Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Polignano a Mare + Ostuni, Puglia

Continuing stories of travels in Puglia

The only beach area in Polignano
My last stop in Puglia was to visit the seaside village, Polignano a Mare, just south of Bari. After being disappointed by the beaches in Otranto, I was looking forward to walking along the beach in Polignano, only to discover there are no beaches, only craggy cliffs along the Adriatic coast. But it was a quaint, lovely village, and I enjoyed my two-day stay there.

Piazza San Benedetto,  in front of my room.
I stayed with a B&B service that had rooms scattered around the centro storico (historical center), a small and very quiet area during March. The centro storico is so small that there are only two piazzas, with a web of small alleys leading away from them. The area is well maintained to attract and accommodate the flood of tourists that arrive during the summer months. Unfortunately, the piazza outside my room was lit up all night, bright as day, and the curtains in my room did little to dim the brightness, so it interfered with getting a good night's sleep.

 Piazza Vittorio Emanuale
There was a mile-long lungomare (by the sea) walking path, well used by the locals, which I walked along to view the sunrise and again to enjoy an evening stroll. To be honest, there wasn't much else to do. But I enjoyed being by the sea and watching the fishermen gathered along the cliffs. One of them was listening to old Italian love songs on a boom box and singing along.

Another view of the old town.
Sunrise on the Adriatic coast
While in Polignano, I took a 30-minute train ride to visit Ostuni, commonly referred to as "La Città Bianca" (white city) for its white walls and its white-painted architecture. It's said to have been inhabited in the Stone Age, destroyed by Hannibal, then rebuilt by the Greeks. I'd been eagerly anticipating a visit to this "gem," but once there, was unsure what all the fuss is about. I took a pleasant stroll up a cobblestone street lined with souvenir stands to the cattedrale (cathedral), discovered a palm-lined city garden filled with chatting men, and was ready to leave after two hours. It seems the best view of the town is seen from a distance.

Back in Polignano, I had a good meal in a bustling trattoria, which included a primo of ravioloni (large ravioli) made with eggplant and a secondo of spigola (sea bass), baked with a vegetable crust. All in all, Polignano turned out to be one of my favorite places in Puglia, due to its size, proximity to the sea and quiet, laid back atmosphere. From Polignano, I headed north to Bari to catch the Eurostar to Rome, as my travels in Puglia had come to an end.

From the blog archives, you can read previously written stories about Lecce, Otranto, Alberobello and Matera.


Hotel Jesolo said...

I am glad you enjoyed this wonderful place! Good choice!

Anonymous said...

Hello, I was wondering in which B&B dis you stay in Polignano and if you recommend me to stay in Polignano instead of Ostuni.


marybeth said...

I preferred staying in Polignano because it was very quiet and by the sea. Ostuni was crowded and located inland. Here is information about the place where I stayed:
Buon viaggio!

Hotel B&B Dei Serafini
Address Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, 43
Polignano A Mare, 70044
Phone +393495776033
Fax +390804166035
E-mail albertonistrio@libero.it