan rec's the stuffed peppers and corniglio al forno at this inexpensive place.
  • Martina Franca - medieval and baroque hilltown, rec'd by Fred Plotkin as the "classic town" for Puglia
  • Cisternino -

    Trullo House near Cisternino
    between Locorotondo and Ostuni, less touristy than the other trullo towns, but which was selected as one of the "most beautiful small towns in Italy has a beautiful centro storico (historic center) which is fun to walk around.
    • Where to Stay
      • Recommended B&B: Trullo Sovrano Exclusive B&B, Via Giaconecchia 14, 080-204-8783, 348-405-8508, which has some trulli, as well as other spacious rooms in a beautiful oasis a few minutes from Cisternino, nice outdoor pool, Michele cooks up a wonderful breakfast
      • Another trullo B&B is Antica Aia
    • Where to Eat
      • Cisternino is known for its "fornelli pronti" (butcher's shops connected to grills) serving up such dishes as "bombette" (roasted pork meatballs), including:
        • Al Vecchio Fornello - via Basilioni 18, 080-444-6431, rec'd Lonely Planet, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2017, just outside one of the entrances to the centro storico
        • Rosticceria da Zio Pietro (di Mola) - via Duca d'Aosta 3, 080-444-8300, rec'd Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2017
        • Rosticceria L'Antico Borgo - via Tarantini 9, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2017
        • Macelleria de Mola Vincenzo/Arrosteria del Vicoletto - 2 Via Giulio II, in the centro storico, 080-444-8063, rec'd Lonely Planet and others
      • Taverana della Torre - via S. Quirico 3, 080-444-9264, closed Tues, next to a medieval tower, serves up traditional recipes made with fresh ingredients, homemade pasta, don't miss the outstanding appetizers, ~€25-30, ~€22-28 fixed price, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia (still in 2017), Gambero Rosso, etc.
      • ??
        • Il Capriccio - via Monte Cutetto 25, in Caranna, north of downtown Cisternino, 080-444-2553, closed Mon lunch, Wed simple trattoria with ample portions of sea and land food, ~€20-25, rec'd by TCI.
        • La Botte - via Santa Lucia 47, tucked into the corner at one of the entrances to the centro storico, 080-444-7850, 347-854-7227, closed Thurs, Puglia specialties, homemade pasta, ~€20-30, €15 fixed price menu
        • Osteria Sant'Anna - viale Stazione 12, 080-444-7036, closed Mon, 4 generations have cooked in this restaurant; the current chef (Peppino) makes various local specialties, ~€35, rec'd by Espresso and Veronelli.
        • Hosteria Bella Italia - via Duca d'Aosta 29, 080-444-9036, closed Wed, rec'd by Lonely Planet
        • Il Cucco - Corso Umberto I 137, 080-444-9064, closed Tues, rec'd by Lonely Planet...also a good place to taste wine
  • Ostuni - "the white city" just east of Alberobello...ancient olive trees are in Torre Guaceto, a little ways east.
    • Where to Stay
      • Frommer's rec's staying in the Trulli of Masseria Cappuccini, Corsa da Cappuccini, 333-412-0241, includes a pool, cheap
      • Tre Torri, Corso Emmanuele 298, 083-133-1114, Cadogan and Fodor's rec'd this inexpensive hotel.
    • Where to Eat
      • ## Osteria del Tempo Perso via Gaetano Tanzarella Vitale 47, 083-130-4819/3320, 339-185-1652, 393-934-0556, closed Mon (except August), June-Sept dinner only except Sundays, in the centro storico, Teo Carlucci cooks up delicious suprises, ~€40, is highly rec'd, including this blog post, Gambero Rosso, Veronelli, Michelin (still in 2017), TCI, Frommer's, Mangiarozzo, and Fodor's.
      • ***-->  Masseria Il Frantoio, via Bixio Continelli 54/64 (SS16 Km 874), 083-130-1402, closed Mon, agriturismo/masseria with great reviews and cool underground excavations; 5 types of homemade olive oil, food made from organic products of the agriturismo, €53 fixed price menu, must reserve ahead.  rec'd by Slow Travel readers, also see this blog entry. We stayed here in 2012 and really enjoyed it. The owner is a hilarious free spirit, and the food is outstanding.
      • Al Solito Posto - via Braico 37, 083-130-5850, closed Tues, nice restaurant/pizzeria with ample portions, ~€30-35, rec'd by Alice.
      • Lamiola Piccola - Contrada Lamiola Piccola, 083-135-9972, closed Mon, agriturismo/masseria run by the Petrella family, fresh seasonal food from the property, they have a hot tub!, ~€35, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia (not anymore in 2017), Veronelli.
      • Masseria Refrigerio - Contrada Refrigerio, 083-133-0424, only dinner/Sun lunch in low season, rustic puglia food, with good local wine, ~€20-25, rec'd by Alice.
      • Masserie Rienzo - Contrada Rienzo 8, 083-130-4548, only dinner Apr-Oct, ~€30, must reserve ahead, relaxing locale for local Pugliese food, rec'd by Alice.
      • Odissea - via Oronzo Quaranta, 083-133-4750, 349-095-6520, in an old monestary, creative Puglia food, ~€35-40, rec'd by Veronelli.
      • Osteria Piazzetta Cattedrale - Via Arcidiacono Trinchera 7, 083-133-5026, re'cd by Espresso, Michelin (Bib Gourmand 2017), Mangiarozzo and TCI.
      • Rest Club Spessite - via Brancasi 43, 083-130-2866, 338-975-8612, rec'd by Alice, Mangiarozzo
      • Porta Nova - rec'd by Michelin 2017
      • Haute cuisine/fancy:
      • Outside town:
        • ## Al Fornello Da Ricci 7 miles south of Ostuni in Ceglie Messsapica, Contrada Montevicoli, 083-137-7104, closed Mon eve (& Sun eve except summer), Tues, expensive (~€55-60, ~€50-60 fixed price menus) but great restaurant known for innovative but traditional cooking, rec'd by Cadogan (who calls it "an absolute must for foodies interested in Puglian cuisine"), panorama, Gambero Rosso, Esprsso, Veronelli, Michelin, TCI, and Fodor's.
        • ## Cibus - also in Ceglie Messapica (7 miles S of Ostuni), via Chianche di Scaranno 7, 083-138-8980, closed Tues, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, (still in 2017) Espresso, Michelin, TCI, and Mangiarozzo ~€35-40
        • ***Bar Gelateria Del Corso di Raffaele Carriero - in Ceglie Messapica, Corso Garibaldi 50, 368-730-1966, awesome gelato in what appears to be a random bar; was named one of the best gelaterie in Italy by Gambero Rosso --> NOTE: it looks like Raffaele passed away in 2015
        • Masseria Cantone - Contrada Fantese, on the road between Ostuni and Cisternino, 080-444-6902, everything is made on the property, open only for dinner, sunday lunch, or for groups of 15 or more, ~€30-45, rec'd by Panorama and TCI.
        • La Locanda di Nonna Mena - in San Vito dei Normanni (on road between Ostuni and Brindisi), via Edison 30, 349-672-4204, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia (still in 2017), ~€25-30.
        • Casale Ferrovia - in Carovigno, SE of Ostuni, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2017

Adriatic Coast

  • Trani - nice town on the coast near Andria (NW of Bari).  Let's Go rec's Tre Re, via Casale 58, 088-340-3328, good location, clean rooms as cheap as 16 euro and Centro Storico, via Leopardi 29, 088-350-6176, an inexpensive B&B with nice garden, which has been used in films.  Barletta, a little ways north, offers up Ristorante Antica Cucina 1983, via Milano 73, 088-352-1718, closed Mon/Tues, a highly recommended spot (rec'd by Mangiarozzo).
    • Eating in Trani
      • Corteinfiore - closed Sun eve, Mon, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Espresso, Mangiarozzo
      • Il Melograno - via Bovia 189, 088-348-6966, closed Wed, rec'd by Espresso, Michelin
      • Trattoria da Miana - via Sinagoga 54, 088-358-9794, closed Sun eve, Wed, Slow Travel reviewer said it was "[t]he most memorable meal of the whole holiday and probably of the whole year", rec'd by Alice
      • Taverna Portanova - Piazza Lambert 7, 088-350-8386, closed Tues, rec'd by Alice
      • Locanda Pesevenghi - rec'd by Mangiarozzo
    • Sights
      • Cannae - near Trani, the site where Hannibal routed the Roman army.
      • Castel del Monte is not far inland near the town of Andria on SS.170 bis; open 10-1:30, 2:30-7, a puzzling 13th Century octogonal castle built for reasons that are not entirely clear.  Bring a picnic lunch or stop off before/after, as the available food options are not good.
    • Nearby places to eat
      • ?? Trattoria Antichi Sapori - piazza Sant'Isidoro 7/12, in Montegrosso, near Andria, 088-346-9529, closed Mon, one of Mangiarozzo's "10 restaurants not to miss" in Italy, Dissapore
      • De la Poste Locanda - in Andria, via Bovio 49, 088-355-8655, closed Sun eve, Wed rec'd Gambero Rosso, Espresso, TCI
      • La Brace in Fravina - in Andria, Piazza Toniolo 3, 088-395-3231, closed Tues, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia
      • Il Turacciolo - in Andria, rec'd Dissapore
      • L'Osteria del Seminario - in Bisceglie, just S of Trani, rec'd by Mangiarozzo, corso umbero I 165, 080-399-1519, 320-701-3327, closed Sun eve, Tues
      • La Bottega dell'Allegria - in Corato, S of Trani, rec'd Dissapore
  • Castellana Grotte - a town just north of Alberobello, not far from Monopoli (see below), which features a huge cave.
    • Fontanina - on the road towards Alberobello, 080-496-8010, closed Mon, generous portions of traditional food, ~€30, rec'd by Cadogan and Espresso.
    • Taverna degli Artisti - via Matarrese 23, 080-486-8234, Cadogan rec's the cannelloni, lamb, and torcini.
  • Monopoli - don't pass Go; instead stop off in this seaport east of Alberobello with a nice historic district, between Bari and Brindisi.
    • La Mia Terra, Contrada Impalata 309, 080-690-0969, closed Mon, rec'd by Frommer's and Michelin.
    • Lido Bianco - via Procaccia 3, 080-887-6737, rec'd by Alice
    • Osteria Perricci - via Comes 1/3, 080-937-2208, rec'd by TCI, Mangiarozzo
    • Vigna del Mar - via Mazzini 25, 080-808-571, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Espresso, and Veronelli.
    • C'era una Vecchia Taverna - rec'd by Mangiarozzo
  • Polignano a Mare, just north of Monopoli, is a beautiful seaside town perched on cliffs that has good gelato such as Il Super Mago del Gelo.
    • Grotta Palazzese - via Narciso 49, 080-424-0677, closed Mon lunch, perhaps one of the most amazing (and expensive) hotel/restaurant locations in the world, as it is in a limestone cavern on the sea; rec'd by Gambero Rosso
    • Infermento - via Penna della galera 20, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, ~€35.
  • Bari - major town, embarkation point for many cruises.  A basilica in town contains the remains of San Nicola (Saint Nicholas, aka Santa Claus).
    • Al Focolare da Emilio - rec'd by Osterie d'Italia
    • Perbacco - rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, Dissapore
    • La Locanda di Federico - rec'd by Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, TCI
    • Alberosole - rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Espresso, TCI
    • Osteria Varvamigno - rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Espresso
    • Terranima - rec'd by Gambero Rosso, TCI
    • Ristorante al Pescatore - Piazza Federico II di Svevia 6, 080-523-7039, rec'd by Fodor's for seafood.
    • Osteria delle Travi "Il Buco" - rec'd by Mangiarozzo
    • Osteria Le Arpie - rec'd by Mangiarozzo
    • Trattoria Giulio Cesare - rec'd by Mangiarozzo
    • Il Canto dei Bischeri - Tuscan-style enoteca rec'd Dissapore
    • in Ruvo di Puglia (~45 min W of Bari):
      • ?? U.P.E.P.I.D.D.E. (stands for "Unico Posto Esclusivo Per Individui Di Doppia Esigenza", or "Only Exclusive Place for Individuals with Big Requirements" but actually "u pepidde" means a cute baby in the local dialect), vico Sant'Agnese 2, 080-361-3879, closed Mon, great food from the local area, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, Michelin, Mangiarozzo, and TCI; ~€35.
      • L'Angolo Divino - Corso Jatta 11, 080-362-8544, closed Mon, only dinner, rec'd Gambero Rosso, Espresso
  • Fasano - S of Monopoli, famous for the ZooSafari e Fasanolandia, which Americans call the "Bari Safari"
    • Masseria Parco di Castro, in Speziale (SE of Fasano on the way to Ostuni on SS16), 080-481-0944, closed Mon and Tues, open only for dinner, this agriturismo is rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia for excellent local food, ~€30.
  • Brindisi - the next major town south of Bari, see Jeff in Puglia's guide to gelato in Brindisi.
    • Pantagruelle - Salita di Ripalta 1/5, 083-156-0605, closed Sat morning, Sun, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Slow Food Osterie d'italia, Espresso, Michelin, TCI, Mangiarozzo.
  • Canosa di Puglia - town on road between Bari and Naples
    • Locanda di Nunno - via Balilla 2, 088-361-5096, closed Sun eve, Mon, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Slow Food Osterie d'italia, Espresso, TCI, Mangiarozzo.
    • Minvervino Murge is ~30 min south:
      • Casa Scesciola - closed Sun eve, Mon, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, TCI
      • ?? Masseria Barbera - closed Sun eve, Mon, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, DissaporeChowhound raves about Masseria Barbera in Minervino Murge and some other places near Trani/Andria
      • La Tradizione Cucina Casalinga - via Imbriani 11/13, 088-369-1690, closed Thurs, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, Michelin, Mangiarozzo, ~€25-30
    • Orsara di Puglia and Panni are also on road between Bari and Naples, ~45 min N of Candela
      • Peppe Zullo - via Piano Paradiso, Orsara di Puglia, 088-196-4763, closed Tues, lunch only, also rents 5 rooms, €35 fixed price menu, reserve ahead, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso
      • La Locanda di Pan alle Murge - via Castella a Levante, Panni, 088-196-5523, closed Tues, check out the view from their "castle" tower, €23-25 for everything (also €18 fixed price menu)
  • Gargano Peninsula - this "spur" to Italy's boot once was part of Croatia, which split off due to seismic shifts; it thus features a different look from the rest of Puglia (including lush forests).  Among its riches are San Giovanni Rotondo, a pilgrimage site for followers of Padre Pio, a relatively modern saint famous for having the stigmata.
    • Foggia - main town/provincial capital
      • Giordano da Pompeo - rec'd by Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, Michelin, TCI, Mangiarozzo
      • Zia Marinella - rec'd by Osterie d'Italia and Espresso
    • Lesina - N of Foggia and San Severo
    • Cerignola - 'U Vulesce - rec'd by Mangiarozzo
    • Lucera - Il Cortiletto - rec'd by Mangiarozzo
    • Monte Sant'Angelo
      • Medioevo - rec'd by Osterie d'Italia and Michelin
      • Taverna Li Jalantuùmene - rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Espresso, Michelin, TCI, Mangiarozzo
    • Manfredonia - Il Baracchio - rec'd by Osterie d'Italia, Mangiarozzo and TCI
    • Mattinata - seaside town in Foggia province (Gargano peninsula)
      • Masseria Liberatore rec'd by Osterie d'Italia
      • Trattoria dalla Nonna - rec'd by Fodor's, Mangiarozzo
    • Peschici - Porta di Basso, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Espresso, Michelin, TCI
    • San Severo - La Fossa del Grano, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Slow Food Osterie d'italia, Espresso, Michelin, TCI
    • San Giovanni Rotondo
      • Opus Wine, rec'd by Osterie d'Italia and Espresso
      • Fil & Max Taverna dei Pirgiani - rec'd by Mangiarozzo
      • Osteria Antica Piazzetta - rec'd by Mangiarozzo
    • Isola Tremiti - Isola San Nicola: Ristonrate Bar Architiello, Da Carolina - rec'd by Mangiarozzo
    • Vieste
      • Al Dragone - highly rec'd by Fodor's, Michelin, TCI
      • Capriccio - rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Espresso, TCI
      • Taverna Al Cantinone - rec'd by Mangiarozzo

Southern Puglia/Salento

The "Salento" region encompasses the very southern tip of the "heel", and includes some of the region's best beaches and serves up some of the best seafood.  While northern Puglia speaks a dialect similar to Neapolitan, in Salento the local dialect is "Salentino", more closely related to Sicilian (see this Salentino-Italian dictionary for a flavor).  The Greek influence in this region is also strong; there's even still a small community who speak a Greek dialect called Griko.
  • Lecce - provincial capital, famous for its extravagant baroque sandstone architecture.
    • Where to Eat
      • ***Trattoria Cucina Casareccia ("Le Zie") - via Colonnello Costadura 19, 083-224-5178, 12:30-2, 8-11, closed Sun eve and Mon, cheap food made by grandma—book early because it's popular, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, Michelin, TCI, Mangiarozzo, Fred Plotkin, Frommer's and Fodor's...Luke loved the surprisingly tender horsemeat, Liz liked the fava beans and chicory
      • ?Alle due Corti - Corte dei Giugni 1, at via Leonardo Prato 42, 083-224-2223, 083-239-7865, closed Sun, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Slow Travel, Mangiarozzo, Travel and Leisure and Fodor's, ~€25.
      • ?Osteria degli Spiriti - Via Cesare Battisti 4, 083-224-6274, closed Sun, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, Michelin, TCI, Fred Plotkin, Mangiarozzo, and Frommer's
      • Boccon Divino - Via Libertini 17, 083-230-9583, 10:30-2, 6-1, good Salento specialties, rec'd by Frommer's
      • Ristorante Villa G.C. della Monica - rec'd by Frommer's
      • Corte dei Pandolfi -, rec'd by Fodor's
      • Osteria della Divina Provvidenza - via Rubichi 4, 083-217-92078, 345-913-9431, rec'd by Mangiarozzo
      • Il Farmer's - good grocery store with products directly from farmers; see this blog post
      • Osteria del Pozzo Vecchio - in Cavallino, just S of Lecce, rec'd by Mangiarozzo
      • La Lanterna - in Martano, ~30 min S of Lecce, rec'd by Mangiarozzo
      • ***Gelato: Crem - viale Marconi at the corner of viale Lo Re (near eastern edge of centro storico), the best gelato in town...and the absolute best chocolate sorbetto we've ever had!
    • Where to Stay
      • books B&Bs around town
      • ***L'Orangerie d'Epoque - don't let the French name fool you; this is a ridiculously cute Italian B&B, where you stay in their beautiful mansion with a courtyard, just a block from the centro storico
      • Chiesa Greca B&B Suites, piazzette Chiesa Greca 11, 083-230-2330, 335-534-46454, in a historic but air-conditioned building, re'cd by Frommer's
      • Centro Storico B&B - rec'd by Slow Travel
  • Otranto - somewhat touristy seaside town; cool cathedral and so close to Albania you can see it on a clear day
  • Taviano - town just SE of Gallipoli
    • ?A Casa Tu Martinu - Via Corsica 95, 083-391-3652, closed Sun eve, Mon, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, Michelin, Mangiarozzo, and TCI.  Also rents rooms.
  • Gallipoli - on the western coast, site of a famous WWI battle
  • Nardò - N/inland from Gallipoli; Mangiarozzo rec's Bar ristorante Blu Mare
  • Alliste - SE/inland from Gallipoli; one reader recommends Hotel Jonico
  • Porto Cesareo - coastal town N of Gallipoli, Mangiarozzo rec's Cosimino and L'Aragosta da Co'
  • Uggiano la Chiesa - just down the coast and inland from Otranto
    • Gattamora - agriturismo/masseria,, pool, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Michelin, and TCI
  • Muro Leccese - just inland from Otranto, near Maglie
  • Patù - town just N of Santa Maria di Leuca
    • ##Rua de Li Travaj - Piazza Indipendenza 44, 349-058-4531, closed Wed, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, TCI, Mangiarozzo, and Fred post by Luciano Pignataro (in Italian)
  • Alessano - just N of Santa Maria di Leuca, near Patù
    • Bio Masseria Santa Lucia
    • ...also nearby is Passeggiata in Galiano del Gapo (rec'd by Gambero Rosso)
  • Ugento - on the road between Gallipoli and Santa Maria di Leuca
  • Monacizzo / Avetrana - ~1 hour W of Lecce


  • Torre Sant'Andrea - beautiful cove with natural stone arches, near town of Melendugno, N of Otranto at 40°15.3′N 18°26.7′E
  • Torre dell'Orso - N of Otranto, ~40 min E of Lecce, nice warm water and beach, with the "tower" (a rock formation which supposedly looks like a bear) near the shore.  Be careful where you park your car (thieves are not uncommon)!  40°16′50″N 18°20′38.32″E
  • Santa Cesarea Terme - S of Otranto, ~1 hour SE of Lecce, rocky coastline with clear water; also known for spas.  Also known for the Grotta Zinzulusa (40°00′43″N 18°25′50″E)
  • Santa Maria di Leuca - has Punta Meliso, beautiful spot where Adriatic and Ionian seas meet
  • Baia Verde - south of Gallipoli, one reader recommends family-friendly Lido Punta Della Suina, 348-742-7000, 40°0.15'N 18°1.05'E ("a giant sandbar bay & the water is clean, no muck & seaweed")
  • Porto Selvaggio - N of Gallipoli, ~45 min W of Lecce, a beautiful cove in a Natural Park hidden behind a pine forest, parking lot at 40°9'40"N 17°58'9"E, main bay/beach at 40°8'54"N 17°58'20"E (Main park office is at Masseria di Torre Nova at 40°10'13.54"N 17°57'27.83"E)
  • Marina di Mancaversa - area S of Gallipoli/Baia Verde, beautiful sandy beaches between Punto Pizzo (with its small white Torre del Pizzo from the 16th Century) and Torre Suda



Taranto once was an important Greek colony, forming part of Magna Grecia (Greater Greece) along with towns such as Naples and Paestum.  It later waxed and waned in importance, and gave the "tarantula" its name (luckily, local spiders are not as big!).  Now Taranto is home to Italy's submarine fleet and various other parts of the marina militare (Navy).  The town is divided into the Città Vecchia (Old City) on an island, connected to the Città Moderna (New City) via a bridge that opens to let the Navy ships out.

Where to Eat

  • Al Gatto Rosso - via Cavour 2, 099-452-9875, closed Mon, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia (still in 2017), Michelin, Mangiarozzo, and Espresso, €35 tasting menu
  • Al Canale - rec'd Golosario
  • Trattoria Gesù Cristo - Via Battisti 10, 099-477-7253, closed Sun eve, Mon, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia (not anymore in 2017) and TCI
  • Il Caffè - Puglian/Seafood, reasonable prices, Frommer's calls it "the best restaurant in town," great mussels, 099-452-5097, Via d'Aquino 8, one block west of the SW corner of main piazza in Città Moderna
  • Le Vecchie Cantine - via Girasoli 23, Lama, 099-777-2589, Frommer's raves about this restaurant 5 miles south of the city; also rec'd by Cadogan, Gambero Rosso, and Espresso.
  • Da Mimmo - via Giovinazzi 18, 099-459-3733, inexpensive seafood restaurant rec'd by Cadogan.
  • Ristorante Basile - via Pitagora 76, 099-452-6240, inexpensive restaurant across from the park, rec'd by Cadogan.
  • In Massafra, a town ~30 min N of Taranto (on road to Matera):
    • Falsopepe - via SS Medici 45, 099-880-4687, closed Wed, dinner only except weekends, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, TCI, Golosario
    • the next town to the west (Palagiano): Bar Mincuccio, dissapore named as one of the top 100 gelaterie in Italy in 2017
  • In Crispiano, a town ~30 min N of Taranto (just E of Massafra, a bit further off highway):
    • La Cuccagna - Giro di Vite - Corso Umberto 168, 099-616-087, 349-873-3138, closed Tues, dinner only except weekends, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, TCI, Mangiarozzo, Dissapore,  ~€35
    • Masseria La Pizzìca - Contrada Pizzìca 38, 340-366-6203, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, ~€25-30
  • in Grottaglie, ~30 min E of Taranto (on road to Brindisi):
    • Il Piatto Reale - via Cavour 13, 099-566-7027, closed Sun eve, Mon, rec'd by Alice, ~€30-35
  • in Palagianello, ~40 min N of Taranto (on road to Matera)
    • La Strega - via Fratelli Bandiera 61, 40.609 N 16.9759 E, 099-844-4678, closed Tues lunch and Mon, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Espresso, Michelin
    • Masseria Petrino - Località Petrino, 099-843-4065, closed much of Jan, Tues lunch, Sun eve, Mon, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, Michelin, TCI, ~€35-45
  • in Ginosa, a town ~1 hour W/NW of Taranto
    • Agriturismo San Pio - rec'd by Mangiarozzo
  • Marina di Pulsano
    • La Barca - rec'd Golosario, Michelin in 2017
    • Il Grillo - rec'd Michelin in 2017
  • Leporano Marina
    • Oblò - rec'd Michelin in 2017


The "toe" of Italy's boot, Calabria is one of the poorest regions of Italy, known for its 'Ndrangheta mafia...but also is renowned for its spicy pepperoncini and beautiful, relatively unspoiled beaches.  Other highlights: mountainous Pollino National Park (where you can go whitewater rafting), Troppea (town carved in a cliff near Reggio di Calabria), Scilla (another popular beach town), Isola di Capo Rizzuto (with its castle jutting out into the Ionian), Reggio di Calabria (its largest city and home to the National Museum with the famous greek Bronzi di Riace statues), Praja a Mare, and Paola (home of St. Francis of Paola).



The "instep" between Calabria and Puglia, Basilicata is a mountanous region where the Apennines drop off into the Gulf of Taranto.


Panorama of Sassi di Matera
Originally made in paleolithic times, the Sassi di Matera cliff dwellings (divided into the Sasso Caveoso and Sasso Barisano) formed the backdrop for The Passion of the Christ, among other films; while most of the good restaurants and hotels are in Sasso Barisano, it's well worth a hike over the hill to check out the more characteristic Caveoso side.  Check out some of the rock churches such as Madonna de Idris.  In the Caveoso district, on Vico Solitario, there is a house set up to show what living conditions were like in the earlier days.

Hiking the Ancient Caves

The Parco della Murgia Matera (or "Park of the Rupestrian Churches"), which extends to Montescaglioso, contains older caves dating back to Paleolithic times, some of which have been turned into churches; this is the part of Matera that is in many films.  Parts of the park also have excellent views over the "Gravina" (Ravine) to the main town of Matera.
  • InBasillicata has downloadable GPS maps of the area, starting from Serra Sant'Angelo at 40°38'N 16°38.08'E
  • Rough Guides recommends getting a guide such as Ferula Viaggi (€15 each, 4 people minimum); other guides are listed on the Tourist Bureau Webpage or the Park Webpage
  • Centro di Educazione Ambientale (CEA, "Center for Environmental Education") runs tours from Jazzo Gattini / Masseria Radogna, 40°40'20"N 16°37'44"E, 083-533-2262, 320-263-6528, 388-892-5407, ...this is more or less the "official" tour of the park
    • Every day (from April to September) at 10:30 AM, they run a 1.25 hour "Tourist" tour for €10 (€6 under 18, free under 6) of some of the churches: San Falcione, Madonna delle Tre Porte
    • Every day (from April to September) at 4 or 6 PM, they run a 2.25 hour "View" tour for €15 (€7 under 18, free under 6) of San Falcione, Sant'Agnese, Mandonna delle Tre Porte, and more grottos
  • Cripta del Peccato Originale (Crypt of Original Sin) - in Contrada Perrapenta, S of Matera, 320-535-0910,, can also book at, closed Mon, €9 (free under 10), 6 showings a day (9:30, 11, 12:30, 15:30, 17:00, and 18:30), meet at Q8 Service Station on SS-7 at 40°36'24"N 16°34'11" can also pay €29 for a tour of the Crypt of Original Sin in the morning followed by a tour of the Sassi and Murgia Park

Where to Eat

  • #Il Cantuccio - via delle Beccherie 33, 083-533-2090,, closed Mon, homemade bread, pastas, and desserts, local specialties, ~€25-35, fixed price menu €30, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, and TCI; also one of Mangiarozzo's "10 restaurants not to miss" in Italy; also check out this food blog.
  • Le Botteghe (Arrosto Vino e Cucina) - Piazza San Pietro Barisano 22, 083-534-4072, great charcoal-grilled steak and also pastas, in the heart of the centro storico, "one of the finest pieces of meat in the region" says Fodor's also rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Chowhound readers, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, Veronelli, Michelin, TCI, and Mangiarozzo ~€35-40.
  • Le Lucanerie - via Santo Stefano 61, 083-533-2133, excellent food, especially antipasti and desserts, beautiful vaulted space on edge of centro storico, ~€30-50, rec'd by blogger (and sequel), another blog, Fodor's, Panorama, Gambero Rosso, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, Veronelli, Michelin, and TCI. Also see Luciano Pignataro's blog (in Italian).
  • San Pietro Barisano - Rione San Biagio 52, Sasso Barisano, 083-534-6191, closed Mon, in converted Sassi, excellent ingredients for local food, ~€35, €15 fixed price, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, also rent 5 rooms.
  • Lucana (Antica Trattoria Lucana 1900) - via Lucana 48, 083-533-6117, closed Sun, moderate trattoria with local favorites, Cadogan rec's the antipasti della casa; also rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Michelin, and Mangiarozzo.  Some of Maria Michela's dishes are named after films shot in Matera.
  • Il Casino del Diavolo - via La Martella 48, 083-526-1986, closed Mon, rec'd by Panorama, Michelin, TCI, and Mangiarozzo
  • Nadì - via Fiorentini 1/3, near Piazza Vittorio Veneto, 083-533-2892, 339-601-0828, open every day, in a cave, good fava puree says Fodor's, also rec'd by Slow Travel reader and Mangiarozzo (mostly because of its stunning location, and because the editor chalked up a bad experience to arriving in the middle of Ferragosto), ~€25-30
  • Il Terrazzino - vico San Giuseppe 7, off Piazza Vittorio Veneto, 083-533-2503, 339-465-6918, rec'd by Cadogan and Mangiarozzo (who say "the name says everything" due to their beautiful terrace overlooking the Sasso Barisano)
  • La Cantina della Bruna - via Spartivento 20, Sasso Barisano, 083-533-5010, 329-951-1755, closed Sun/Mon dinner (in winter), rec'd by Mangiarozzo, ~€25.
  • Ristorante Il Borghese - via Lucana 198, 083-531-4223, 320-793-9784, closed Wed except summer, rec'd by Mangiarozzo, ~€25-35.
  • Rivelli - via Casalnuovo 27, 083-531-1568, closed Mon, Sun night, in a Sasso, regional food, ~€35, €25 fixed price menu, rec'd by Espresso.  Also run "La Fattoria" at via Tagliamento 12, 083-530-7414.
  • Del Corso - via Luigi La Vista 12, 083-533-2892, cheap, "gorge yourself for a pittance in the company of discerning locals" says Cadogan.
  • (Hotel Italia) Basilico - via San Francesco 33, 083-533-6540, cheap, good pizza and other rustic plates, also rent rooms, closed Fri, ~€18-22 rec'd by Cadogan and Michelin.
  • Oi Mari - good pizza
  • Alle Fornaci - Piazza Firrao 7, 083-533-5037, closed Mon, seafood, rec'd by Espresso and Michelin, ~€30-40, €25 fixed price.
  • Baccanti - via Sant'Angelo 58/61, 083-533-3704, closed Sun eve, Mon, modern restaurant rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Espresso, Veronelli, and TCI, ~€30-60.
  • Da Mario - via XX Settembre 14, 083-533-6491, closed Sun, local food or pizza in an old palace, rec'd by Veronelli, ~€30, fixed price €15.
  • Diciannovesima Buca (19th Mouth) - via Lombardi 3, 083-533-3592, closed Mon, enoteca and restaurant in Sasso, also has virtual golf (?!), ~€30-35, rec'd by Espresso and Veronelli.
  • Hotel del Campo le Spighe - via Lucrezio, 083-538-8844, good local food, garden terrace, also rent rooms, ~€40, rec'd by Michelin and TCI.
  • Il Castello - via Castello 1, 083-533-3752, cheap, good orecchiette with mushrooms and sausage, closed Wed, rec'd by Cadogan.
  • La Cucina Casareccia - via S. Cesarea, 083-534-4101, closed Sun eve, Mon, rec'd by TCI.
  • La Latteria - via Duni 2, 083-531-2058, rec'd by Alice, cheap.
  • La Stalla Arte e Mestiere - via Rosario 78, 083-524-0455, in a cave, ~€25-30, €20 fixed price, rec'd by Slow Travel reader and TCI.
  • Trattoria del Caveoso - via Buozzi 21, 083-531-2374, closed Sun eve, Mon, rec'd by TCI.
  • Trattoria Lucana - via Lucana 48, 083-533-6117, closed Sun, ~€25, rec'd by Panorama, Michelin, and TCI.
  • Osteria Al Vicinata - via Fiorentini 58, Sasso Barisano, 083-534-4180, Frommer's says it's one of the "most memorable meals in southern Italy" thanks to its eccentric chef who serves up authentic local dishes.
  • Sapere & Sapori - via Dante 54/58, 083-525-6548, clsoed Sun eve and Mon, rec'd by Alice.
  • Gelateria Cremeria dell'Angelo - Via XX Settembre 5, probably one of the best gelaterie in town; close to the main piazza
  • Caffè Vittorio Veneto - Piazza Vittorio Veneto, 329-234-5815, good coffee and gelato says Slow Travel reader, although it is expensive  Another online reviewer says they have the "best spremuta d'arancia in Italy"...but we weren't that impressed (it's a bit expensive).

Where to Stay

  • Locanda di San Martino - via Fiorentini 71, Sasso Barisano, 40°40'01"N 16°36'30"E,  083-525-6600, semi-luxurious (A/C, etc.) converted sassi for reasonable prices, great location, also has a "thermae" (spa) with hottub/cave pool/sauna, nice breakfast, rec'd by Frommer's, good reviews online.
  • Sassi Hostel - via San Giovanni Vecchio 89, 083-533-1009, brand-new hostel in the Sasso Barisano region, highly recommended by many guidebooks; rooms as cheap as €70
  • Hotel Sant'Angelo - Piazza San Pietro Caveoso, 083-531-4010, Fodor's rec's, used to be cave dwellings but fixed up (A/C, hip design); also has a restaurant (Regia Corte).
  • Basiliani Hotel - Rione Casalnuovo 115, 083-319-474, 328-532-3072, (GPS coordinates on their website are wrong), hyper-modern interiors in these rennovated Sassi
  • Hotel Sassi - via San Giovanni Vecchio, 083-533-1009, also rents a few cave rooms amongst their offerings, rec'd by Cadogan.
  • Piccolo Albergo - via di Sariis 11, 083-533-0201, moderate option rec'd by Cadogan
  • Italia - via Ridola 5, 083-533-3561, pleasant, moderate option with some views over the Sassi rec'd by Cadogan.
  • Le Monacelle - via Riscatto 9/10, 083-534-4097, has dorm beds and doubles, rec'd by Frommer's.

Other Sights

  • Pietrapertosa and Castelmezzano - medieval villages selected as some of the "most beautiful towns in Italy" near the Dolomiti Lucane (Lucanian Dolomites) in the Regional Park of Gallipoli Cognato.  These towns are more or less on the way between Naples & Matera or Puglia.
    • #Al Becco della Civetta ("In the little owl's beak") in Castelmezzano, Vico i Maglietta 7, 097-198-6249, 345-986-4855, Basilicata specials, homemade pasta, and other delicious delights from cook and proprietor Maria Antonietta Santoro, also rent rooms, rec'd by chowhounds, Mangiarozzo, Gambero Rosso, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, Michelin, and TCI; €30 fixed price menu (even less for children or vegetarians).
    • Grotta dell'Eremita - 
    • Volo dell'Angelo (Flight of the Angel) zipline between Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa, 400 meters tall, 120 km/hr!
    • ...further down the road is another hill town, Accetura - rec'd restaurant: Pezzolla, via Roma 21, 083-567-5008, 335-673-1241, also rents out rooms, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, and TCI; ~€25 including drinks.
  • Pollino National Park - the largest national park in Italy, this includes the peak of Monte Pollino (2248m)
    • Terranova di Polino - a town in the heart of the park; Luna Rossa - via Marconi 18, 097-393-254, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, Michelin, and TCI.
  • Maratea - a seaside resort town with cliffs dividing up various neighborhoods, "as beautiful as the Amalfi coast, but without the traffic" says one traveller; convenient if driving to Calabria or Sicily.
    • Taverna Rovita - via Rovita 13, 097-387-6588, traditional recipes and fresh seafood, a bit expensive though, rec'd by Fodor's and Cadogan
    • La Torre - Largo Immacolata 097-387-6227, most popular trattoria in the historic center, cheap, rec'd by Cadogan
    • Da Cesare - Località Cersuta SS 18, 097-387-1840, closed Thurs, rec'd by Gambero Rosso
    • Il Giardino di Epicuro - Località Massa di maratea, vi Massa Piano, 097-387-0130, closed Wed, only dinner, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'italia and TCI.
    • Rotonda: nearby town, Mangiarozzo, Gambero Rosso, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, Michelin, and TCI all rec'd Ristorante da Peppe, Corso Garibaldi 13, 097-366-1251, closed Mon/Sun eve, ~€25-30, with cheaper fixed price menus for under €20; Giuseppe (Peppe) can also help you with rooms.  On August 25th, there is a Red Eggplant (Aubergine) Festival.
    • Trecchina: nearby town, Mangiarozzo rec's Ristorante Pizzeria Lanterna Verde, Piazza del Popolo 22, 097-382-6216, 368-999-450
    • Lagonegro: town on the way to Maratea on A3, Slow Food Osterie d'italia rec's agriturismo Azienda Valsirino, Località Aniella 1, 338-815-8496, 338-529-0928, closed Wed.
    • Rivello: another town between A3 and Maratea, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia rec's agriturismo Coccovello, Località Contrada Carposcino, 2 SS 585, 097-342-8025, 329-223-9318, closed Mon
  • Potenza - the capital of Basilicata; not much of tourist interest but conveniently on the way between Naples and Matera or Puglia (although you might want to continue further to Pietrapertosa or Castelmezzano, see above...or to Vaglio Basilicata, see below)
    • Antica Osteria Marconi - via Marconi 23, 097-156-900, rec'd by Mangiarozzo, Gambero Rosso, Espresso, Michelin, and TCI
    • C'era Una Volta - Contrada Valle Paradiso 368, 097-160-1217, closed Sun eve, Mon, rec'd by Gambero Rosso and Espresso
    • Ristorante 2 Torri - via Due Torri 6/8, 097-141-1661, 338-883-1189,, rec'd by Mangiarozzo
    • (Ristorante Pizzeria) Fuori le Mura - via IV Novembre 34, 097-125-409, rec'd by Mangiarozzo and Espresso
    • Trattoria Isuccio - via Appia 198, 097-159-029, 335-654-8267,, rec'd by Mangiarozzo and Espresso
    • Zi'Mingo - Condrada Botte, via de Coubertin 43, 097-144-5929, closed Mon, rec'd by Gambero Rosso and TCI.
    • La Pietra del Sale - in Avigliano, ~30 min north of Potenza, Località Montecaruso, 097-187-063, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, and TCI.
  • Vaglio Basilicata - a cute hill town just past Potenza; houses the Museum of the People of Lucania
    • La Dimora dei Cavalieri - Contrada Tataseppe 1, 340-374-5730, open every day but closed late Dec - late Feb, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia and Mangiarozzo....must reserve ahead, ~€30.
  • Ionian Coast - west of Taranto, on the way to Calabria, in the "instep" of the boot, is a stretch of coastline with some towns along the way
    • Policoro - restaurant: Pitty - rec'd by Gambero Rosso
    • Rotondella - restaurant: La Mangiatoia - rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia and Mangiarozzo