we are returning to rome for two weeks to catch up on all the things we had to rush thru-AND want to travel south where family was from. We have been to the north/tuscany/venice etc----------is the "SOUTH" WORTH A COUPLE OF WEEKS? Beaches? Sites? etc? Any information and or suggestions are appreciated-traveling in sept oct 2013.grazie mille
If you don't get a lot of helpful responses here, you might try the TripAdvisor forums which have site-specific forums for almost everywhere in Italy. Here: http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g187768-i20-Italy.html
annette, YES, the south is absolutely worth a couple of weeks (or more), at least IMHO. You'll probably find that transportation is not as well developed in the south, so using public transit will be more challenging. Renting a car would probably be the best idea (keeping in mind the usual "caveats" regarding an I.D.P. and ZTL areas). I haven't been to all of the places on your list, but Matera and Alberobello are incredible! You might also add Vieste to the list. Happy travels!
grazie mille----i will check out the forum--now to find some airfare-thanks again
Annette, definitely worth a couple of weeks or more. Each of the places you mention has distinct qualities. I would add a day in Bari (perhaps not an overnight) to see the Old Town and the Cathedral. Matera is one of my favorite places, I can recommend a B&B if you like, just steps away from the main street to the Sassi. Another interesting spot is Otranto, at the very tip of the heel. If you get as far north as Vieste, the Tremiti Islands offer another environment. It sounds like you will be in Puglia, for the most part. Beaches tend to be flat and sandy, but there are plenty of them.
Annette, we did all of the above in two weeks and absoluelty loved it! The sites, food, my wife loved shoppng for shoes..... Drove from Rome (4+hrs, much was beautiful) flew back (either Bari or Brindisi) on lo-cost inter EU airlines that you can find on Whichbudget.com. We felt that a rental car was a must. Bring your GPS from home and a small Michelin map of Italy. Look at bases like the mini Sienna-like town of Lecce, and the awesome little seaside towns of Otranto and Trani. Use them for day trips to all of the sites. We used the Lonely Planet guidebook for great info. Should be great in Sept, but probably really quiet in Oct. Ask about this on Trip Advisor. Read the review from the NY Times:
We spent 3 weeks in this area in October. You'll have a wonderful time, especially since your family came from there. Fabulous food and wine. We visited every place in your list except for Potenza. Some of my suggestions are: 1) This would be easiest to do if you're driving. We did partly rental car, part public transportation, and the buses/trains can be a bit tricky, especially the further south you go. Bring a GPS with Italian maps. 2) Matera is amazing ... I think 2 nights is enough to spend there. We stayed in a great cave hotel with a wonderful underground spa ... Locanda di San Martino. Highly recommended. 3) Then find a masseria in the Val d'Itria and use it as your base. We spent 5 nights in one near Torre Canne, and it was one of the highlights of our trip. We had a car here, and took easy day trips to Locorotondo, Alberobello, Ostuni. Ours was Masseria Montenapoleone, which we loved. Lots of others to choose from. Torre Canne has a small beach, or you could easily day trip to other towns along the coast. 4) We spent a week in Lecce, which was way too long. It's kind of an odd place ... extravagent Baroque architecture and filled with churches. I would suggest, instead, staying in Galipoli (which was gorgeous) and using that as your base for the Salento peninsula. Or possibly find another masseria near Lecce or Otranto to use as your base for this area. One thing to keep in mind is that there is much less tourist infrastructure in this part of Italy. Most towns will truly close down totally between 2 and about 5 or 6 pm every day, and then restaurants don't reopen until 8. So I would recommend staying in an apartment or masseria where you can have some snacks available. Also, brush up on your Italian!
Hi Everyone-Many thanks for all the inputI have been doubting about travel in the Heel but thanks to all of you it sounds like that is what my husband and I are looking for. Torre Canne sounds and looks , from the pictures on line, to be fabulous-any suggestions on where to stay? Also we were going to drive back to Rome to catch a flight however I am going to look into flying from Bari-annette
There are some hotels along the beach in Torre Canne; check Trip Advisor to see what is recommended. If you want to splurge, check out Borgo Egnazia, the 5-star resort near Torre Canne where Justin Timberlake got married last October (while we were there, but somehow not invited to the wedding!). Or you can do what we did and stay at a nearby masseria, which is usually a large farm complex (similar to an agriturismo) with orchards and olive groves. Masseria Montenapoleone had a swimming pool, wonderful breakfasts (including eggs if you asked), was about a five-minute drive from Torre Canne in one direction and maybe 30 minutes from Alberobello or Locorotondo in the other. Very peaceful. We loved staying there. A masseria is a distinctly Puglian experience, highly recommended. One thing to keep in mind with Italian beach towns is that some restaurants and shops will be closed in October; however, when we were there in mid-October there were still plenty of choices, and the weather was unseasonably warm, so we had a great time.