Puglia Primer

Italy is shaped like a boot, and Puglia is the back of the foot and the heel (bright green) .

Bari is one of larger cities, but I stayed in the compact Old Town.

Again, more churches, plazas and narrow little streets! but never two the same

What I love is that people live here. People are out shopping at the bakery, the green grocer, the meat and cheese stores.

Then there are quiet streets with curtains over the doors. People are sitting outside, washing their front area, visiting, taking kids to school. Smiling at me as I have to come back from a dead end!

Of course, quiet except for the motorcycles everywhere!

And much younger and newer than this fellow and his bike.

Roman columns a sign of Bari’s history

Piazza Mercantile is the largest plaza. I was out walking early and saw them washing the stones. Everywhere I have been has been very well kept.

In the piazza there is the Colonna della Giustizia (Column of Justice) where debtors were once tied and whipped!

Now the piazza is a major centre of restaurants.

The cathedral and a wedding

The Basilica di San Nicola, another of the 40 churches in the area

And shrines every where.

Castillo Svevo

Corso Vittorio Emanuele II borders one edge of the Old Town.

There is a wide lungomare (promenade) that is set up on the top of the old city walls.

But another major traffic street Corso Cavour is between the town and the ocean

Another side backs up to a major port with ships to Greece, Albania, and northern Italian ports.

Some mixed meals again, supplemented with fruit and vegetables from the market.

Calamari and salad

Panzerotti stuffed with tomato and cheese (baked rather than fried)

Fresh orecchiette (little ears) with seafood

Next, Polignano a Mare, just 30 minutes down the coast!

It’s built on cliffs that rise out of the ocean. Views from the balconies between some of the buildings, and from the promenade that extends down the coast.

The Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series was here this weekend.

It was crazy busy so I was very happy I had Monday and Tuesday to enjoy a quieter experience. There was still lots of activity as they removed all the infrastructure, but the crowds were gone and people were returning to the very rocky Lama Monachile beach!

Bridge which was a key viewing area for the poor and unconnected!

Statue of Domenico Modugno, local son of fame. He was a singer, songwriter, actor, and member of parliament. Steps lead down from the plaza to a large rocky public space.

Gateway to the Old Town, with a tourist mobile

These are Pumi di Grottaglie, and represent flower buds with acanthus leaves full of life. It is common in Puglia to put them on front steps or balconies to ward off evil.

Polpo, or octopus, is very popular here. It’s actually very mild and tender when cooked properly.

This is a polpo, burrata, dried tomato and rocket pucce.

I did have one proper sit down meal here on Sunday at a seafood restaurant that was away from the main tourist area and had excellent reviews.

I opted for the Tasting Menu as it gave me a great selection that I usually don’t get on my own. And it was all very delicious!

First up was the Antipasto course – octopus salad, shrimp under a spicy mayo, seared tuna and a marinated flat fish like herring.

Next, The Primo – Gnocchetti with seafood

The Secondo – grilled swordfish and scampi

And the Dolce – cream puffs with a warm vanilla filling

Gelato, when it’s 28

Olives to snack on. I bought the bright green Castelvetrano.

Love the stairs to my apartment

Tomorrow it’s off again, this time to Alberobello.

It’s only a 35 minute drive, but all the train/bus combo schedules took about 2-3 hours with multiple transfers! I’ve known all along this was a difficult connection.

I just found a private bus that only takes one hour. It’s designed for tourists to do a day trip. Very fortunate too as their service is ending in two days!

I’m going to publish now, but I have some concerns about the new format. Photos look small in the draft, so I may have to re-publish after talking to tech support. Fingers crossed!

6 thoughts on “Puglia Primer

  1. Ciao!
    Thank you for your interesting travelogue. Great pictures! Southern Italy is a region that is more foreign to me.I have been more in north Italy.
    What a food !! I became hungry and my fridge screams emptyness…🙂🙃
    Take care 💚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sirkku! I have found it very different than northern Italy. The dryness, cactus, olive trees, grapes remind me more of Greece.
      And I can’t disagree, I travel to eat and I’m very happy here!!


  2. Wow Leslie! You are at it again. Love your photos and comments. You are so brave! The food looks amazing. Italy is so picturesque … I would love to be there. I am wondering what the COVID situation is. Keep on girl…you are amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Joanne! It’s so great to be travelling again!
      Actually feels very safe here. Italy’s vaccination rate is very high, masks everywhere, need to show proof of vaccination for restaurants, museums, high speed trains, etc.


  3. Wonderful to get your missives Leslie! Great pictures! Jon and I did some travels in Puglia in 2019 and stayed first of all in Monopoli and later in Ostuni. We loved it. We chose Monopoli randomly from the map because of its name (!) and people there were puzzled why we weren’t in the popular touristy destination Poglignano a mare! Great town Monopoli. Just the right size! We rented bikes and rode South along the coast and through the groves of ancient olive trees. Later we went to Ostuni and rented bikes again (e-bikes that time!) and rode to Alberobello. Again, scenic countryside, ancient landscapes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great to hear from you! Yes, I picked places at random too! I was going to go into Monopoli on a day trip but it never happened! I’m in Alberobello now, and went to Locorotondo yesterday. Headed to Ostuni tomorrow. Now that we can travel again, I’ll have to make it to the mainland to see you!


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