A few weeks ago we returned from an amazing road trip to Alberobello, home to the iconic stone hut roof truli and a UNESCO world heritage center, located in the Puglia (or Apulia) region of Italy (right by the heel)
Driving for 6 hours is not exactly how I would choose to do my 4 day weekend but let me tell you, the drive was so easy and beautiful! It sure did not feel like 6 hours! oh wait, is that because I was the passenger??? haha My husband did not complain at all and my son did amazing too (His favorite part of the drive was playing road trip BINGO! and seeing a double rainbow)
First, this blog post might get lengthy but I want to make sure I give you as much details as I know. All the tid bits of goody information that hopefully might be helpful to you so you can also plan your easy road trip through beautiful southern Italy and enjoy that side of the mainland.
We left Thursday afternoon and came back on a Monday after beach time.
First, we took the Messina ferry to mainland (Villa San Giovanni) in the Reggio Calabria area.
The ferry was pretty easy. You arrive to the port, I got out of the car while my husband waited in the car, walked to that little booth in between the lanes and purchased my ticket (It was about 75€ for roundtrip with the car) If you are returning in 4 days I believe it is or sooner then your ticket would cost less. You drive up to the line, wait till the ferry arrives if it hasn’t and they will direct you all the way till you park inside the ferry, you can stay in the car for the short ride (about 20 minutes) or you can use that time for potty breaks and to grab a quick bite. They have arancini, panini, pastries, cafe…) Say ciao Sicilia! See you soon, welcome to mainland! 🙂
Once you are getting closer to the mainland everyone starts getting back in their cars (make sure you are in your car before the ferry arrives to the port cause they move quick! ) You arrive to the Villa San Giovanni port and from here you only have a little over 4hrs left of drive! 🙂 We only stopped to get gas cause some gas stations might not take gas coupons so we wanted to be prepared and with a full tank.
Day 1: Thursday we drove all the way to Arberobello which we picked as our center point and do road trips from there. It was very centric to everything we wanted to do and short drives to amazingly stunning sites, and honestly, driving back to Alberobello in the evenings to stroll the little town and have dinners there was magical. I was debating between staying right in the middle of Alberobello town in a trulo or right outside the town center. I decided to stay right outside so we could stay in a property with private parking and a pool. I am so glad we did! I absolutely LOVED our little truli house in Fascino Antico Trulli B&B. It was a 1-2 minutes drive to the town. Once you get to the town, there are pay parking areas. There is no restaurant in this family owned B&B but they do provide delicious breakfast which they brought every morning to our truly. Keep in mind truli are smaller than the average house or apartment. I liked calling it our very cozy trulo.
We arrived at night, was promptly and warmly checked in and headed out to Alberobello centro for dinner right away. We had dinner at Ristorante Pizzeria Il Pinnacolo. Seems small and quaint but there are more sitting areas in other spots in the restaurant too. Food was delicious (we went back on a different day!)
Day 2: We had a very nice breakfast with a good variety. They brought it right to our trulo. After breakfast we got ready and headed to ZooSafari which is a drive-through zoo only about 20 min nice drive from Arberobello. This zoo was a super highlight for me! I thought it was really neat. We didn’t tell my son we were going here so he was really surprised and loved it 🙂 In the zoo it self you don’t spend so much time, I’m thinking maybe an hour. Once we were done we parked and walked right over next door to the amusement park Fasanolandia where we spent about 2 hours. It was a really nice day.
After the zoo we were starving!!! We headed to Alberobello town and had a small lunch since everything was pretty much closed for riposo, walked around the town and went to our trulo for some down time. About an hour later we headed right back to Alberobello. Walked ar
ound the town during sunset time… stunning!!!!! Grabbed some freshly mixed juice and fresh fruits from Fruit Box and then we headed to have dinner at Osteria Del Poeta. Nice and beautiful restaurant, looks romantic and food was good.
Day 3: In the morning we got to relax and enjoy the surroundings at our trulo home. We then headed to the town of Polignano a Mare, about 30 minutes away. What a gorgeous views and a really good vibe town. We had reservations for lunch at the breath taking bucket list “Cave restaurant” Ristorante Grotta Palazzese
This was definitely in my bucket list and soooo glad we had the chance to cross it off! STUNNING! BREATHTAKING! Only open during summer (late spring)
You have to purchase 2 courses minimum. Expect to spend in average about $80 per adult and about 60-70 per kid. Again, this to us was a once in a lifetime experience, checking it off the list type of place. A lot of people like to sit by the front of the cave close to the rail/oceanl but I personally sat on the back, I wanted to take the whole thing in, have a whole view rather than just the outside. Honestly, either place you sit… it will be gorgeous! Take a moment to just breath, live the moment, hours later it will all just be a memory, so take it all in!
All in all this was one of the high lights of our trip, including our very first Italian parking ticket!!! yikes! When we arrived we parked where a bunch of other cars were parked and there was no parking lines (I guess that should’ve been the clue uh?). We thought we were fine till we returned to our car and it was there, all lonely, with a piece of paper waving at us from afar.
On our way back “home” to our trulo we just drove around some of the towns like Fasano (where ZooSafari is) and Locorotondo which is one of Italy’s white town with balconies decorated with beautiful flowers. They even have an annual competition!
After this, guess what we did? Went back to Alberobello town to watch yet again another stunning sunset from the top of the town ❤ If we were not starting our drive back early the next day we most likely would’ve add some of the southern beach towns like Ostuni, Lecce, Otranto, etc… My main reason of this trip was to visit mainly Alberobello so I REALLY wanted to soak it in as much as I could❤
Isn’t it stunning?!
Day 4: Tropea… here we come!!!
Starting our drive back to Sicilia I wanted to split the drive and take a break in between. I mean, you are driving through all these stunning towns!! why not right? We picked gorgeous Tropea as our stop. Another STUNNING one! The Tropea beach, oh my! We stayed through the night over at Hotel Residence Piccolo over at Parghelia which was about 5 minute drive to the beach, they have shutters too and included private lido with the stay but we decided to go to the iconic public Tropea beach instead. I have to say, the Piccolo hotel was clean, the room was REALLY clean which is on the top of my stays list BUT for some reason I thought there was a pool, to our surprise it was only two jacuzzi on the top roof which were OK since it was just us in it with the gorgeous Stromboli view (a volcano island) we also had the beach so close so it was fine but if you are looking for a place with a pool then I would look to stay somewhere else.
But look at this room AND the shower!!! When they have a turquoise changing color lighted shower it just was meant to be!!! 😀
The first night we enjoyed the “pool” and gorgeous views and then headed over for a delicious dinner.
Next morning we had breakfast right at the hotel and headed to the beach right away, we could not wait! We stayed there till the afternoon but wanted to stay an extra day so bad! but it was time for reality, to drive back home.
The drive back home was just as easy and smooth.
I recommend this trip to everyone! Easy drive + stunning locations in a long weekend = win win! 🙂
Have you been to any of these towns? What was your favorite one? Any great accomodation you would recommend?
Share on the comments! 🙂