There are no shortage of hotels from which to choose when planning to visit cities in the southern Italy region of Puglia. From Bari to Trani. Brindisi to Lecce. And every city in between.
But in my opinion, much of the region’s charm and character can’t be experienced by booking a typical five-star hotel in one of Puglia’s dynamic and interesting cities. Instead, it comes from staying in one of the more unique types of accommodation that I would highly recommend. Here are two of my favorites.
In other areas of Italy this type of accommodation would be known as an agriturismo. But since Puglia is different from other parts of Italy in so many ways, including language dialects, they are known as masseria (masserie plural).
Many of these fortified farmhouses have been completely restored and can offer a very authentic and homey experience in the region. Offerings range from both simple and rustic to top-of-the-line and luxurious.
Located in the countryside or near the coast, masserie can be found on working farms among gardens, crops, vineyards and perhaps olive groves. Many harvest their own crops, pick and press their own oil or make wine right on their own property. Some may allow you to participate, others love to tour you around their property or depending on the time of year, you may just enjoy the fruits of their labor. A perfect spot for food-lovers and those looking for a slow travel experience and a relaxed pace for their vacation. It’s here you can experience true Puglian hospitality, excellent food, gentle breezes and lovely landscapes.
Obviously the quality, amenities, style (either bed-and-breakfast or self-catered) and price will vary, but the good news on that front is there are so many options, the perfect one exists for everyone. This would be my preferred method of staying and exploring the area.
Clustered in the town of Alberobello Italy, trullo (trulli plural), are unique limestone houses with conical roofs, listed on the UNESCO heritage site. I read someone’s account of their experience who likened them to hobbit homes, and I think it’s a pretty cute analogy. Wish I’d thought of it. In recent years, trulli have been restored to house restaurants, boutiques, food shops and of course vacation homes.
Many of those available for rent are very tiny, sparse and rustic – but others have been totally renovated with extra care being given to keep white interior stone walls and arches intact, while still offering a cozy experience. Again, each particular trullo will vary in the number of rooms and types of amenities. Some modern and updated versions might include things like air-conditioning, laundry facilities and even wi-fi!
Self-catering apartments, trulli villages, hotels and B&B styles can be found both in and around Alberobello and scattered throughout the Itria Valley. Though you could stay in a trullo in the heavily-touristed Alberobello, you could also opt to rent one outside of town which would give you the trullo experience in a more remote and quiet location. Trullo in the countryside may even include things like outdoor ovens, swimming pools and bikes for guests’ use.
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