About Puglia and Basilicata
Puglia is ‘salt of the earth’ beautiful. Far removed from the lush rolling hills further north, this is an semi-arid region, notable for its endless olive groves and sparkling blue sea. It is almost other-worldly at times, especially when visiting the Trulli town of Alberobello, with its strange conical houses. The Masseria hotels on the coast around Fasano are simply breathtaking in their rustic beauty. A little further north, Polignano a Mare and Trani are two beautiful coastal towns worth a visit. Polignano a mare is built on a cliff edge and is quite spectacular to look at, whereas Trani is an immaculately preserved slow food city. The white-washed hilltop towns of Ostuni, Cisternino and Locorontondo are perfectly quaint and well worth a day trip at the very least, just avoid on weekends or in the height of summer when their narrow lanes are clogged with ambling tourists.
Matera is the jewel of Basilicata and could win the prize of ‘most spectacular city in Italy’. According to Fodors, it is ‘the only place in the world where people can boast to be still living in the same houses of their ancestors of 9,000 years ago’. These Sassi houses built into stones are suspected to be some of the first human settlements in Italy and it is for this reason that UNESCO declared the Sassi a World Heritage Site as the oldest continually occupied area in the world. You have to see this place to believe it, and there is no better hotel to experience cave living than from Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita.