Travelling around the Valle d’Itria is easy by car, therefore, wherever you decide to stay overnight, you can follow our suggestions and visit the area without any difficulty, and remember, if you walk the old countryside roads you will enjoy an enchanting landscape, and of stunning views to photograph. Allow yourself the luxury of discovering this corner of Puglia slowly, even if you only have 4 days.
Let’s start with Martina Franca, the baroque town of Valle dâ€™Itria, where you can admire richly decorated historic buildings.
If you are traveling as a couple, you can’t miss a walk in the romantic streets of the historic centre, and if you love retro charm, don’t leave Martina Franca without having tasted the delicious desserts of the historic Bar Tripoli, a centenary bar located just a few steps from the Basilica. If the weather allows it, we suggest you to sit on the tables outside and enjoy the constant comings and goings.
But Good Friday is also the best time to admire the ancient rites of the Easter tradition. If you love the charm of ancient rites do not miss the traditional processions of mysteries, which especially in the Tarantino area, are particularly striking.
If you really want to immerse yourself in the most extreme holiness don’t miss the Taranto Procession (parade). Almost 40 uninterrupted hours of procession (parade), from Holy Thursday until the morning of Holy Saturday, during which members of the brotherhoods wear white coats and hoods and move in procession barefoot and with exaggerated slowness. Our suggestion is to join the crowd, while respecting those who deeply feel the procession as a moment of closeness to God.
On the second day you can dedicate yourself to exploring the area, choosing between the countryside or the sea. We have selected an itinerary that will allow you to admire the landscape from the countryside to the sea, but the possibilities are a lot.
Starting from Fasano, you can reach the coast through a path lined with beautiful ancient olive trees, down to Savelletri. A quiet path that runs along the coastal area of Fasano, until it reaches the ancient ruins of Egnazia. The same museum centre organizes excursions and activities related to archaeological excavations. For the more adventurous, they also organize dives to discover the submerged Roman structures (an open driver license is required). If, on the other hand, you do not feel so sporty you can walk along the coves and maybe stop near what we call the white houses, one of the symbols of the Fasano coast. A few steps away, in fact it opens up a large field close to the sea where you can relax in contact with nature.
Finally, if you are a gourmet you can certainly not miss the specialty of the place: sea urchins. In Forcatella, just beyond Savelletri, towards Brindisi, you will find a real paradise for sea urchins, spartan trattorias, where you can enjoy this specialty right on the rocks, just a few steps from the water.
On the third day, you can dedicate yourself to the villages of Alberobello, Locorotondo and Ceglie Messapica on a cultural and gastronomic tour that is ideal on a festive day!
We start from Alberobello, on a tour that crosses its monumental area, where it is mandatory to take a picture of the trulli, perhaps near the Siamese trulli, unique in their kind. Continuing towards the Trullo Sovrano, you will find many characteristic restaurants, we recommend the Trattoria Terra Madre, a restaurant with 0 Km, genuine and hospitable, with a vegetable garden in the back where, on fine days, it is also possible to have lunch.
After lunch we recommend a walk in the ancient village of Locorotondo, about 9 km away. You can proceed using the faster main road, or if you are not in a hurry we recommend getting to Locorotondo by crossing the countryside, first Coreggia and then San Marco. You will add a couple of kilometres to the route but the rural landscape that opens up is deserving for a slightly longer route. After the visit to the ancient village, we advise you to finish walking along the Lungomare, a viewpoint from which you can admire the entire Valle d’Itria, and if you want to also enjoy an aperitif, in one of the many bars and restaurants.
Finally, if you still have a little appetite, our advice is to end the day in Ceglie Messapica, home of the local food and wine. Park the car outside the centre and enjoy a nice walk along the narrow streets of the historic centre. There, in one of the most beautiful squares in the centre there is a small building with exposed stone rooms, very nice with a warm and intimate atmosphere, the Arco Antico Restaurant.
We conclude our tour, as we started, respecting the traditions. So if on the first day we proposed you the processions (parade) of the mistieri, on Easter Monday we cannot but offer you the traditional pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Ibernia in Cisternino, about 3 km from the town. The tradition has it that on Easter Monday the inhabitants go on a pilgrimage bringing with them the corrucolo, a typical Easter cake. After a brief stop at the Sanctuary, continue towards the Cisternino mountains to admire the plain of olive trees.
You can leave the car along the main road in the heart of Caranna in Via Leonardo da Vinci, where the small village of the same name opens. From here you can proceed towards the edge of the hill along paths immersed in nature and through a holm oak forest.
For such an excursion we recommend a packed lunch, preferably with the focaccia with onions typical of this period.