Ostuni and environs

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Alberobello resembles an urban center for gnomes. The trulli area, in the westernmost part of the town's two hills, is a dense, beehive-shaped mass of 1,500 houses, tipped white as if dusted with snow. These dry-stone buildings are made of local limestone; none is older than the 14th century. The inhabitants don't wear pointy hats, but they sell everything a visitor might (or might not) want, from miniature trulli to woolen shawls.


A charming whitewashed hill town, slow-paced Cisternino has a charming historic center as well as a modern suburb; with its kasba knot of streets, it has been designated as one of Italy's most beautiful villages. In addition to the 13th-century Matrix Church and Civic Tower, there is a beautiful communal garden overlooking the countryside. If you take Via Basilioni next to the tower, you can stroll along an elegant path to the central square, Vittorio Emanuele.


Locorotondo has a quiet, pedestrian-friendly historic center where everything is gleaming white except the blood-red geraniums falling from the windows. Situated on a hill in the Murge Plateau, it is one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. There are few "views" as such - rather, the town itself is a spectacle. The streets are paved with polished colored stones, with the church of Santa Maria della Graecia as their focal point.


Immerse yourself in this spectacular small town if you can. Located about 34 km south of Bari on the S16 coastal road, Polignano a Mare is built on the edge of a rocky gorge with caves. The town is considered one of the most important ancient settlements in Puglia and was later inhabited by successive invaders ranging from the Huns to the Normans. On Sundays the loggias (balconies) are crowded with excursionists from Bari who come here to see the crashing waves, visit the caves and crowd the cornerie (stores specializing in Italian croissants) in the charming old town.

Polignano a Mare

The old quarter of this city is a picturesque scene of winding alleys, blinding white houses and blood-red geraniums. It is also home to graceful Baroque and Rococo buildings, airy squares and wrought-iron balconies that almost touch the narrow streets.

Martina Franca

Like all ports, Brindisi has its dark side, but it is also surprisingly slow-moving, particularly along the palm-lined Corso Garibaldi, which connects the port to the train station, and the promenade that stretches along the interesting waterfront (lungomare).


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Bequeathed with a generous supply of Baroque buildings by 17th-century architects, the city has a completeness and homogeneity that all other southern Italian metropolises lack. The architecture of Lecce is very distinctive, acquiring the name Lecce Baroque, an expressive and highly decorative incarnation of the genre full of gargoyles, columns, and prancing gremlins. The lonely 18th-century traveler Thomas Ashe considered it "the most beautiful city in Italy," but the less impressed Marquis Grimaldi said the facade of the Basilica of Santa Croce made him think a madman had a nightmare.


If Lecce is the Florence of the south, Bari is its Bologna, a historic but forward-looking city with a high percentage of young people and migrants giving it vigor. More urban than Lecce and Brindisi, with larger boulevards and more intense nightlife, Bari has a great university, an opera house, and beautiful municipal buildings.


The mighty Greek-Spartan colony of Taras is, today, a city composed of two distinct parts: an old town on a small artificial island protecting a lagoon (the Mar Piccolo), and a new, more elegant city full of wide streets laid out in a well-defined grid. The contrast between the two is sudden and sharp: the small old town, with its muscular Aragonese castle, has a spectacular, almost at-rest air, while the new, larger city is busier, as well as bustling with commerce.


Like Taranto, Gallipoli is a city with two parts: the more modern area is based on the mainland, while the old town is located on a small island jutting into the Ionian Sea. With much Baroque architecture, second in quantity only to Lecce, it is, without a doubt, the most beautiful of the smaller settlements in Salento.


Bloodied and wounded by an infamous Turkish massacre in 1480, Otranto is prized for its beautiful cathedral, where the bones of 813 martyrs are displayed in a glass case behind the altar. Less macabre is the cathedral's other prized piece, its medieval mosaic floor, which rivals Ravenna's famous early Christian mosaics for richness and historical importance.


Known as the "Pearl of Apulia," beautiful Trani has a sophisticated atmosphere, particularly in summer when affluent visitors visit the many bars on the harbor side. The marina is a great place to stroll and watch the white yachts and fishing boats in the harbor, while the old town, with its medieval churches, polished limestone streets, historic Jewish quarter, and faded but charming buildings is a lovely area to explore. But it is the cathedral, pale against the deep blue sea, that is the city's most compelling sight.



Matera, the jewel of Basilicata, may be the third continuously inhabited human settlement in the world. Natural caves in the tuff, exposed to the cut of the Gravina gorge, attracted the first inhabitants perhaps 7,000 years ago. More elaborate structures were built above. Today, looking across the gorge toward the huddled stones of Matera, you seem to have been transported back to the ancient Holy Land. In fact, the "Underground City" (Città Sotterranea) has often been used for biblical scenes in movies and TV.


Once at Casolare degli Ulivi, our guests will have the opportunity to discover the beauty of Puglia, through specialized local guides. Below is a list of "experiences" that can be booked through our staff:

  • Tour of Alberobello
  • Burrata immersion
  • Wine tasting in Locorotondo
  • Matera on foot
  • Visit to Monopoli
  • Visit Martina Franca
  • Meeting with a papier maché artisan
  • Discovering Grottaglie
  • Pugliese music with Pizzica lesson
  • Visit to a Masseria with olive oil tasting
  • Visit to the Citta Bianca (Ostuni)
  • Polignano "per mare per terram" (by sea and by land)
  • Wine tasting in a "micro-cantina"