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7 of the best views in southern Italy

Posted by Luci Ackers on 4 April 2017
Related property: Coreggia
7 of the best views in southern Italy

Italy is a stunning country, full of incredible scenery, quaint towns and magnificent architecture. So it’s sometimes hard to know where to begin your sightseeing trip. In Puglia there is a little bit of everything, so here are our seven favourite views to get you started.

1. Trulli of Alberobello

These famous limestone dwellings are unique to the Itria Valley thanks to their level of preservation and the fact that they are still inhabited. These little drystone structures in Alberobello are thought to date certainly from the 19th century, though maybe earlier and have thick, white outer walls made of large slabs, as well as interesting conical roofs; a building technique from centuries earlier. They are now protected as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and are certainly worth a visit. What’s more, if you’re staying in Coreggia, you are located right next to them, and can even stay in one of the beautiful Trulli properties yourself.

Find out how here.

2. Castel del Monte

Another UNESCO Site of the area, Castel del Monte, was built not too far from Bari in the 13th century by Emperor Frederick II. This geometric fortress sits strategically placed on the top of a hill in the heart of what is now the Alta Murgia National Park. The castle is an interesting and unique example of medieval military architecture: its large prismatic design is octagonal, with thick walls surrounding an 8-sided courtyard. At each corner is a tall octagonal tower and the overall structure comprises two floors, each of which contains 8 rooms. This castle, with its precise design, is the image depicted on the reverse of the Italian issue one cent euro coin. From the top of its hill you have absolutely stunning panoramic views of the surrounding Puglian countryside.

Find out how to visit here.

3. Sunsets of Gallipoli

Gallipoli is situated on the west coast of Puglia's Salento Peninsula (the very heel of the boot), looking out over the Ionian Sea and the gulf of Taranto. The old town is located just off the mainland, on a small island. It is connected by a 17th century bridge and almost completely surrounded by fortified walls dating from the 14th century. Not only is the eastern corner of the island home to a stunning fortress, but the sunsets over the surrounding ocean are simply magnificent! From the west coast you have uninterrupted views of Gallipoli’s panoramic waters and can watch as the evening sun bleeds orange into the watery western horizon, silhouetting little rocky outcrops as it goes, and the narrow point of the lighthouse that spikes the distance.

4. Matera

This city is well known for its historic centre. The Sassi de Matera (literally the 'stones of Matera') are rock-hewn cave dwellings that ascend the flanks of the ravine and form the most intact example of a troglodyte settlement in the Mediterranean. The ancient settlement has been continually adapting to its environment over more than two millennia, with the first inhabited zone dating back to the Palaeolithic period. The myriad of natural caves were deepened and expanded throughout classical and medieval eras, forming more inhabitable spaces and, having evolved over time, the honeycomb of stone structures is now a maze of narrow streets and alleyways, weaving throughout higgledy-piggledy buildings. Rock hewn churches sit amongst the jigsaw of carved houses and carved stone stairways connect the arches, attics and balconies. One building’s foundations will often form the roof of the dwelling below and some streets run along the tops of other houses. Most of the more elaborate stonework of this warren-like town dates from the Renaissance when many of the caves were given new facades. This incredible place became part of the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1993.

5. Castellina Grotte

Located at the entrance to the Itria Valley, the cave system of Castellina is an incredible natural phenomenon whose beauty attracts many visitors every year. The caves were discovered in the 1930s and tours now lead visitors through the winding chambers at roughly 60m deep, to see the stunning formations of stalactites and stalagmites.

Find out how to visit the caves and book tickets for a tour online here.

6. Ostuni

Also known as La Città Bianca, or ‘The White City’, this amazing little town is a sea of clustered white-washed buildings that have been built over a series of levels. The buildings climb the hillside to the magnificent 15th century Gothic cathedral, which sits high and central, as the town's focal point. As staircases, alleys and small roads lead you through the archways and backstreets that carve the city’s Medieval layout, be sure to keep an eye out for pretty palazzi and the Bishop's palace which is linked by bridge to the cathedral cloisters. In Ostuni you’ll find charming examples of Mediterranean architecture that dazzle with the effect of the sun on the bright white buildings. But if this isn’t enough for you, take a wander around the city’s encircling wall and you’ll be greeted with panoramic vistas of the surrounding Italian countryside. Beautiful!

7. Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park

Situated more towards Italy’s south-western coast this National Park is home to some beautiful landscapes as well as three famous archaeological sites. Paestum and Velia are both ruins of ancient cities that date back to Classical times. The Certosa di Padula is a monumental monastic structure located in the town of Padula. It is Baroque in appearance due to work that was carried out in the 17th and 18th centuries, though the structure actually dates from the 14th century. The National Park itself is ridged with the Alburni mountain range and home to the Pruno forest - one of the most unpolluted natural areas of the Campania region. There are good views to be had throughout.

For more information on the National Park and directions visit the website here.

Explore southern Italy for yourself and discover some of these incredible places. Find out how to stay in one of our beautiful Trulli properties by entering your details at the bottom of the page.

Luci Ackers

Luci Ackers

Luci loves getting out and about for a good cycle ride or easy-going walks in the countryside, and thoroughly enjoyed the time she previously spent working for the National Trust. Her love of writing started from a young age and on rainy days nothing beats curling up in a secret corner with a good book.

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