Hilltop Towns in Italy Discover Puglia
If you are looking for wine and food tours in Italy, Martina Franca. Locorotondo, Ostuni, Putignano, Alberobello and Noci are hilltop towns that should be on your radar in Puglia. There are lanes to get lost in– like stepping back in time. Timeless in lifestyle and other than Alberobello and Ostuni, these towns are relatively undiscovered. Wines in Puglia .
All these towns are located in the central region of Puglia, so ideal for three days of exploring especially when you spend some time for lunch at any one of the traditional trattoria’s with wines of Puglia. Although Puglia is the least mountainous region of Italy, these towns stand out for their elevated locations and almost white buildings, most built from Ivory stone, dominant on the skyline.
Puglia such a special place to visit.
If you are looking for beautiful towns, pristine beaches, great food and good weather, you only need to go to Puglia . This region in the heel of Italy’s boot is full of ancient sites and charming destinations. From olive trees and hilltop towns, to spectacular trulli (the typical houses of the Alberobello’s area), Puglia is a top destination for everyone wants to discover a different and no-touristic place. This is how Culture Trip describe the Italian region of Puglia
Must visit Farmers Markets
The best way to discover what is special to the town is to visit the farmer’s markets, and every town has a market day, some twice a week. This is the place for the locals to keep in touch and a place where the elders will be sitting, probably around a bocce game discussing life in the village. Its always my first stop to meet the locals, and I have made so many contacts who have remained friends and whom we now visit their fattoria (farm) as part of our tours. These are memorable visits.
Freshly baked breads from the Prodotti da forno , cheeses made for consumption with 24 hours from the local Casaro are on display, along with mushrooms gathered and piled high. Tomatoes so red and delicious. It’s a feast for the eyes. Seek out Burrata cheese, the cheese of Puglia.
#1 MARTINA FRANCA
Martina Franca with its walled old city has a labyrinth of incredible lanes and walkways all linked to and around the Piazza Plebiscito. Don’t rely on GPS tracking, the walls are solid here, but every corner you turn offers a new experience, with trattorias in the most obscure places.
Try to find out which la macellaria (butcher shop) is holding their BBQ night. It’s hard to find, but it’s a tradition worth seeking out. Wednesday is market day, and the farmers market is at the far end of the market space.
If you need a specific reason to visit Loco it’s the town itself, so dominant from a distance, with its white buildings. Located between Martina Franca and Alborabello it draws you in with its presence. The town has been classified as one of the most beautiful in Italy (Borghi più belli d’Italia). While not having any “attractions” it is a serene hilltop town.
There are many trattoria to sample local cuisine and the DOC Locorotondo wine (Verdeca & Bianco d’Alessano grape varieties). My choice, a slow food ristorante called Perbacca. Completely non-descript from the street, once inside, its Slow Food Heaven, and recognised in the Slow Food bible, (The Osterie de Italia guide) as being one of the best Slow Food restaurants in Italy. The markets in Locorotondo take place on Friday, and are predominantly locavore produce.
Famous for the limestone Trulli houses, Alberobello is probably the most well-known of all the towns in the Valle d’Itria. To avoid the truly touristy area when visiting the Trulli, head for the area known as Rione Aia Piccola, which portrays a far more peaceful Italian lifestyle. If you are looking for really good local cuisine, ask a local where they eat. It will be in the main part of the town, maybe Trullo Doro, or La Cantina, a wonderful place to mix and drink with the locals. Markets here are on Thursday.
Heading west from Alberobello, yet another old town that typifies a time gone by, well worth exploring, is Noci. As you wander here, you’ll see the Italian lifestyle in this quaint little town is alive and well. There are some remarkably good masseria, country estates found in the Puglia region, to stay at, and offering cooking schools and surrounded by olive groves, and vineyards.
Laying claim to the oldest carnival in the world, the first one being staged in 1394, and running for two months each year, Putignano is a festive town. If you are visiting between the end of December and February, you can be assured of watching or participating in some type of celebration. The best part of Putignano is inside the old city, around the Centro Storico. There are many little places to eat and wonderful walking on cobbled streets.
The White City, eight kilometres from the coast in the commune of Brindisi can be seen from miles away due to all the whitewashed buildings in its elevated location. A rich tapestry of history dating back to the 1st Century and now a charming representation of Mediterranean architecture, this city must be on your bucket list of places to visit in Italy.. Built on different levels over periods of time, it now makes for wandering alleyways and winding steps leading to new levels and building styles. Ostuni is very busy in the peak period of August, so to enjoy the best of this wonderful city travel in other months.
To discover more about Puglia go to our regional tours page.
My next story will cover the wines and food in this region.