I've been wanting to make this post for a while now. (since I went to Italy and thought about having a blog)
Now that it's getting closer to summer time and people are going to start taking their trips to places, I thought, what a better time to show you guys what I did in Italy! These are places you can go that aren't super crazy like Rome. If you've seen all of the big places and want to see the little gems, this is for you. I can do another post on just Rome because it was HUGE. But, this is the quaint little places you'll love visiting and not being trampled by tourists.
For all of you that don't know, I was born in Taranto, Italy (the heel of the boot). I moved to Connecticut when I was 5 and would visit Taranto every summer until about 2007 (tickets started getting really expensive).
I started to miss my aunts and cousins, who still live there, and decided it was time. My dad had been wanting to visit my aunts for a little while now, so we just decided this was the year we were going to do it. We bought the tickets and went! And I'm so glad we did.
Italy is an amazing place. So much culture and charm. I'm obsessed with architecture and there was plenty of it there. My eyes were constantly feasting on the beautiful views, oceans, food, and buildings. Seeing my family was so wonderful. There truly is no other feeling like being immersed in your home country and speaking the language again with the people you love. I hadn't seen my aunts in years! My boyfriend, who doesn't speak any Italian, fit into our little family perfectly. Even with the language barrier, they absolutely loved him.
Now that you have a little background, here are the places we visited in southern Italy!
This is the town that I was born in and where my aunts live! I couldn't remember much about it because it'd been 10 years, but I absolutely loved it. Taranto is such a cute city! This isn't a place you'll find in the guide books. You'll love the authentic food and gelato here. We went to a sandwich place called "Come Vuoi Pane & Condimenti" where you build your own baguette sandwich. It was TO DIE for. Then we walked down the street a little bit to "Cremeria Vienna" to get some amazing gelato. You'll be hanging with the locals here, so be prepared to speak some Italian if you can! AND (not pictured) are these lovely things called "panzerotti" which are little fried pockets of heaven. They're kind of like calzones but better. There's a place called "Casa del Panzerotto" that makes them. THEY ARE HEAVENLY. I highly recommend. (also a "locals" hot spot)
Sassi di Matera
The first "touristy" place we visited was a city called Matera. Matera is located in the Basilicata region of southern Italy about an hour from my hometown of Taranto. It was evacuated in the 1950's because of the living conditions spreading malaria. It was known as "the shame of Italy." Today, there's around 3,000 people that live in the "sassi" (Italian for stones) and it's turned around quite nicely. Matera is most known for their ancient cave dwellings where you can now stay in as well! You'll feel like you were sent back in time when you see the stone walls and how they carved out their homes from the original rock. There are little shops all through the city where you can buy memorabilia and a lot of cute places to eat and get some amazing gelato! If you go, take in every bit of it that you can. It's A LOT of walking and stairs, so be prepared. You also can't really park in there, so park on the outside streets and walk down.
Alberobello is in the Puglia region of southern Italy. It is known for it's "trulli" which are white washed stone huts, their walls built with very thick limestone and without mortar. This was meant to strengthen the structure and help regulate temperatures. The roof of the structure is a cone shape. As you walk through the maze of trulli on the stone roads, you'll come across some amazing places to eat and shop. It's mostly tourist style shops here, but it's all so full of culture and the insides of the trulli are so cute. Once it's night, the town glows with twinkly lights and it's so gorgeous.
Also located in the Puglia area is Gallipoli. This was one of my favorite towns we visited because it literally looks like a post card. The bright colors and old charm frame the ocean beautifully. It has everything from architecture to shopping. I bought a pair of sandals there that I love and they have Gallipoli engraved in them, which I though was super fun. They have so many different types of shops and restaurants. It's the perfect outing for when you don't want to visit something huge or want to grab a bite but still get in some sites.
This cute little town is super close to where I was born. It's filled with architecture that will leave you in awe. There's little roads you can walk down where the buildings are so intricate and everything looks like a painting. (not even kidding) There are places to have dinner and drinks. I didn't eat here, but the restaurant under that curved building in the picture looked soooo good. (let me know if you ever try it)
I'll be writing one of these for Rome and Positano as well, so stay tuned! Do you like travel posts? Which one would you LOVE to visit? Let me know on my social media!