Road Trip Through Southern Italy – From Lecce & Alberobello, Puglia To Matera, Basilicata
Happy Thursday and welcome back on the blog! Last week, I decided to take a little break as it’s been quite stressful coming back from my travels, prepare blogposts and additionally, I was a bit sick, or at least not feeling my best after rushing from one place to another. But today, I am back with the final part about my road trip through southern Italy last year.
Let’s start with the last destination we went to from Bari before heading north slowly: Lecce. Lecce is one of the bigger cities in Puglia, not as big as Bari of course, but it has an exciting old town and lots of beautiful monuments. We started right in the city centre, at the Anfiteatro Romano, the remains of a Roman amphitheatre. From there, we went through cute little alleys and were surrounded by typical Italian shops, as well as some touristy ones. If you enjoy nature more than houses, you should definitely stop at the Villa Comunale di Lecce, a park just next to the city centre which is perfect for a little stroll, a cup of ice cream or simply to relax.
Our next stop was the Piazza del Duomo, the square where the Cathedral of Lecce is located. The square itself is not that impressive as there is no fountain or a specific monument surrounding it, but all these pretty classic Italian houses made out of sandstone, or in the colour of sandstone make a perfect scenery! Taking pictures here is definitely a must!
When leaving Bari the following day, we decided to make a pit stop in Alberobello, one of the most Instagram-worthy places in Italy you surely have already seen on pictures before. Alberobello is famous for its, the grey round roofs on little white houses. I was honestly impressed to see how many of these Trulli still exist, and it took us quite a while to wander through the town. But sadly, there’s not much to do in Alberobello than to buy souvenirs (that are a bit pricey as well!), so we decided not to stay too long. After lunch, we continued our trip.
As we knew arriving too early in Matera wouldn’t be too convenient as our room wouldn’t be ready, we stopped on our way and went to the Grotta di Putignano, a cave just about 20 minutes from Alberobello. It was not the biggest one you can imagine, but it was quite cheap, and as there were no other people at the time of our visit we had a private guided tour which was quite interesting.
Then we went on to Matera. This year Matera was the European Capital of Culture, so we were quite happy we visited in 2018. The town lays in a small canyon and is also known as an underground city, città sotterranea. People were living in caves carved into the mountain in Matera until it was declared as too dangerous a few centuries back. The old town, Sassi di Matera, is filled with monasteries, churches and lots of monuments. Honestly, Matera was my favourite part of the trip.
We stayed in an apartment just outside of the old town, only for convenience with the car and as it was cheaper, but it took us not even 2 minutes to get to the old town, and so we spent nearly all of our time there. Once, we decided to leave the city and head to the other side of the canyon, where the old Sassi, where people used to live still can be seen. Here you can see the holes people carved into stone, and one understands the living conditions there have been harsh. We spent two days in Matera, and I guess that should be alright, considering to not come during the holiday season as then it might be overcrowded.
I hope you liked my series about this road trip, and I have to admit I started missing Italy by merely writing this. Have you ever been to Basilicata or Puglia? If yes, I’d love to hear about your experiences!