The region with the beautiful name Puglia on the map of Italy is located in its southeastern part. Puglia is a picturesque beaches, “toy” white towns on the hillsides and the blue sea. Funny houses of Alberobello, mysterious grottoes, large ports, southern flavor and delicious food. Apulia also ranks first in Italy for winemaking, olive cultivation and olive oil production. In this article I want to highlight the best in Puglia, I will give practical advice on how to get from Russia, Italy and where it is convenient to travel around the region. I am sure my review will come in handy for detailed travel planning in southeastern Italy.
How to get to Puglia (plane, car, public transport)
Find the best flight to Puglia (Bari)
From Italian cities to Bari
Puglia has good transport links with the rest of Italy. A bus from Florence to Bari – from 26 euros, the journey takes 9 hours, a night flixbus – from 10 euros (the journey from 9 to 12.5 hours), Naples-Bari – from 5 euros (3 hours 20 minutes), you will find tickets on omio.ru . From Venice you can get to the capital of Puglia by bus in 12 hours and 33 euros, the price of a high-speed train (7.5 hours) is from 40 euros, the cheapest way to fly by plane is from 11 euros and an hour or so is a little.
How to get on the route of Rome-Bari : from the capital of Italy to the capital of Puglia there is a high-speed train (from 36 euros when buying in advance, on the way 3 hours 50 minutes) or regular (from 16 euros, 6 hours 30 minutes). Buses: the road will take from 5 hours 20 minutes to 6 hours 20 minutes. The fare is from 19 euros. Drive Flixbus – 20 Euro. Tickets for trains and buses (no need to print!) Convenient to buy through omio.ru . The commission is small, but it saves a lot of time.
You can rent a car and travel around Italy on your own, here is our route , you can take it as a basis, I rent cars through rentalcars.com and autoeurope.com services, I wrote about them repeatedly, including in a review about car rental in Florence .
Apulia (Italy): what to see and where to go. Independent travel in Puglia.
Apulia on a map of Italy
The region of Puglia (Italy) consists of six provinces:
- Bari (capital and main city);
These provinces are divided into communes (total number – 258). I will not talk about the provinces of Foggia, Barletta-Andria-Trani and Taranto today, but I will dwell on three other areas and the most interesting sights.
City of Bari (Apulia)
This is a fairly large port city on the Adriatic Sea, the most populated part of Puglia. The first settlements appeared here in the 5th century BC. Today, Bari is conditionally divided into two parts: the Old Town and modern quarters. His calling card is Norman-Swabian Castle. Date of foundation – XII century. Surrounded by a moat, the northern part is washed by the sea. Inside, installation exhibitions are held (ticket – 9 euros).
A few words about other city attractions.
See also “TOP 10 Bari Attractions”
It is worth a look at the address: Largo Abate Elia, 13. There is a beautiful basilica of the XVI century – the Cathedral of St. Nicholas – the patron saint of Bari. It contains the relics of the saint, which were transported to Bari from Mira in the 11th century. In addition to the relics of the saint, there are many icons dear to believers, pilgrimages are constantly being made. Daily from 7:30 to 13:00 and from 16: 00-19: 00 entrance to the church is free.
An interesting example of Romanesque architecture is the three-nave cathedral of St. Sabina. The inside is beautiful and spacious. Look for a landmark in the center of the Old Town. Address: Piazza dell’Odegitria 1. Admission is free.
The Palazzo Mincuzzi Palace (Via Sparano 70-72) was erected by the richest family of the city in the middle of the 20th century. It today houses the Benetton chain store.
The Petrucelli Theater is Italy’s fourth largest theater, the main venue for cultural events in the region. Here 1500 people are freely accommodated. Attractions located at: Corso Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour 13.
Read also “Bari Guide for independent travelers”
Polignano a Mare (Apulia)
Polignano a Mare is a commune in the province of Bari. It is famous for its beautiful cliffs, a sea with clear water and natural caves. In architecture, Byzantine, Spanish and Arabic features are distinctly traced. Almost everything is made of light stone. Local beaches are annually recognized as one of the best in Europe.
Popular sights of Polignano a Mare are located in the Old Town: Piazza dell’orologio, Vittorio Emanuele, the city church, the tower – all these places are located close to each other.
Talking about Polignano a Mare (Italy), it is impossible not to tell about the grotto of the Palazzese (Palazzese grota). This is a cave that has been turned into a modern restaurant.
Water for many years washed a semicircular hall inside the cave. Some far-sighted businessman (or group of entrepreneurs) decided to seize the opportunity and create a tourist place here. First, they built a restaurant, then in the rocks adjacent to the grotto they arranged the Hotel Grotta Palazzese 5 * hotel . The view from the windows, of course, is gorgeous! According to another version, this cave was used in the 1700s. The local nobility held balls and banquets in it. Anyway, the place is really beautiful and unusual. All furniture and accessories are made of natural materials to fit perfectly into the surrounding interior. The restaurant and hotel are especially popular from May to October.
Millions of tourists from all over the world come to dine to the sound of waves breaking on the rocks, to admire the magnificent sunset against the azure water. As for prices, dinner at the Grotta Palazzese restaurant will cost from € 200 for two, and a double room in a 5 * hotel – from € 650 per day with breakfast ( book at the booking.com ).
How to get from Bari to Polignano a Mare: it is convenient to travel between the communes by rail. Train Trenitalia Bari Polignane a Mare – from 2.5 euros, travel time – 30 minutes, buses – from 7 euros, 3 flights per day, you can choose the right one and buy a ticket on omio.ru
Another commune in Bari. It has an intricate system of caves and grottoes. The first attempts to study them were made in the XVIII century, but a positive result was not achieved. They could completely bypass the tunnel only in the middle of the 20th century. At the entrance to the caves there is a bust of the caver Franco Anelli, who was at the head of the victorious expedition. Perpetuating the memory of the scientist is quite logical, because the total length of the caves reaches 3348 m. It is very difficult to complete it completely. The maximum depth from the earth’s surface is 122 m. The temperature inside is always kept at 17 degrees above zero.
Today, tourists are offered several safe routes through the Castellana Cave in Puglia, the longest of which is 3 km. Inside you will see dozens of stalagmites, stalactites, crystalline growths. The most picturesque and popular cave is White. Its walls by nature have such a color, and when the backlight turns on, it seems that everything around is floating in the air.
For participation in the Partial route you need to pay 12 euros. Visit of the Full Route – 16 Euro. Children under 5 can go on an exciting walk for free. Travelers under 14 years old get a discount. You need to book tickets for an excursion to the grottoes in Puglia in advance.
Official website http://www.grottedicastellana.it/
The distance between Bari and Castellano Grotte is 45 km. The easiest way to overcome it is on the bus training www.fseonline.it. It takes 1 hour 15 minutes to go one way, a ticket – 2.8 euros, departs from Bari Centrale.
Ostuni is a picturesque commune in the province of Brindisi. Located on the hilly coast of the Adriatic Sea, surrounded by an olive grove. Another name is “The White City of Italy” due to the color of the facades of most buildings. Since the 17th century, it was customary to cover the external walls of houses with white limestone mortar.
The first reason is the hot Italian climate. White color well reflects the scorching sun’s rays and coolness remains in the houses.
The second reason is that the limestone solution disinfects, and at one time, local residents helped to cope with the plague that was raging here. As a result, Ostuni turned into the White City.
Life here is measured, nobody is in a hurry. It seems that we are in a fairy tale! But quite an expensive tale. Compared to other cities in Puglia, Ostuni seemed to me more expensive (at least in terms of food prices and souvenirs).
The central square of Freedom is small, there are city government buildings on it, a 20-meter baroque column of St. Orontius, which, according to legend, saved the city from the plague.
On the right side is the church of St. Francis. Its facade was completely rebuilt in the 19th century. Inside the cathedral are a thick gate made of bronze depicting biblical scenes. The interior of the cathedral is a combination of baroque and classicism. Free admission.
Another beautiful attraction of Ostuni is the Cathedral of St. Vito Martire (XVIII century). The architectural style is Rococo. It houses a museum of prehistoric civilizations. Entrance ticket – 5 euros.
The visiting card of the city is Ostuni Cathedral with openwork sockets.
In the historic quarters of Ostuni, pristine medieval architecture has been preserved. These narrow alleys and streets, arches and stairs in colors are a whole maze! The old city is surrounded by walls. Here are the mansions of the “old” nobility: the house of Maledino, the palace of Falgeri.
There is a train from Bari to Ostuni. Drive about an hour, ticket 5.70 euros. Bus – one flight per day, on the way 1,5 hours, price 9 euros. Distance between cities – 85 km.
For those who are by car, I recommend using the parking lot next to the Madonna Carmine church (parking address Via Salvatore Tommasi, 10). Parking is paid, but convenient. 60 cents per hour, but at lunchtime (from about 13 to 16) and at the weekend parking is free, you just need to put a parking disk under the glass indicating the time of arrival. We were given a notebook with such a disk at a gas station several years ago, we always take it. I still did not understand where to buy a disc in Italy, but there is one on aliexpress .
Here is the parking spot:
The list of the most beautiful places in Puglia includes the ancient city of Lecce in light yellow colors, founded by the Greeks. It also has an unofficial name – “Florence of Southern Italy.” I got it because of the large number of monuments of architecture in the Baroque style. In Lecce they produce olive oil, wine, folk craft is superbly developed. Local ceramics, papier-mashi products are known far beyond the city limits.
The main monument of Baroque architecture is the Basilica of Santa Croce. Opening date – 1695. Look for it near the central city square of Sant Oranzo. Exact address: Piazza Santa Croce, 16. The facade of the basilica is generously decorated with coats of arms, sculptures of ancient heroes, mythical creatures (griffins, dragons, unicorns). Interior of a church with renaissance motifs. Inside are three naves, separated by tall white columns. The total number of altars indoors is 16. You can view all this for 8 euros every day from 9:30 to 17:30.
Another attraction of Lecce is the Cathedral. It was erected in honor of the Holy Virgin Mary. It houses the residence of the Archbishop of Lecce. The cathedral, in addition to the central building, includes 12 chapels, each with its own altar. A very beautiful bell tower, reaching a height of 72 m. On a clear day, from it you can see not only the Adriatic Sea, but even the mountains of Albania. Entrance ticket to the cathedral – 8 euros.
There are a lot of churches in Lecce, and, honestly, I am not good at them, therefore, I will show you the facades of those churches that I photographed (which means they seemed to me the most beautiful :)).
Not far from the central square are the ruins of the amphitheater, telling about the times of the Roman Empire, the church of Santa Maria dell Grazia, administrative buildings, hotels and restaurants.
I want to note two bright city museums:
1. The Diocesan Museum of Art, which tells about the important role of religion in the development of not only Lecce, but throughout Italy. Inside are paintings, sculptures, liturgical vestments. The cost of admission is 4 euros. Audioguide in English – 2 euros.
2.Unusual papier-mâché museum – Museo della Cartapesta (Viale 25 Luglio 30). Two floors, five exhibition halls, hundreds of exhibits. Let me remind you that papier-mâché art is a visiting card of the city. Prepare 3 euros for the admission ticket.
How to get to Lecce? Trains run regularly from Bari (1 hour 40 minutes, from 10.80 euros), Buses: 3 flights per day, 3 hours on the way, ticket from 15 euros.
City of Alberobello (Italy)
This is another commune in Bari with a population of about 11 thousand people. Established – XVI century. The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We are talking about houses built using the dry laying method with a conical roof. They are called trulli. If you remove at least one part from the roof, the whole structure will fall apart. The walls of such houses are thick, perfectly protect the room from heat and cold. Trulli turned into cafes, shops, hotels, beauty salons. Many world famous celebrities have their own fabulous houses in the commune. I also slept in one such trull, here I told in details .
The two most striking city objects are the temple and the thematic museum. Both buildings, of course, trulli, are located in the center of the commune. Entrance ticket to the museum – 1.5 euros. The temple can be visited for free.
How to get to Alberobello and its attractions, I spoke in details in the guide . You can get from Bari to Alberobello by bus fseonline.it (60 minutes on the way, from 4.30 euros ticket) or Marozzi with Via Capruzzi (60 minutes, from 8 euros). You can get to the city of throttles from Monopoli: two direct bus services at 9:30 and 17:45 (fseonline.it) per day for 1.80 euros, at other times – with a change:
- Option 1. Via Castellana Grotte (you can combine a trip with a visit to the caves): bus No. 707 from Monopoli (from Piazza Sant’Antonio) to Castellana Grotte (20 minutes and 3 euros), then a bus in the direction of Alberobello No. 160 (2 euros and 30 minutes).
- Option 2. Via Locorotondo: bus number 290 from Monopoli (30 minutes, from € 1.80), in Locorotondo transfer to bus number 320 in the direction of Alberobello (15 minutes, from € 1.10).
Another option to visit Alberobello – an excursion in the company of a guide in English “Bari: Excursion to Alberobello” costs from € 129 per person, lasts 5 hours. The trip takes place in a comfortable minibus. Children under 3 years are free.
See also Alberobello Travel Guide
A beautiful province and port east of Bari is Brindisi (Italy). Located in a quiet harbor of natural origin, deeply penetrating the Adriatic coast. Near the harbor stands a Roman column, signifying the end of the Appian Way (the longest public road of Ancient Rome).
The old town of Brindisi is located near the train station. It is built of light stone, very compact and comfortable. Here the churches of San Benedetto and San Giovanni al Sepolcro, the fountain of the Empire, narrow streets, picturesque green squares and restaurants of Italian cuisine (do not forget about the siesta: from 13 to 16 everything is closed).
Two blocks away is another wonderful church – St. John. Built in the time of the Normans (XI century). The architectural style is Romanesque. Inside the church has the shape of a horseshoe. The roof is supported by 8 columns around the perimeter of the hall. Here you can see fragments of frescoes of the XIV century – “The Virgin and Child”, “Descent from the Cross”. Entrance ticket – 5 euros.
The center of city life is Duomo Square. On it stands the Cathedral, in which, according to the annals, the Crusaders prayed before the campaigns. In it, in the first half of the 13th century, the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II married with his young bride Iolanta of Jerusalem. Here, on the square – the Archaeological Museum (Piazza Duomo, 6). It has a good exposition of pottery, bronze sculptures, and works of art made of stone. Free admission. On the top floor there is an observation deck overlooking the harbor and the Old Town.
Frankly, Brindisi seemed to me an ordinary, boring city. Perhaps the fact is that we arrived at lunchtime, but in 1.5 hours of walking we met only one couple of tourists and about a dozen local residents.
A train ticket to Bari-Brindisi costs from 8.60 euros. Spend from an hour to an hour 15 minutes on the road. Between the cities – 118 km.
That’s all! Beauty Apulia friendly opened its doors to tourists only 15 years ago. This is its peculiarity – the region is completely authentic. Here in prestige, the continuation of the family business, following the traditions. By the way, mozzarella was first prepared precisely in the sunny colorful Apulia. I wish you a bright journey!
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