Italian Summer Part One: Puglia
My family and I ate/drank our way through the southern half of Italy for two weeks in July, and I’ve been so excited to share our photos from the trip. Over the course of 14 days, we (meaning my dad- I was in charge of the glamorous Google Maps navigation post) drove from Puglia (in the south of Italy) to the Amalfi Coast, up to Naples and eventually Tivoli before a final 6 day sojourn in Rome. Every region we saw was magical in its own way, but Puglia will always occupy a special cubby-hole in my memory (which I will return to, most likely via the smell of good olive oil and/ or salty post-swim wet-bottomed car rides). The locals there were warm and charming, fellow-tourist-sightings sparse, and I can’t wait to return. Some of you may recognise these photos from my Instagram feed- I couldn’t stop myself from posting a few rather than waiting to compile them into a post. If you are planning to visit and have any questions about our trip I would be happy to answer them in the comments section.
We rented a car from Hertz, which was picked up at Brindisi airport. We were warned about driving in Italy but welcomed the challenge- more will be said about this in upcoming posts (*coughs* Naples) but driving in Puglia was pretty manageable as it was freeway-heavy.
We stayed at Masseria Valente
– Puglia is littered with masserias, farm + guest houses that often make their own olive oil and/ or grow produce which you can then taste in the restaurant. I originally wanted to stay in either Masseria il Frontoio
(where we dined one night, see below) or Masseria Moroseta
) but both were fully booked for the appropriate rooms. We were still very happy with our stay and loved lounging at the pool, and the big breakfasts of ricotta on toast and excellent espresso.
On our first night we had one of the most memorable meals at Il Principe del Mare Ristoro, and undoubtedly some of the best seafood of my life. Order everything- its not very glamorous with plastic plates and cups but we loved the mussels, tuna, sea urchin….the waiters didn’t speak much english but we just pointed at what other people were eating and they got the picture. Most of the restaurants we went to either didn’t have a menu, or it wasn’t in English- this didn’t matter as people were very friendly and happy to help/ recommend dishes. Also, the view didn’t suck :-)
We drove from the Masseria to Bagno Marino Archi for a day of swimming. You pay for a chair for the day and there’s a restaurant with great pizzas, which we bought and shared with the locals lounging in front of us as they had treated us to cornettos and beers. The water was perfect and so, so clear. I would go back to Puglia just to swim here again.
This bag from Abaca
was my best friend during our southern adventures- it fits everything and looks cute. My bikini is COS, the bandeau is Nanushka and sandals are from Ancient Greek Sandals.
After swimming, we explored the sleepy and charming Tricase before having our aperitivo at Farmacia Balboa- a great cocktail bar housed inside an old pharmacy. It was recommended by Ilona Hamer in an interview about her trip to Puglia
and I’m so glad we went.
Another amazing meal at Masseria Nonno Tore, which was very near Farmacia Balboa. Something we were pleasantly surprised by whilst dining at the masserias is that you don’t receive a menu or choose your dishes a la carte- the staff bring out dishes made from the fresh produce to be shared, from the antipasti to the primi (pasta) and main courses plus dessert, so all the tables have the same plates (and often, the same wines). This masseria in particular grows most of its produce, including making their own bread and pasta. It was a lot of food but none of the meals we had in Puglia were particularly expensive, though it may be worth speaking to someone when you reserve a table if you have any allergies/ intolerances.
We spent a day exploring Ostuni, a town near our masseria. It’s very beautiful, and we had our first of many gelato breaks whilst taking a time-out from the heat. I don’t usually buy a lot of souvenirs but some stores here sell leather sandals of a great quality and reasonable price, which we found were better made than those sold at our other stops in Italy and quite a bit cheaper.
Another masseria meal at Masseria il Frontoio- a bit fancier than our other meals in Puglia but worth it even for the idyllic location alone. You also get a tour of the masseria and olive oil production in the basement before your meal.
That’s it for the first leg of our road trip- stay tuned for photos from the Amalfi Coast.