Puglia

   After leaving Matera, I headed towards Porto Cesareo on the Golfo di Taranto where a new campus of the Koinè language school was going to open. I attended the Lucca school and was interested in a new location. One of the options for student housing was the agriturismo Zanzara. 

The Masseria Zanzara (http://www.masseriazanzara.it/) was shown on the TCI Puglia map so off I went. I drove up to the office without a reservation and was the only overnight guest this early in the season. This location is the site of many large parties for the local population. The day I arrived there was a wedding party and the day I left, they were hosting another family party. Leaving I also found out that I was in the wrong place. The agriturismo is owned by the sister who also owns the very nice restaurant on the property. No one knew about the language school and its actual location.

    From there I visited Gallipoli for lunch and just drove around looking at the views. The geography is very different from Tuscany and other places I’ve visited. 

    The next day I headed for Lecce where I spent the morning and had lunch. After that I drove to Ostuni looking for a masseria that was recommended in the Lonely Planet guide. The gates were locked and the phone listed was out of service so I just drove a little further down the road and lucked out with the wonderful and welcoming Masseria Casamassima. Again because it was early in the season, I was the only overnight guest. I was given a little apartment and breakfast supplies for two days. Ostuni was only a few minutes down the road for other meals. 

    From Ostuni, I was able to easily explore Cisternino, Locorotondo, Alberobello, and Marina Franca.

    My next stay was in Barletta after reading about theft warnings in Trani. Stayed outside the city center in a Best Western with a great restaurant and spa center. The antipasti bar in the evenings was amazing with at least 25 different plates. The massage at the spa was good too. From this location, I drove to Ruvo di Puglia to see the Cathedral and the Museum with the ceramics, which unfortunately closed the day I was there. Next stop was Castel del Monte which can be seen from quite a distance.

    Leaving Barletta, I drove along the coast as much as I could. There were some very nice sand beaches and pull off areas to reach them. I reached the Gargano peninsula and the town of Vieste. This is the area I liked the most and it would be the first place I’d return . 

    Last stops in Puglia were Lucera and Troia.

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