Is’ the light the first thing that hits you when you arrive in Puglia. A light that, for intensity, reminds me of my Sicily. Here is vibrant, amplified by the dazzling white of the Itria Valley and the Murgia of Trulli and peeks through the branches of olive trees. From these places I chose to start my itinerary: a 4 day trip, perfect for a long weekend. First stop Ostuni, before visiting Ceglie Messapica, Carovigno, Martina Franca, Locorotondo, Alberobello, Cisternino. As always, I am limited to visit the villages and I wanted to enter the productive heart of the territory visiting dairies, biscuit companies, sausage, oil mills and, Obviously, gourmet restaurants and pizzerias. For lovers of good food, the Puglia represents today an absolute must. His cooking is 360 degrees and has great raw: extra virgin olive oil and cheeses, from the Adriatic fish meats, through a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Are many, then, the souvenir wine events that you can take home.
OSTUNI – Ostuni, the White City, VA admired from afar, curled up on his small hill and strained skyward: the old town is a maze of narrow streets and stairways that lead from piazza della Libertà, dominated by the Church convent of San Francesco, until the Santa Maria Assunta Cathedral. Along the Via Cathedral dont attract the many stores that offer food and souvenirs and concentrate on the buildings that line the street with their portals, the coats of arms of the families of old nobility and ornate balconies, to open the eyes in front of the Cathedral in Romanesque Gothic. Behind you will find the beautiful Arch of Sighing, built by Frederick II of Swabia and dating from 1230.
In my opinion, the best thing to do in Ostuni is getting lost in the alleys that form concentric circles around the Cathedral. In fact, looking at Ostuni from above you can see the town's medieval spiral plant. Arm yourself with good shoes, because the roads are implacably uphill or downhill and, Obviously, There are many steps. The houses, all painted with white lime, are partly renovated and decorated with care, using brightly colored flowers that stand out in gaudy colours and white doors. Look no further, however, only the Nice, in Ostuni, because even the humble houses and crumbling streets have a charm that never abandons them.
WHERE TO EAT IN OSTUNI – The restaurant Coffee Cavour was founded in 1999: born as a cafeteria and, floor plan, becomes restaurant. Is’ located near Piazza Libertà and you dine inside an oil mill with stone vaults, very well restored and recovered, tastefully decorated with beautiful local ceramics (that envy): in table delicacies, especially fish, reinterpreted by the chef Fabrizio Nacci. Always passionate about cooking and self-taught, N offers an authentic cuisine that points to the freshness of the ingredients the chef personally chooses. Among the starters, raw sea urchins, artichokes at low temperature with black truffle, and the Octopus with turnip cream and ricotta salata. Among the first, Don't miss the pasta with anchovy sauce and chopped olives, Capers, pine nuts and walnuts; spaghetti with Octopus sauce with creamy onion; orecchiette with potetoes yellow, capocollo di Martina Franca and bell pepper crusco. Among the second, so much fresh fish but also the Lamb shank with potatoes and carrots and other typical dishes of Puglia. In the Hall, There's the lovely wife of the chef, courteous and attentive. Good choice of regional wines. Prices range from 20 seconds to 8 euro euro appetizers. The fresh fish menu is 60 euros per kilogram.
I recommend, don't look just straight up to Ostuni and be careful where you put your feet, because under your shoes are the Chianca, an ancient paved characteristic of many cities of Puglia, that was often used for the floors of the houses, of trulli and farmhouses. Stop to admire the beautiful portals across the country, they often identify noble houses, How many calls: the Church of San Giacomo, Santa Maria del Carmine, di San Pietro, of the Holy Spirit, mostly in Baroque style. Is there anything I need to do if you are in Ostuni: outputs from the historical centre, move to the countryside and admire it at night. The impression is that of a silent crib, watched over by a curtain of trees.
WHERE TO STAY IN OSTUNI – Next to the Church of the Capuchins, not far from Piazza della Libertà, There is Palazzo Rhodium, a 19th-century returned to life by the owners, Teresa and Paul, I have hosted with that generosity and familiarity that is typical of southern Italy. The building, built in 1852, is one of the most interesting examples of architecture from the 1800s of Ostuni and Rhodium family for generations. Closed for years after the disappearance of mom, It has now been restored with care, without changing the appearance. Four rooms, very spacious, for 12 beds in total: original floors, elegant frescoes on the walls and ceilings, original furniture (Persian rugs, Lace Curtains, family objects), with bright views of sunny terraces and a garden of lemons. Each room also has a kitchen and bathrooms totally new. Teresa is very close to the places where she grew up and lived and has put in this restructuring an attention to detail: from handmade bagels with which welcome guests, up to natural soaps from a small local herbalist. Teresa and Paul, living in Verona, continue to exploit each time to return to Ostuni and refine the structure with many small details increasingly treated. Prices (per room) range from 80 euros in low season to high season 180 euro.
GOURMET BREAK IN OSTUNI – If you love coffee, in Ostuni you can pause gourmet sipping some special mixture to roasting Black Seeded, whose origins are linked to the city of Lecce from 1923 and in particular to the Orlando family, that in roasting coffee and toast it crafted Salento daily imported. Family-run and is now in its fourth generation. Open to Ostuni in 2012, offers coffee from around the world as well as some unobtainable Presidia, including the Harenna and Hue Tenango. The owner is one of the greatest Italian experts of coffee and will advise you on the mixture right for you?.
WHERE TO EAT IN OSTUNI – There is a place that the Ostuni are very familiar, where do they go when they want to celebrate an important anniversary or enjoy genuine local cuisine, made of a very long sequence of appetizers, hearty and tasty meat starters. Located outside the village, in The Closed, the Trullo dell'angelo is a true place, sincere, rustic. Housed in a small trullo, then over the years expanded, It is family run. Giovanni, that takes care of the Hall, is a thoughtful and generous host. With about 25 euros, in the table comes with everything: mozzarella, ricotta, Zucchini in SADA, Eggplant, homemade buns, horse chops rolls, the legendary fried panzerotti with tomato and mozzarella, risotto with shrimp, orecchiette with broccoli, stewed rabbit in Ostuni, roast meats, homemade desserts, from the fruit Jam Tarts cream puffs.
CEGLIE MESSAPICA – Ceglie Messapica is one of the pearls of the Itria Valley. This center of about 20 thousand inhabitants is known as the cradle of the Apulian gastronomy, given the presence of numerous traditional and popular restaurants, also starred, that interpret and carry on the great traditions messapiche. Ceglie, though, not only is gastronomy. Its old town, made of alleys and narrow streets, worth a visit for a few hours: the Church of Santa Maria Assunta, with its collegiate church, to those of Agios Dimitrios and Saint Dominic, Ducal Castle and the Church of San Rocco. Ceglie, the headquarters of the Accademia della cucina, welcomes the visitor in a discreet but proud, knowing full well that sooner or later you will have to sit at the table.
COOKIE CARROLL – Ceglie is one of the most characteristic of the place confectionery products: cookie Carroll, traditionally made at home and in some bakeries. Is’ a slow food Presidium and is made with raw materials still owns all the agro Ceglie messapica and then at 0 km: almonds, the eggs, honey, lemon, the liqueur with lemon and cherry jam. Is’ a gluten-free cookie, very easy to prepare, and is considered still the sweet of recurrences. His discipline is guarded by the consortium of Biscuit Ceglie messapica, in bringing together seven manufacturers. The Pastry Madi is one of the members of the Consortium bakeries. Born in 1979, is a family business: the founder Alberto moved to Carroll from the nearby town of Martina Franca. Even today, Peter, his wife Rosita, his sister Sonia, mamma Lucia, the brothers-in-law Angelo and Joseph are carrying on the tradition of this typical biscuit, but don't miss the Petit Fours, pasticciotti, almond cookies and, in the evening, the panzerotti served piping hot. The almonds are roasted, mix with sugar and mixed with eggs, honey, lemon liqueur. You get a paste which is then hand knitted and stuffed with cherry jam. It is cut into pieces and cooked in the oven at 180 degrees for ten minutes. It keeps for a long time and tradition has it that sometimes topped with a chocolate glaze, to increase its shelf life.
WHERE TO EAT IN CEGLIE – After careful evaluation, my choice fell on Cibus, a restaurant situated on the premises of a 15th century former convent, with beautiful stone vaults: its peculiarity is the careful exploitation of territorial products, like the truffle of Murgia or capocollo of Martina Franca. Lam Silibello runs from 1994, with his family. Cibus is, in fact, a place to make a dining experience at 360 degrees of the Apulian agri-food. I recommend you try the small appetizers of the territory (8 euro): Scalloped potatoes, wild asparagus omelette, stracciatella podolian beef with truffle, panzanella of cabbage and mushrooms; then choose a traditional first, as the puree of Fava Beans with chicory terracotta (12 euros), served with a fresh diced raw peppers or olives mennelle webbing on puree of dried broad beans and pecorino (12 euros); among the second, the inevitable mixed Grill with capocollo and sausages, baked in the stove with wood coals (12 euros) and the characteristic spicy horse meat sauce with bread dumplings (8 euro). The restaurant also selects its own extra virgin olive oil, "Cibus", and the offers on the table with the bread made with yeast. In addition, has a large variety of local cheeses. If you choose Cibus, ask to visit the Hall of aging and maturing of caciocavalli: you will be seduced, especially by the scents. The prices of the main dishes are between 8 and 13 euros, the seconds between 10 and 18 euros and desserts all at 4 euro. For the record,, There is also a restaurant in Ceglie, The Stove-By Ricci.
ALBEROBELLO – Needs no introduction Alberobello. The 1996 World Heritage, with its monumental village of over 1400 trulli is perhaps the best known country in Apulia, When we talk about tourism. The vast expanse of trulli, Stone huts with a circular base and cover, is something spectacular and unique in the world. The streets Montenero, Monte San Michele, Monte San Marco which connect the Largo Martellotta with the upper part are always very crowded and are a string of stores that unfortunately, with a few exceptions, sell magnets, souvenirs and objects that "made in Puglia” have very little. Nevertheless, the place still has a very strong magic, who manages to make forget tourist overexposure. I particularly enjoyed walking in the "Little Hernia" ward, the best preserved, in front of the most touristic area, where the shops there are and where the trulli are not converted into restaurants or shops but are the houses of families of Alberobello or ads for guests. Don't forget, though, the trulli are constructions that are scattered in the countryside throughout the Itria Valley, and some group of trulli set among olive groves and vineyards are beautifully preserved.
WHERE TO EAT IN ALBEROBELLO – The Plough – In Alberobello, do not hesitate and sit at the restaurant The Plough, where the whimsical Seadog Lac wanders between tables to suggest to the customer the specials. Her cooking is traditional with excellent raw materials from Puglia. In paper, a convenient four-course tasting menu at 40 euro (plough antipastro, two first, According to typical and sweet). But I would recommend that you try the mixed starters (18 euros but later you won't be able to eat again), to have a precise idea of cuisine. I tried the ricotta with figs cooked in the oven and brush up spousal jam (place fresh onion), focaccia pugliese, dairy products provided by the dairy Barn in Alberobello. Among the first (all between 10 and 12 euros) We tried the tasty fricelli (a semolina pasta) with cauliflower in Polignano a Mare, tomato flask (slow food) and caciocavallo podolico and bread sauce. Among the second (10-18 euro), We didn't get a room unavailable tiella paesana: an abundant local lamb stew, served with potatoes and wild onions that cooked in broth for about three hours over an open fire inside a crock, so is portioned and made au gratin with cheese, Bay leaves and herbs. Among the desserts, I tried a tasty almond semifreddo with almond milk.
THE COUNTRYSIDE OF PUGLIA – To turn the most of Apulia should no doubt a car. Because one of the best things to do is stop along provincial and municipal roads to admire the beauty of the vegetation, made of Mediterranean, wild herbs, fruit trees and especially olive trees, that make up the landscape. But Puglia is also a land of sea, so do not miss a walk on the beach within the natural reserve of Torre Guaceto, in the area of Cala dei Ginepri or Costa Merlata, named for the Crescent-shaped formations of natural coves.
LOCOROTONDO – Locorotondo is a country that I liked most of all. The extreme whiteness of the village (so named for its circular design) the attention of the inhabitants to beautify and coloring their homes with plants, flowers, traditional items like baskets, vases, embroidered curtains, colored tables and chairs, but also the tourist vocation not mass. The doors have bright colors ranging from green to blue and small local arts and crafts shops overlook the cobbled streets with chianche.
Characteristic also pointed roofs of houses and small means arches that connect the houses, clear remnant of medieval. At Easter, and I'm coming to Locorotondo just behind the end of Easter, the inhabitants have a curious habit: they usually hang small rag dolls, resembling the witches, on the wires for drying clothes. This is the Quarantana, the grieving wife of Carnival, symbol of abstinence during Lent. In addition to stroll the streets, discovering the small details that make Locorotondo so beautiful, be sure to visit the Chiesa madre dedicated to San Giorgio, the door Lecce and porta Napoli, Palazzo Morelli and the old town hall.
WHERE TO EAT IN LOCOROTONDO – The restaurant that I recommend to Locorotondo is, without hesitation, U Curdunn: Stone vaults, lots of light, colorful pottery on the walls and great care in mise en place. "In’ Curdunn” is a traditional restaurant where you don't have to give up try the entrees, "The Goodies of U Curdunn” (20 euro, but a Starter is more than enough for two people): fresh ricotta and capocollo di Martina Franca, Artichokes in oliocottura, pumpkin blossom into batter, vegetable patties, Eggplant rolls and Bacon, mashed broad beans with chicory. Among the first courses, I recommend the classic meat sauce and meatballs orecchiette (12 euros): along with the dish of orecchiette with tomato sauce, you will be led to a broken part inside the traditional Apulian rolls (involtini which) and Grandma's meatballs. You hardly eat anything else. Yet, the inevitable strascinate fresh with turnip and cheese of the poor, or fried bread (10 euro). I couldn't continue with the seconds, given the abundance of portions but in paper you find peasant Puglia dishes such as the "gnummariedd” (sheep innards wrapped in the gut, a 10 euro), stracotto d'asino (14 euros), masseria rabbit with garden fragrances (14 euros) and the Lamb (15 euros). Among the desserts: missed the sporcamuso, with custard (5 euros): a layer of puff pastry and cream and icing sugar. Biting the dessert is impossible not to get dirty.
MOZZARELLA, BRAIDS, KNOTS AND BURRATA – On the subject of cheese, the name Puglia is synonymous with burrata, that is its highest point at the Andria Igp. To Cheese Pretzel Locorotondo the milk arrives every day by delivering on the territory. The company, managed by S, works on average 500 litres of milk per day from which, with the addition of rennet, salt and yeast, you get milk, mozzarella cheese cutlets, burrata, torn up. Obviously, don't stoop to stringy but here they also produce cheese and cacioricotta. The production process is entirely handmade and banned the use of additives or preservatives. Angel, the master cheese maker, He started doing this work on August 5, 1975, When I had just ten days old. His hands are now accustomed to tap water to over 90 degree weather and feel the texture of the pasta filata to understand when it's time to start working. The only technological aid to the dairy Pretzel is a forming machine that turns the pasta filata cheese in a tube from which manually Domenico gets tiny knots, braids, mozzarella cheese of various sizes. For the most important dimensions, though, you have to do everything by hand and Angelo creates amazing strands of mozzarella over a pound of weight, by making it seem the art of stretched curd crossing a simple thing. Even the burrata is all hand made: the knots of mozzarella are tattered and soaked in cream, then Angel prepares a mozzarella leaf which is wrapped the precious contents of cream and torn up. The dairy S opens again its doors to tourists and clients. I suggest you really don't miss the spectacle of string cheese, one of the traditions for which Italy is famous for around the world.
CAROVIGNO – Another not to be missed is Carovigno and not only because it is one of the cities of taste with Ceglie Messapica. Carovigno is a town with medieval clear imprint, mastered by Castello Dentice di Frasso (Fifteenth century) and surrounded by the churches of Santa Maria Assunta e di Sant'Anna. The old town is very small but contains some beautiful portals of nobiliary buildings, ocher, and views not to be missed, like the Town Hall square chianche paved, where do you find also the seventeenth-century Church of Carmine.
Where to eat in CAROVIGNO – This small country is a must because, In addition to hosting the starred restaurant Already under the arch, is also home to the restaurant “Creativity” chef Danilo Life, emerging chef Award winner for the South in 2013 and with experiences in restaurants in Italy and abroad. Danilo wanted to renovate his grandmother's House to bring in Carovigno a kitchen that speaks of territory with intelligence and a solid technique never an end in itself. I'll tell you in detail all the items you can see in these pictures and the philosophy of this chef pugliese in review You can read by clicking here.
CISTERNINO – The origins of Cisternino date back to the tenth century, When around the Church of St Nicholas of Patara arose the first houses of farmers and shepherds. In 1300 he began the construction of the system of walls and towers that once surrounded the entire village. Of these towers today only four remain, but the antiquity of the historic center (divided in districts) clearly while walking among the houses of white stone walls, with narrow stairs, stone arches, alleys and masks. In the medieval heart of this country, Don't miss the Church of purgatory, the present convent in the ancient palazzo Devitofranceschi, Bbere Vecchje area (the old village, among the oldest parts of the country) with buttresses and balconies dating from the 14th century. Have fun discovering in each corner a small detail to photograph.
WHERE TO EAT IN CISTERNINO – Home of the characteristic "Fornelli", Butcher where the meat is cooked and served in the preparations more features like the involtini which, the gnumariedd and the bowler hats (veal rolls stuffed with cheese and cooked on the grill), Cisternino offers one of the best pizzas I have eaten lately. That of pizzeria Double Zero: the pizza maker is Neapolitan and his name is Manuel Stentardo. In the starters are inserted products that represent the best of Italy, and not only: from Parma ham Dop, the Bologna Pgi, from the PDO lard Serrano ham. All cutting boards with cold meats and cheeses range from 12 to 14 euros: Bacon and cheese are not served during the summer and, It is stated in the menu, We do not accept variations in pizzas. The dough (very little yeast and flours of the Molino Caputo) is traditional or integral. Among the ingredients you prefer those of season. In anticipation of our cured meats we enjoyed the pickled olives offered by the House and a beer produced by the brewery pugliese Eleventh in Trinitapoli (La Jouissance spiced belgian ale). Pizzas range from 6 € to 10 € of Daisy wholemeal pizza. We tried two pizzas: "Sicula” (7 euros), with Daisy, Red sardines, olives of the variety leccino and oregano from forest; and the pizza "double zero” (9 euro), with Daisy, Board stuffed with ricotta and herb mix. Contrary to what I read in some comments on social, I found the staff to be friendly and outgoing, well prepared and ready to offer explanations and to meet the needs of the customer.
PASTRY SHOP SAINT MARTIN – Walking through the streets of Baroque Martina Franca, absolute must to buy capocollo di Martina Franca which has here the main centre of production, you have to stop for a coffee break at the <strong>Pastry Saint Martin. Here you will find pasticciotti with all kinds of stuffing, traditional and modern pastry, home made ice cream, a top quality coffee. If you're lucky enough to find fried panzerotti mignon just don't let them get away.
CAPOCOLLO DI MARTINA FRANCA – Butchers Romanelli holds for generations the art of realization of Capocollo of Martina Franca. This sausage is slow food and is produced following a careful specification, that gradually is becoming more and more restrictive with a view to the obtaining of the protected designation of origin. Nino Romanelli will explain the techniques of realization of this excellence of the Itria Valley. Here you can see the video of production, but I invite you to Click here to discover all the secrets of this extraordinary sausage, where everything speaks of territory and craftsmanship
MASSERIA BRANCATI – Apulia is an ancient land of olive oil production. In Ostuni, Masseria Brancati, that is also an agriturismo, guards inside one of the oldest oil mills of the Mediterranean and a park of olive trees. Corrado Rhodium, ostunese deeply attached to their land, oil producer, is the ideal guide for a visit at the farm and its stories from Roman times, Since some of the olives present might be the ones mentioned by the agronomist Columella, go to the Saracen invasions in the middle ages and Renaissance, until the contemporary era. Il frantoio, in particular is a layering of different ages. Let us therefore lead by Conrad in a passionate explanation of its history, with lots of detail and plot twists.
At the Masseria Brancati there are 800 year-old olive trees, they are all listed by region and considered national monument. Within a radius of 40 km, between the towns of Carovigno, Ostuni, Fasano and monopoly is the highest density of ancient olive trees of the Mediterranean. In 2015, work began to present the candidacy dossier to Unesco of this great range, and in 2017 was submitted an application for entry in the register of the historical landscapes of the Ministry of agriculture. Strolling through the olive groves, You can have fun to find the most varied forms, but the best moment is when the sunset burns the silhouettes twisted olive trees that cling on themselves creating strange paths. The olive tree that you see in this picture represented the Puglia to Expo and, According to Corrado, could have 3 to 4 thousand years from: It rises on a rock outside the neat rows of plants probably arranged by the Romans. It is said that the olive tree is a plant eternal, because when the master is dying you can revive one of side shoots. This olive branch might have much to tell, Although we do not know his tongue.
CELLAR ALBEA – Dates back to 1905 the Cellar-Museum Albea in Alberobello, one of the oldest in Apulia. Producer of red wines with classic grapes Primitivo, Negroamaro and Uva di Troia, But even white Fiano di Puglia, the Bianco d'alessano and Fiano Minutolo. "He” a Pgi Puglia rosso, based on Uva di Troia, is the wine that I preferred. Cellar Albea produces about 250 thousand bottles but inside it boasts one of the most interesting wine museums of the territory: from the ancient Assembly devices in the vineyard and in the cellar, in a rare historical collezionen of labels and bottles from Puglia, but also from all over Italy.
WHAT TO BUY – This corner of Puglia is full of tidbits that you can take home or make you ship. Let's start with the beautiful handmade pottery for sale in Ostuni from Suma: the typical Apulian cone up to elegant lamps openwork and entire services of plates and glasses. Always in Ostuni, for those who are attentive to your skin, There are natural cosmetics organic extra virgin olive oil processed by Labo naturae: Marie Antoinette Trinchera chooses and creates a personal mix of oils and essences to attract soaps, all-natural face creams and body creams. Then, in Alberobello, the hand-woven fabrics for sale in small shops that dot the streets among the trulli. Speaking of food, It is mandatory to mention olive oil from Puglia, the tomato of Torre Guaceto, the artichoke nero di Ostuni, the fiordilatte, the burrata and caciocavallo. And still: capocollo di Martina Franca, the pastries filled with cream and black cherry (in Ostuni the best are eaten by Pasquale Ladogana in via Tanzarella Vitale). Try and buy the taralli artisanal bakeries, cookie Carroll, the nuns ' breasts (a dessert made of sponge Spain and custard) and the focaccia pugliese with cherry tomatoes. Obviously, to taste on the spot, the typical fried panzerotti stuffed with mozzarella and tomato, but also "gnumariedd” and "bombs".