Touring Italy: Puglia & Basilicata Q&A
Considering a Puglia and Basilicata tour, or simply wish to know more about these unsung regions of Italy?
We asked our Europe holiday specialists how to make the most of a visit to Puglia and Basilicata. Read on for insights and inspiration from the experts.
Q: What is the best time to visit Puglia & Basilicata?
A: May to September is the best time to travel. But, from Easter to October, most attractions outside the cities are open, and hotels are quieter and cheaper. July and August can get very hot.
Q: How long would you recommend travellers stay in Puglia and Basilicata?
A: It depends how much you want to see and how much travelling you want to do. I would recommend between a week and 10 days, but one could easily spend a month exploring these regions.
Q: What are the top destinations to visit in Puglia and Basilicata?
A: The UNESCO-listed city of Matera in Basilicata and the conical trulli houses of Alberobello in Puglia are must-sees. However, highlights off the tourist trail include the harbour town of Monopoli; the hilltop town of Ostuni, with its whitewashed houses and ancient olive groves; and Ortanto, which overlooks the beautifully blue Adriatic Sea.
Q: What are the top experiences in Puglia?
A: Visiting a traditional trullo house in Alberobello and learning how people used to live in the region is a must. In Puglia’s main city, Lecce, be sure to visit some of the six baroque churches sprinkled across the old town; the buildings are so decorative that ‘Lecce baroque’ is becoming a recognised form of architecture in its own right.
Q: Are there any off-the-beaten-track destinations or experiences in Puglia and Basilicata which you would recommend?
A: Masseria Salinola is located outside the hilltop town of Ostuni. Essentially, it’s a hotel; however, it’s set in one of the oldest olive groves in Italy. The colossal trees date back to 4CE, when the Roman Empire was at its height. The hotel’s cellar houses an ancient mill that was once powered by donkeys, who pulled a stone to crush the olives.
Tucked away in the heart of Matera, Panificio Paoluccio might be missed if it wasn’t for the large queue of locals come lunchtime. This is the place in the city to get focaccia – essentially a thick pizza slice with just tomato topping. It will only set you back a few euros, yet its taste is worth a hundred times that.
Q: What is the local cuisine like in Puglia and Basilicata? Have you got any recommendations?
A: The region is a food and drink heaven. As well as all the culinary delights you’d expect from a trip to Italy, such as pizza and fresh pasta, be sure to try taralli – small rings made from crisp-bread dough served with olive oil. Caciocavallo cheese goes wonderfully with bruschetta and is known for its distinct shape and saltiness. For those with a sweet tooth, try pasticciotti, which is mostly found in Lecce; these short-crust pastry tartlets are filled with cream and sour cherry. There are also honey-filled cartellate – just one of the dozens of Arab-influenced recipes common to the southern Italian coast.
Q: Does having a tour guide change the overall holiday experience?
A: Although driving between towns in the region is relatively easy, getting into the smaller towns with their narrow streets can prove tricky – especially when large parts of them are either pedestrianised or residents-only. Having a driver-guide takes away all the stress. A private guide also gives access to some lesser-known tourist attractions, while providing a real insight into the fascinating history of this region.
Q: Do you have any other tips for people travelling to Puglia & Basilicata?
A: Puglia and Basilicata are very varied, so be sure to explore the regions from more than one base. Spend some time navigating the hilltop towns as well as the coast.
Interested in exploring Puglia and Basilicata yourself? Consider our dedicated Puglia & Basilicata group tour.
Alternatively, if you are interested in private travel, call one of our travel specialists directly, or complete our online enquiry form and one of our experts will get back to you.Share: [Sassy_Social_Share]
- Tags: Italy