ostuni puglia road trip © Will Travel for Food

Beautiful Ostuni, la citta bianca, in Puglia {photo mrb404}

Lecce –> Polignano a mare
140 kms / 2 hours 20 minutes
Stops: Ostuni / Cisternino / Alberobello
Lunch: Trattoria Bère Vecchie  / Dinner: Angelo Sabatelli Ristorante
Accommodation: B&B Relais Del Senatore


Today started with a caffè leccese (espresso on ice sweetened with almond syrup) and a pasticciotto (a pastry crust filled with pastry cream typical of the Salento region) at Cafe Alvino in Lecce. We then hit the road towards Ostuni, driving more inland past miles of olive groves with their green grey leaves contrasting against the typical red sand of the region. Ostuni – la città bianca – appeared suddenly at a curve in the road, standing stark white on a hill against the harsh blue sky and the red earth. I spent a couple of hours walking and climbing its narrow streets, admiring its wonderfully sinuous pathways, great cathedrals, breathtaking vistas overlooking the surrounding valleys and flowering wrought iron balconies. If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought I was in Greece.

The next stop was Cisternino for lunch. I entered the historic center and saw a lady handing her neighbour a gorgeous plate of fresh green figs. I asked her where I could buy some and she invited me back to her house and handed me a big plate to enjoy. She explained that these are a specific kind that’s in season right now. I had read that the tiny, charming city is famous for its butcher shops where you can chose the cut of meat you wanted and it was cooked for you by the butcher. However, that is only available at night so I couldn’t try it. I did however try one of the local trattorie – Trattoria Bère Vecchie – in a tiny, shaded street off Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II in the historic center. We ate like kings and enjoyed our brief stop in Cisternino. If I had more time on this trip, I would have definitely lingered here longer.

alberobello puglia trulli © Will Travel for Food

Trulli in Alberobello, Puglia

After Cisternino, it was time to visit some trulli, the traditional Pugliese dry stone huts with conical roofs so we headed towards Alberobello where they are mostly found. The concentration of the strange looking, centuries-old huts is reminiscent of a hobbits village, complete with shops and a church.

best hotel polignano a mare © Will Travel for Food

The view from my room at Polignano a Mare’s Relais del Senatore {photo mrb404}

We finally arrived at Polignano a Mare, our stop for the night. Polignano is a small village on the coast and our hotel here is directly built on the cliff. The view from the room is quite impressive (see photo). Dinner tonight was a fancy affair at one-Michelin star Angelo Sabatelli Ristorante, a 10-minute drive from Polignano a Mare. The restaurant offers 3 different tasting menus as well as an à la carte one. The Emozioni extra-territoriali menu I enjoyed is based on tradition yet allows the chef to explore his creativity. Some of my favourite dishes included the raw red shrimp, dried scallop, chili with dehydrated shrimp head (to be eaten like a chip) and the raw scallops with roasted tomato sauce, black lemon, miso mayonnaise and edible flowers. I highly recommend it.

angelo sabatelli restaurant review polignano a mare © Will Travel for Food

Pasta ripiena di ricotta, arugula pesto, tomatow water at Angelo Sabatelli Ristorante in Puglia

To read the rest of my Puglia road trip adventures, click here, and follow me on Instagram for more daily photos of my trip.

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