Italy for the Ordinary | Puglia Part 2
Our first full day in Puglia was divided into to three parts: the town of Alberobello, swimming in the Ionian Sea and having dinner in Gallopoli. Not bad for one day. Now let’s get down to the specifics.
Alberobello is one of the most unique places that we visited, mainly because it’s the only place that introduced us to a type of architect and design called Trulli. We spent a few hours wandering the narrow stone streets of Alberobello and took in the amazing structures. It certainly was worth a trip to see such a fascinating group of homes. It happened to be a beautiful day, well all the days were beautiful on our trip to Italy (except for that one day in Florence). The sky was an incredible deep blue, contrasted with the white Trulli, created an amazing backdrop for a spectacular morning.
When you’re limited with the amount of time you have to explore, you do your best to narrow down what are “must see/do” or '“we’ll pass”. Traveling to Alberobello was definitely a good choice but you don’t need a whole day. Alberobello is a UNESCO World Heritage site, so it truly is something worth seeing. A few hours in the morning was perfect. We could have added on another nearby town but we desperately wanted to see and feel the sea! So we hopped in our VW diesel and traveled southwest to the Ionian sea.
Colors Crayola can’t even recreate!
We were’t quite sure where we were going to end up as we traveled along some crazy back roads but eventually we found our way to a beautiful, somewhat secluded beach that was mostly populated by locals. We were in Manduria and I believe the beach we found was between San Pietro in Bevagna and Spiaggia Di Manduria. There are so many names. It’s a bit confusing. One person might call it one beach and then another will say something else but based on the information from my pictures, it appears that we were at actually at Spiaggia Di Manduria, not that it really matters. If you drive along route SP 122 you’ll land on one beach or another.
After a few hours at the beach we continued along the coast looking for more places of interest. We came upon a beach that we paid to park, walked to the beach and turned around once we saw lounge chairs all lined up next to one another like sardines. It might be fun for some but not for us. So we lost some money parking our car, oh well, but there was no way we were staying there. It’s one of those moments when you know you are a foreigner and you just don’t belong. It’s kind of like walking into a private club where everyone knows everyone but you, although that probably wasn’t the case, none-the-less we were back on the road. This is where some readers might think we’re crazy not having a plan. Well that may be the case but it is part of the experience and traveling certainly comes with some trial and error even if you have the best laid out plans.
The Ionian Sea
Our next stop was Porto Cesareo. This is a lovely sea-side town but we arrived there late afternoon and nothing was open. Many restaurants shut down in the afternoon and reopen at 5:00. We had a cold beverage and walked around, took some lovely pictures and decided we didn’t want to wait around for something to happen, so after about an hour we were on the road again.
We finally ended up in Gallipoli, another sea-side town. We parked our car in a parking lot and walked up a staircase to a strip of restaurants that was alongside the road and overlooked a bay. It was a lovely setting. We had wonderful mussels there but again, another town that didn’t really draw us in, so to speak. After our meal, we lost interest in exploring this location so we decided to head back to our masseria. We had about an hour and a half drive ahead of us, so it made sense to go to our home-base.
We didn’t fully explore Porto Cesareo and Gallipoli, so it wouldn’t be right for me to give a review. But from what we saw, although lovely, I wouldn’t make an effort to go back to either of these locations in the future. Again, I’m sure there are lovely spots in both these towns. We certainly enjoyed the sight and views from both places as you can see from my pictures. You’ll have to do your own homework and come up with your own conclusions.
So that completed our first full day in Puglia. I can remember wishing we had a better plan but when you don’t plan every detail ahead of time, you need to have an extra dose of patients as your day unfolds. All in all we had a fantastic day. We swam in beautiful warm water with all my favorite colors to gaze upon. The morning brought us an amazing sky of lapis blue followed by an endless sea with a spectrum of colors from blue to green. Pictures are a wonderful thing. You look back at only the fabulous, creating a wonderful memory to relive. If it wasn’t for writing this post, I probably would have forgotten the indecisions along the way.