Hi, all! I'm planning a trip to southern Italy for late May. I'll be driving from Sorrento to Matera and am trying to decide on my next stop after staying 2 nights in Matera. The next stop will mainly be for beach loveliness. Is it worth the drive time, etc., to go all the way to Vieste for my last two days? Or is someplace like Polignano a Mare or Monopoli just as nice? (Either way, I'm going to swing through a town with trulli houses, maybe Alberobello.) I'll be flying out of Rome after 2 nights in whatever final destination I choose. Thanks for whatever help you can offer!
I have not been to Vieste, but just based on photos of it and my visit to Monopoli, the beaches will be more beautiful in Vieste. It is a bit of a slog drive-wise though, and in late May will be very very quiet. Since you wish to visit the trulli area, I would say Polignano or Monopoli make more sense. Monopoli is great for a seafood lover.
Just south of Monopoli, the beaches in Park Parco Naturale Regionale Dune Costiere da Torre are quite pretty--huge dunes.
Unless you have a late afternoon or evening flight out of Rome, it would be unwise to spent the night before 500km, or a 6 hour drive, from the airport. Even then there's some risk, so you may want to tweak your itinerary to return to Rome the evening before your flight. If on the other hand you have a single plane ticket from Bari to FCO to home, then staying in one of the beach towns closer to Bari would be the better choice.