With three days in Alberobello and Locorotondo, you’ll have enough time to delve into Puglia’s highlights and even cross the border into neighboring Basilicata. From the central Itria Valley, head north to Bari, south to Lecce, and west to the ancient rupestrian city of Matera. Here are your options for three days of exploration.
Day 1: The Heart of Puglia
Begin your day in Alberobello, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s home to more than 1,000 round stone trulli cottages, unique to this valley. Then move on to Locorotondo, a hushed, whitewashed town with sweeping views over the surrounding valley. Opt for a walking tour through the historic center or a bike tour that takes in both the village and countryside. If you still have time, visit quieter valley locations such as the fishing village of Polignano a Mare or medieval Conversano. History enthusiasts can choose a guided visit of Castel del Monte or the Gnatia archaeological ruins, while a wine tasting, olive oil tour, or visit to the salami-producing town of Martina Franca will satisfy gourmands.
Day 2: Cities North and South
The Itria Valley is also home to two of Puglia’s most vibrant cities: Bari to the north and Lecce to the south. Join a walking tour to explore Bari’s old town, Bari Vecchia, thick with pretty churches, bustling squares, and a warren of backstreets. Alternatively, set your sights on the Salento Peninsula, and spend the day admiring the ornate baroque architecture in the center of Lecce. Known as the “Florence of the South” for its elegance and cultural riches, this city is best-visited with a guide to fully appreciate its intricately decorated monuments.
Day 3: Matera, the Cave City
Perched on the slope of a ravine in the neighboring region of Basilicata, Matera is one of the most significant and famous destinations in southern Italy. This unique city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and European Capital of Culture, has developed above a network of hundreds of ancient caves and grottoes, used as homes and churches over a millennia. Many of the historic cave dwellings, known as sassi, have been renovated into luxury hotels, gourmet restaurants, and trendy art galleries. Spend your last day on a guided day trip to take a deep dive into the history and evolution of this singular hill town, and visit its historic caves, baroque churches, and narrow lanes joined by steep staircases.