Slowing Down in Puglia, Italy

Advisor - David Rosenberg
Curated By

David Rosenberg

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  • Italy

  • Puglia

  • Arts & Culture

  • Food & Wine

  • International Travel

  • Road Trip Travel

  • Extended Stay

  • Foodie

  • Relaxation

The beautiful and historical architecture of the Puglia region of Italy.
David’s Take

There’s so much to see in Puglia Italy that you might be tempted to go on a whirlwind tour from the Amalfi Coast to this stunning, yet somewhat still untouched Puglia region. Instead, this Puglia travel itinerary focuses on a more relaxed 6-day trip, one in which you’ll take the time to enjoy the stunning beaches and rugged coastline while sipping a cocktail or two from your lounge chair, in between discovery days.

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Where to stay

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Palazzo Daniele

It’s all modern art and knockout Apulian cuisine at this nine-suite palazzo in the heart of coastal southern Puglia.

Fora Perks
  • Welcome note & amenity.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Masseria Il Frantoio

Set in a traditional house with vaulted ceilings, this farm lodge offers a charmingly rustic experience.

Borgo Egnazia

A whitewashed Puglian playground with a golf course, two beach clubs, a spa and Michelin-star cuisine.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

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Advisor - David Rosenberg

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Day 1: Lecce

Slow down and take a walk through Puglia’s famous narrow streets.

Wander around

Baroque architecture abounds in Lecce, where you’ll happily lose yourself in the narrow streets. Take in the stunning facade of Basilica di Santa Croce and stop by Piazza Sant’Oronzo to admire the excavated ancient Roman theater. A private residence, the Faggiana Museum showcases the 2000-year-old archeological history discovered during its construction. Head underground at the Jewish Museum, which is located in a former synagogue, to get a sense of medieval Lecce’s Jewish history.

Treat yourself

For a well-deserved afternoon treat, head to Pasticceria Natale for out-of-this-world creamy gelato or the infamous pasticciotto (a traditional Italian pastry filled with either ricotta or egg custard).

Stay at Masseria Potenti

You’ll feel this masseria’s rugged Puglian charm from the moment you enter under the white archway. The courtyard basks in the sun and the lounge chairs around the expansive pool are perfect for an afternoon nap. An independent property, the masseria offers personal and warm service, as if you were a guest of the family. It’s also close enough to the coast for day trips to the region’s white-sand beaches. I’ve also listed other hotel recommendations for the area in this guide. 

Dine at Potenti

You won’t have to go very far for your first taste of Pugliese cuisine with a modern twist. Ingredients are sourced from local farms and the masseria itself and the food is as fresh as it is delicious. The cakes are a particular highlight.

Advisor - David Rosenberg

A note from David

As with everywhere else in this region, be sure to check (and double check) opening times of restaurants and places you’d like to visit. Many things are closed in the early afternoons, especially during the summer. You’ll find very few places open on Sundays.

Day 2: Relax in style at Tayga Beach

A sight from a movie: relax in style at the Tayga Beach

Beach time

If you’re still fighting off jet lag, the exclusive Tayga Beach Club is ready to pamper you for the day. Enjoy the conveniently set-up beach area, with lounge chairs shaded by chic white and grey umbrellas, while you sip on fabulous cocktails and listen to the great music. The club also hosts a variety of food, wine and musical events, so be sure to check the program. All in all, an extremely chill and luxurious way to enjoy the beach. It’s not very touristy so you’ll blend in with the locals.

Dine at the beach

For an extra leisurely day, pack a change of clothes and stay at Tayga Beach for dinner. The onsite restaurant serves surprisingly great seafood in an elegant setting and, even though you enjoyed it all day long, the view of the water never gets old.

Day 3: Bernalda and Matera

A cup of Italian coffee to start off your morning adventure.


Start with a morning dip in the frigid Flume Chidro river-mouth, where you’ll swim with the locals. You’ll feel refreshed for the rest of the day.

Visit Bernalda

Bernalda is a small, walled town from the 15th-century and the ancestral home of Francis Ford Coppola. The famed movie director owns the fully renovated Palazzo Margherita, which he turned into a stunning boutique hotel.

Lunch at Cinecittà Bar Bistrot

Next to the palazzo and also owned by Coppola, Cinecittà Bar Bistrot is a traditional café and pizzeria where you’ll eat surrounded by posters of movie stars. Order a classic espresso or a negroni, sit back and enjoy the people-watching as well as the slow pace of life in this part of the world. 

Explore Matera

Technically, Matera is outside the borders of Puglia, but it’s well worth the drive to discover this town carved into the rock. Get ready for a lot of walking (and climbing) as you explore the cobblestone streets through the network of caves of this simply incredible town. It’s also where the opening scene of the new James Bond movie was filmed.

Snack time

I Vizi degli Angeli Laboratorio di Gelateria Artigianale serves the best lemon granita on god’s green earth. The black cherry flavor is also very good.

Explore the world of Salvador Dalí

Dali Matera offers an awe-inspiring experience in which to admire the sculptures and illustrations of the master of surrealism. The artwork is displayed in a centuries-old church, which renders the visit truly unique. Do not miss it. On your way out, the cafe around the corner serves Donna Bruna, the local beer.


For pizza and classic Italian fare, take your pick between Oi Mari (allegedly the best pizza in town) and Osteria al Casale.

Advisor - David Rosenberg

A note from David

In the evening, the town comes alive with the light of thousands of candles lit all over. It feels like being taken back a thousand years.

Day 4: Gallipoli

Enjoy authentically crafted Italian cuisine in the Puglia region.

Discover the centro storico

The beauty of most towns in Puglia lies in their centro storico (the equivalent of downtown, usually a pedestrian area). Gallipoli is no exception. Start by walking around the edge of town, making notes of all of the charming seafront restaurants for later, and watching the fishermen at work. Then, get lost down little alleyways and look around in awe at all the movie-set-like prettiness on display. Visit the Gallipoli castle, a medieval fortress overlooking the water.

Lunch at Le Garibaldine

A top pick for its fantastic local cuisine and great service. Sit outside on the paved street and watch the world go by.

Stay at Palazzo Daniele

Prepare to have your breath taken away from the moment you knock on the wooden door at the front. The whole experience feels like a dream, from the stunning surroundings and the tastefully-decorated rooms to the heartwarming service. Enjoy a pasta making class with the chef from the hotel’s restaurant and reward yourself by eating your creations alfresco in the garden. Perfection.

Day 5: Santa Maria de Leuca

Rent a boat and explore the waters of Santa Maria di Leuca.

Enjoy Palazzo Daniele

Make the most of the pool area and the beautiful garden for a restful morning. Living la dolce vita is all part of the experience.

Rent a boat

Ask for recommendations at the hotel for the best spot to rent a boat in Santa Maria di Leuca. Cruise around the turquoise water for a few hours, exploring grottes and stopping at some to swim. Bring your own wine and snacks to make the most of the trip. 

Dine at Lido Giulia Wine Restaurant

For another relaxing night right on the beach, get a table at Lido Giulia and order some of the amazingly fresh seafood, along with a glass of wine.

Day 6: Gagliano del Capo and Castro Marina

Bike ride through the whitewashed-building lined narrow streets of Puglia Italy.

Gagliano del Capo

Order your morning coffee on the Corso Umberto, a lovely tree-lined street. Take a look at Santa Maria Assunta, the 16th-century church, and wander around the town, where you’ll find plenty of bakeries and gelatarias to satisfy any cravings.

If you want to visit historical churches and places, ybranch out to Martina Franca, a small old town filled with grand churches and buildings that exemplify Italian history.

Lunch at L’Isola del Sole Friggitoria in Castro

For a casual yet amazing lunch, head to L’Isola del Sole Friggitoria, an incredible fried fish restaurant located right by the harbour and half way down the hill. Eat your meal outside and hang out with the locals.


Explore the white city of Ostuni, nicknamed as such because of its whitewashed buildings. The medieval layout makes for a pleasant tour through little passages, tiny streets and up flights of stairs taking you to the 15th-century cathedral. After all this walking, stop for an aperitivo at Birreria Lo Zac, a beer garden (cash only).

Check in to your hotel

Masseria Il Frantoio is a gem of a masseria that will make you feel like you stepped back in time. Be sure to take a dip in the magical pool, then go back to your room to enjoy the thoughtful decor filled with antiques. When you’re ready to go out and explore, you’ll find that there’s plenty to explore within a short drive. 


After enjoying a beautiful day in the Puglia region, dine at authentic Italian eateries. Opt for the seven-course feast at the onsite restaurant at Masseria Il Frantoio. The classic Puglian cuisine is delicious (if a little too copious), and is a perfect place to relax and enjoy the last evening of your experience in Puglia.

Need to Know

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out Fora's article: 9 Best Hotels in Southern Italy. Or find more guides on traveling to Italy.

Advisor - David Rosenberg


David Rosenberg

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