Matera is a city known for its caves. The entire place is built on top of and carved out of rocks. There are some spectacular views in Matera, but I’d suggest wearing sneakers because you’ll have to traverse to the top of this stone city to catch them! A fun fact? The Passion of the Christ, directed by Mel Gibson, was filmed in Matera! But the city only became a more popular attraction in the last five years or so, making it delightfully unknown to most Americans.
About an hour east of Matera is the prettiest little town called Alberobello…emphasis on the bello 😉. It’s known for its hundreds of trulli, which are whitewashed stone huts with cone shaped roofs. Very different from the usual Italian architecture we’re used to seeing! Walking around, you’ll find the cutest little shops with plenty of hand-crafted treasures and breathtaking scenes.
Ostuni is known as the white city. It’s whitewashed in a similar way to Alberobello, but much bigger and with more classic Italian architecture. People will be out and about shopping and hanging around in the square until 12-1am every night, so make sure you get your midday siesta in. Oh, and don’t be surprised if you see women hobbling around in fancy heels despite the cobblestoned walkways…southern Italy is all about dressing to the nines at all costs!
Oh Lecce. If you’re looking for stereotypical tiny Italian streets bustling with people and glistening with a certain kind of indescribable magic, Lecce is your place. The mix of modern street art and historic basilicas and cathedrals reminded me of Florence a little bit. But Lecce is almost at the very bottom of Italy’s heel, which means beaches aren’t too far away!
Polignano a Mare
Speaking of beaches, Polignano a Mare is one of Italy’s most beautiful beach towns. Often outshined by other Italian beach destinations, Polignano a Mare is incredibly popular among Italians. With beautiful ocean views, a little beach wedged between grottos, and plenty of shopping, it’s truly a beach experience you can’t find in America!
Seafood. Please get seafood here! Bari has the best of both worlds - it’s a huge city, but is right on the water, which means you can go swimming and eat the freshest seafood you’ll ever taste. You should check out the Bari Cathedral, Castello Normanno-Svevo, and downtown Bari! Now excuse me while I go dream about fried calamari…
Stay tuned for next week where I’ll show you how I styled my Anjé Silk in Tee in black throughout the trip! And let us know if you have any other hidden gems of southern Italy by commenting below!