July 15, 2012

Seaside sweetness in Italy's heel

Otranto feels authentic – it’s rare to hear a foreign voice so some knowledge of the Italian language is essential. Our dictionary was handy when studying the restaurant menus.

We spent a week in Otranto, Puglia, all the way south in Italy. Here we enjoyed lots of sun, swimming in the clear Adriatic sea, and very friendly atmosphere.
Our party of five rented a house right by the town center and close to the sea. The coastline was rocks and sandy beaches. We spent our time relaxing in the sun and diving from the rocks into the clair blue Adriatic sea.

The bar at the pier - relaxed in the afternoon

The charming town consists of the new part and the ancient old town with its castle, duomo, cobbled streets, restaurants, cute shops, gelaterie and bars.

This old guy was selling his vegetables from his little car. Fruits and vegetables from this region tastes amazingly fresh and delicious.

Our local caffetteria: Il Moresco

We flew into Bari, rented two cars and drove to Otranto, a two hour drive. On our way driving down we had lunch in a small fishing village, San Vito, south of Bari, in the trattoria by the sea. We had a variety of antipasti. Very tasty. Great place - I would go again.

Road trips

We made two day trips from Otranto: The first to Gallipoli, at the opposite side of the heel, and by the Ionian sea. The public beach in the old town was lovely and not very crowded, even in  July.
The lovely beach in the old town in Gallipoli

And the second to Lecce, commonly nicknamed "The Florence of the South" because of the rich Baroque architectural monuments found in the city.

We tried several of the restaurants in town, and our favorites were:
L'altro baffo
The restaurant in the garden, close to the castle (I cannot remember the name).
Anema (pizzeria and beach bar)

Pizza at Anema pizzeria
On the contrary, this one which was highly recommended on Trip Advisor, we didn't find any good: RISTORANTE PECCATO DI VINO

The bar at the pier - at night it turned into a cool lounge bar