Night location: Cisternino, Italy
This region of Italy is one of the prettiest and most interesting that we have seen. The roads are narrow and lined with the same low stone walls that divide small paddocks of crops and orchards and vineyards. Scattered across the rolling hills are groups of trullo which at times blend into the landscape and yet draw your eye with their white capped conical roofs clustered together.
Our first destination was Alberobello which boasts the highest density of trullo in this area. Amber's parking luck held this morning as when the road leading to our planned car park was abruptly closed due to a market, someone was just leaving a street park which after waiting for them to sort out their life and make plans for the next, we were able to take.
The small hillside town of Alberobello was busy but not crowded. Within the old quarter 1000 beehive shaped houses cascade down the hill making an incredible sight. Most are now either souvenir shops or restaurants while the eastern side of the town is mainly residential. We visited the somewhat commercialised main church before wandering through the 18th century Trullo Sovrano, the only two storey trullo built by a wealthy priest's family. From here we walked up Rione Monti through the various laneways to a trullo church which we liked much more than the main basilica.
After stopping for a lemon granita, we pressed on to Locorotondo. Rated as one of the most beautiful towns in Italy, it is perched high on a hill with the dramatic dome and bell tower of Santa Maria della Graecia proudly overlooking the stunningly white buildings. Garden boxes of bold red geraniums or vines of purple flowering bougainvillea contrasted magnificently with the stark ivory houses. It was lovely to walk aimlessly through the quiet Centro Storico past restaurants spilling into the narrow laneways and into dazzling courtyards. We ate gelato in a shaded park that overlooked the Itria Valley and then weaved our way back to the car.
The final destination of the tour today was Cisternino which is the closest hilltop town to our Masseria. It was less photogenic than Locorotondo but still worth visiting. Quieter again, we meandered through the laneways and almost felt as though we were trespassing.
On our way back to our accommodation, we were directed by Apple maps down a narrow walled lane that turned into a dirt road and then a track for wild animals. Amber got out and investigated further, only to find that the road that was showing on the map, was really a dry creek bed. Fortunately there was space to turn around but poor Carlo really struggled to get back up the hill. Amber helpfully got the giggles while David's blood pressure increased as Carlo surged manically on the loose gravel. We now have a new rule that we will not proceed down any dirt roads as Carlo's possum power has all been used up!
It has been a wonderfully warm day today so by mid afternoon we were ready for a swim in the pool and a doze in the sun. La Dolce Vita!