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Visiting the Heel and Toe

Seymour, CT
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Visiting the Heel and Toe
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My husband and I are hoping to travel to the Bari region and then over to the Calabria area and then on to Sicily. We will most likely travel end of September/early October looking for a small village to spend approximately 10 nights split between the 2 areas of mainland Italy. Sicily we have a plan on what we will be doing. Any suggestions would be helpful and appreciated. I have researched, maybe too much, so I have gotten a little crazed about it all. Thanks for your help

29 replies to this topic
Virginia
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1. Re: Visiting the Heel and Toe
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So you have five days for Puglia and five days for Calabria, right?

Close to Bari, I'd pick one of the Itria Valley villages, all are close together, so pick based on the accommodation you like (are you wishing to be in town or at a rural stay?). I liked Cisternino very much. Noci is adorable and I considered staying there.

I have not been to Calabria, but I would prefer to be close to one of the national parks. You might want to clarify your destination in Sicily and how much you wish to drive between all three destinations, as that might make a difference on suggestions for Calabria. Earlier in September, there is a pepper festival in Diamante, so perhaps look into those kind of events to help narrow it down.

Akron, Ohio
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Response # 1 has much of value to say with good suggestions to consider. Puglia is not even close in so many categories of comparison with whatever you find interesting in Calabria. Puglia is a much different ball game as a different starting line will greet you there. Both regions deserve a study of Italian geography. We would skip Sicily and devote time to both Calabria and Puglia. Calabria has much in natural landscape to show you including the villages in the Aspromonte mountain chain as an extension of the central apennines leading visitors to arrive at the toe of the boot, That part of Calabria has close connections witm a cenIral segment for literary purposes with Italian literature. Calabria is more than a small handful of places to keep you in place. Inland especially. Once you deal with the complexities Pugina you might find yourself looking at he clock and calendar for more time when none will be readily available. Both regions have larger cities equipped to bring you to these places. Look at the interior of each region to get a measure of the substance and urban areas that do not dominate each each region in the same way. Cities in Calabria might be of a different category and fewer in number for displaying urban life styles for a comparison not easy to manage or establish. It is not the same equation in geography for putting Puglia and Calabria in the same travel problem in search for an easy answer,. In so many words Puglia togther with Calabria do not add up to anything close to what Sicily will offer you for doing the same level of basic travel arithmetic. Substance of Calabria is not readily found in large quantitis in so many larger cities. Bari and Lecce and Brinidisi are not in the same category for comparison with Cosenza and Reggio Calabria or Catanzaro. Tropea should not be treated as a side show but it is in different category. Look at it from this perspective: much of rural Calabria is not the same =as rural Pulgia. We recommend that you skip Sicily in large part because of the previous statements. Much of Calabria calls for a different calling card and a different look.and more ime than a rapid brief cursory visit. In summary maybe you are biting off more than you can chew. You might not have enough time to justice to come to terms with what both Puglia and Calabria will offer you to see. Choosing to devote vacation time to Calabria and Puglia is indeed praise worthy and remains in a noteworthy category for wanting to exporeItaly especially the rural segments of the landscape in the south," Il Mezzogiorno" has a special meaning for this type of vacation aspiration. We would leave Sicily for another voyage for mot only its geographical sixe and complexity but became it offers a totally different array of vastly more complex and different categories of places to crowd your itinerary. Sicily by itself will not stop offering you alternatives to put in your itinerary. as places to visit in a way than the mainland Italy will fall short in doing in a way that is more manageble and doable. Siciy has more than a four sided square of geography to display to you with more than antiquities to keep you in place The antiquities for Siciiy are packaged in a different manner with more than red green and white ribbons. Save Sicily for another voyage as it is far too much to handle and include in your current plans for Puglia and Calabria. Swallowing all that will be on your plate in those two regions will be a full stomach of all that those two regions can offer you or can present as a five course meal with desserts.. Sicily can wait.

Akron, Ohio
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Follow-up commentary might deal with your preferred transportation for undertaking this vast expedition. Are yoa ccclimated to prefer renting and driving a car? Transportation by train is not plentiful or in abundance. Coastal transportation by train in Puglia south from Foggia to Brindisi and Taranto and Gallipoli is available with a small escapade to Matera available from Bari.. Basilicata is not favorable for transportation by train in so many parts of its geography. Car might be needed for undertaking so many parts of this expedition Calabria can provide limited train transportation by train along the coast south to Reggio Calabria from Naples area and through parts of Campania and that small segment of Basilicata just north of Calabria. Inland rail travel is not plentiful or in abundance.for much of Calabria. Connections to Cosenza are there by bus. Travel by car might be a good alternative. The coastal line in the instep of the boot does take you by train for a certain distance.. Coastal train transportation for different segmetns of geography for both regiosn can be said tone limited,, Inland exploration can be be off limits without a car in soma parts both regions. Look at the geographical shape of both Puglia and Calabria to grasp this concept. Sicily is a totally difffetent ball game for not having rail transportation when you want and need it,

Seymour, CT
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We will have a car

Seymour, CT
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Sicily is a must, I leave my heart there every time I leave. We know we cannot see it all but only touch on all that Italy has to offer. We can spend more time there, we are starting out with 10 nights and once I settle on a village or town to base us we will take it from there. This may turn into a month long vacation, only time will tell. Thanks for all the information you shared.

Seymour, CT
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Thanks for the information. Will check out the two towns you mentioned and hope one of those will catch my fancy. We like to be in a small town/village to come back to after exploring for the day and enjoy a nice dinner. We are not the have to see it all in a few days but look at what there is and enjoy a few of the places. In doing that we have never had to say, “oh I wish we went there”. Thanks once again.

Milan
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While driving from Bari to Calabria I suggest an overnight stop in Castemezzano, a kind of a fairy tale village on the Parco regionale Gallipoli Cognato also known as the Dolomiti Lucane National Park. Beautiful specially at night.

Nibbius

Virginia
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There are many small towns in Puglia, you just need to pick somewhere centrally located for the other things you wish to see so you don't have overly long drives for day trips, so what part of Puglia had captivated you most in your reading?

I suggest posting on the Calabria forum as well, though it is less active than the Puglia forum so be patient.

Seymour, CT
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Thank you for this information, exactly what I am looking for. Researching and will definitely make this an overnight stop. We have so much flexibility in planning this trip that adding on additional days is no problem. Thank you once again

Delta, Canada
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BeanApsMom....We have a similar trip planned for early September next year too, hopefully. The plan at the moment is to fly from London (we have a family wedding to attend in England in mid-August) to Catania in Sicily and spend a few days in Ortigia, with day trips to Ragusa & Modica and more. Then we plan to take the train from Catania to Bari and spend a week in a rented trullo near Martina Franca. From there we will do day trips to Ostuni, Alberobello, and perhaps Matera, and many points in between.

We have already booked what we can with free cancellations - cars & hotels & the trullo. Flights will have to wait until there is more certainty.

Please post your itinerary when it's complete, I'd like to see what/where you decide on. I will keep on eye on this thread for more helpful hints.

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