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Puglia: must visits in the Itria Valley

Puglia: must visits in the Itria Valley
Puglia: must visits in the Itria Valley
Puglia: must visits in the Itria Valley

Hi babes! I'm back with another post on our trip to Puglia. After leaving the Bari region, we set up base in the beautiful Itria Valley. More specifically in a tiny village right outside of Cisternino, one of Puglia's pretty white washed towns. I wasn't sure if leaving the coast for the countryside would be to our liking, especially since this particular countryside is more of a known tourist destination than the area where we spent our first couple of days. But we ended up falling hard for the Itria Valley.

Picturesque winding roads up and down hills, an abundance of beautiful, sleepy little towns, some of the best and cheapest food you'll ever eat and gorgeous countryside sunsets: what's not to love about that?

First of all I want to tell you a bit about our amazing Airbnb.

Puglia: must visits in the Itria Valley
Puglia: must visits in the Itria Valley

Our Airbnb was a dream: very quiet (except the one afternoon when a huge family had a pool party here), a small but clean and well equipped apartment, and a gorgeously decorated outside space with stunning views of the valley and a salt water pool. The time I spent napping in those cabanas will forever be cherished, and I wish I could translate the scent of the lavender bushes that lined the path to the pool through your screen.

But the best part was absolutely how well situated it was to visit all of the must-visit towns of the area, as the Itria Valley has so much to offer within such a small distance.

Puglia travel guide: Cisternino
Puglia travel guide: Cisternino
Puglia travel guide: Cisternino
Puglia travel guide: Cisternino
Puglia travel guide: Cisternino
Puglia travel guide: Cisternino

Adorable Cisternino stole my heart straight away. Very similar to Locorotondo (in fact, some of these pics might have been shot in Locorotondo, apologies if I mixed them up). Both towns are white washed, small and cozy but still offer plenty of amazing restaurants, shops and general liveliness to keep you entertained. Locorotondo has better views of the valley than Cisternino, but Cisternino has the most picturesque old town center in my humble opinion.

Two addresses for great pizza: Doppio Zero in Cisternino proper, and Il Capriccio which is more on the town's edge. At Doppio Zero get their zucchini flower pizza with the ricotta filled crust. It is even more amazing than it sounds. At Il Capriccio the pizzas are thin crusted and perfectly crispy - some of the best we ever had - but I was even more enamored with their pasta. Copious amounts, ridiculously low prices and the sunny, pure, perfectly seasoned flavours you hope for when you visit Italy. I seriously still dream of their orechiette with eggplant in tomatosauce sprinkled with scamorza affumicata - in fact, I recreate that dish at home almost weekly.

And I haven't even mentioned the gelato. I had pear-ricotta gelato here for the first time in my life and it was a joyous occasion. You will be spoilt for choice.

Puglia travel guide: Ostuni
Puglia travel guide: Ostuni
Puglia travel guide: Ostuni
Puglia travel guide: Ostuni
Puglia travel guide: Ostuni
Puglia travel guide: OstuniPuglia travel guide: Ostuni
Puglia travel guide: Ostuni

Ostuni is the largest and most well-known town in the area, and it is truly beautiful. It never felt overly tourist-trap-y when we were there, more like a trendy little town in the middle of the countryside. There's plenty of cute hipster spots where you can have your aperitivo plate with a huge cocktail for a very wallet-friendly price if you wander away from the main square, but around the town center the prices are definitely high for what you get compared to the smaller nearby towns like Cisternino and Locorotondo. And yes, of course we had to photograph that Instagram cliché blue door because it is simply too pretty to pass up on.

Puglia travel guide: Torre Pozzelle

A perfect detour on your way home from Ostuni (or a little trip if you're staying in Ostuni): Torre Pozzelle. A pretty, sandy beach lined with low cliffs, with some amenities like a small boho beach bar but still quiet enough. We spent an hour or two here cooling off and having a drink enjoying the bartender singing and whistling along to golden oldies, and I snapped the above shot which might just be my favourite photograph ever.

Puglia travel guide: Alberobello
Puglia travel guide: Alberobello
Puglia travel guide: AlberobelloPuglia travel guide: Alberobello
Puglia travel guide: AlberobelloPuglia travel guide: Alberobello
Puglia travel guide: Alberobello
Puglia travel guide: Alberobello

Alberobello turned out to be such a lovely surprise. I had anticipated being disappointed by the town because it is such a huge draw for tourists, and generally these types of places are ruined when every single store is turned into a souvenir shop. And yes, it is absolutely very touristy, especially after noon when the tour buses arrive. But if you get there in the morning and just wander the streets, it is quite magical. Even outside of the trulli area (those cute cone-roof buildings the area is known for) the town is beautiful. We found a shaded terrace where we enjoyed Aperol Spritz and did some people watching while enjoying the breeze on another sweltering hot day, and Alberobello absolutely won us over.

There's obviously even more to see in the area, but these were our highlights. Let me know  if you need any tips or have any questions!

If you want to read more about our Puglia trip, you can read these posts:

- What to pack for a two week Italian Holiday
- 24 hours in Matera
- Puglia guide: from Bari to Monopoli

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