Here I am again to tell you about a new part of our trip on Italian roads… This time, I am taking you to the South-East part of the county, in Basilicata and Puglia.
STORY X PHOTO COVERAGE
Matera is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the whole world… Once again, talking a walk in that kind of place is far from being insignificant… The Sassi, which means stones in Italian, troglodytic houses directly carved in the cliffs, were recognized by Unesco in 93… From that point on, adjustments were made to turn some of them in museums, guest houses… the city has done a tremendous work in terms of equipment, and is currently undergoing major restructuring to be worthy of its title, as it was named European capital of culture for 2019… a lot of work going on but nothing that kept us from appreciating this wonderful place… it’s actually quite the opposite, the locals have realised the importance of their heritage and take great pride in it, as they are now ready to glorify and protect it! The sassi are all bult next to each other, on top of each other, complete each other in a random pattern repeating itself endlessly all over the city… A peculiar (understatement of the year here!) city, magical… unmissable!
We found a very nice night spot a few km from Matera, the Masseria del Panteleone, an agrotourism farm (with baby goats, sheep and ponies!) almost empty this time of year, with clean and well-equipped bathrooms (1euro per shower) and other services (power, water, shuttle to the city) included in the 17 euro/night price! A good address, even though it must be super busy in the high season! (see bottom of the post for all our night spots)
Where to eat in Matera? Boccadoro 96 : . A very good address to hve a drink, try local foods or have a burger (our choice that night)… The place looks very nice, the wine and cocktail menu is fairly extensive, and the staff are very welcoming..
Alberobello and its Trulli… They are houses made of dry stones with conic roofs. In the center of Alberobello, you will find no less than 1500 trulli (recognised by Unesco) giving this unique city its world reputation!
As the somewhat doubtful legend goes, those houses made of stone with no mortar were easy to take apart, allowing their owners to avoid paying the very heavy roayal taxes on home owners back in the day… There is no official theory explaining those peculiar houses though, only an incredible atmosphere that feels like you just walked into a fairy tale…
Don’t miss in Alberobello (and in Puglia), Orechiette! We bought ours in a little grocery shop, as lovely and mouth-watering as the food was delicious, l’Alimentari Mizzi Valerio! An unmissable place to try local foods and products!
We slept in a very nice service area in town, akthough it wasn’t perfectly flat! Your regulare camping activities (picnic, etc) are forbidden in the high season but the place looks nice with a lot of green, plenty of power terminals, potable water, and it’s only a few hundred meters from the Monti!
When we got there, the area was empty and supposedly closed. But it only took a phone call (in English) for someone to meet us there and open the gate for us to get in 5 minutes later! A perfect welcome, electricity, water and wifi all included!
Short stop in Locorotondo on the way… It was raining that day, and everything was unfortunately closed so we didn’t stay long… But this cute little town was a ray of sunshine in itself! Every facade in its small centro storico is white and nicely decorated, which, despite the cold and the rain, makes it look like summer all year long! It would be a shame to miss this stop!
A night in Trani, Puglia
We arrived in Trani in the late afternoon, at nightfall, and I have to say the welcome we received on the parking area almost gave us cold feet! Someone pointed us to a bar where we were supposed to pay for our night. The place was closed, and a couple of locals were happy to receive the payment (2€).. The guys was clearly weird and quite obviously drunk… I personally felt uneasy the whole time, so much so that the next day, we didn’t even take the time to visit the city which looked quite charming… I don’t think it would have been a that big a risk, but sometimes, when you travel with our whole life in your car, you feel like you should follow your guts! Thomas wasn’t feeling it either, so we left in the morning… At 9am, we were on the road!
The Spur of Gargano, lo Sperone d’Italia
After all those cities, once again, nature call for us in every corner of the Lieutenant. We headed to Parco Nazionale del Gargano, the spur of the boot. This bit of land is sublime. The coast reminds me of a mix of the Cadaquès area and Etretat! That is where, on the cliffs of the Adriatic sea, at the bottom of the Torre dell’Aglio, we found THE perfect night spot, the most beautiful we’ve found so far!
We stayed in the cold for an hour, just staring quietly at the scenery from this abandoned tower… The landscape was covered in red light… The next morning, I woke up at 7 and snuck out to watch the sun slowly rise on the horizon..
We stayed in Gargano as long as the sun allowed, which isn’t long, but just enough to take a nice drive along the coast to Vieste, then through the Foresta Umbra. That part in the woods was nice, but it must be even nice in the spirng or in the fall when the trees still have their leaves…
Our stay in Puglia didn’t go unnoticed! We were interviewed by Tranilive about our experience in the region living in a van… A nice interview you can read on their website… It is in Italian, but with Google translate, a right click will do the trick!
To help you organise your trip, I drew a map of our itinerary from Matera to Gargano… Have a nice trip!
OUR NIGHT SPoTS
Matera : Masseria del Panteleone – 27 contrada Chiancalata – Agriturismo with nice bathrooms (1 euro for a shower), water and power included, as well as a shuttle to the city center. 17€ per night in January.
Alberobello : Area sosta Camper Service nel Verde – 14 via Cadore – Parking area with services (water, power, wifi) – 200m from the Trulli – Camping activities forbidden – Rates : 10€/10h – 14€/12h – 18€/24h
Gargano : Coord Torre dell’Aglio : SP54 ; GPS coordinates : lat. 41.8026 long. 16.1953 – Nature spot at the foot of an abandoned tower, slightly sheltered from a very quiet road – view on the sea, cliffs… Sublime spot!
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