Lets cover the basics…
Location: Southern Italy facing the Adriatic sea (the heel of Italy) in the region of Puglia.
How to get there:Closest airport is Bari International airport (BRI). We took a one hour flight from Rome to Bari and a one hour train from Bari Airport to Polignano a Mare. We had a bad experience with RyanAir and had to pay extra money because we checked in late and carried an oversized carry on. It´s a best option to take the four hour train from Rome Termini Station to Bari Centrale. It takes around the same time considering airport waiting time and you do not have to go through all the hassle at the airport.
Polignano a Mare in three words:seaside town rising out of rocky cliffs, cove beach and cave restaurant.
Polignano a Mare has winding streets filled with white-washed square Mediterranean buildings that emerge from rocky limestone cliffs. Some dead end streets face the Adriatic Sea where you can see dramatic views of the ocean. As you walk towards the end of Via Marciso and look down, you will spot the blue waters and the terrace of Grotta Palazzese, the restaurant set amidst a cave. This is a landmark spot in Polignano a Mare just as the statue of Domenico Modugno ¨Volare¨singer who was born here , yet this seaside town has more to offer…
We visited during the Festival of San Vito, the feast of the Patron Saint of Polignano a Mare, in the middle of August. Our trip coincided with “Ferrogosto” , the two week vacation period, beginning from August 15, when Italians flee from the cities to the countryside, cooler mountains and the coast. Polignano a Mare was illuminated with festive lights and full of energetic Italians.
Staying in the heart of Polignano close to the “centro historico” in an AIRBNB Charming Studio with blue doors, became a highlight of the trip. You can only get a sense of a place by spending the night and being able to wander around town early in the morning and late at night.
Even though we had our list of restaurants to try, we ended up going every night to the butcher shop located at the end of Via Giacomo Matteotti that faces the piazza to have our grilled meat filled with Burrata cheese. Due to the festivities, the butcher shop placed his grill in the middle of the street. The event was a festivity in itself. We also tried the best gelato in Italy in Gusto Caruso.
We woke up early to see the sunrise and go to the cove beach to see the waves crashing at the rocks. It’s an amazing setting but not the ideal sandy beach. It’s worth booking a tour on a boat to explore the caves, take a closer look at the cave restaurant, and take a dip at a grotto. We enjoyed vacationing like the locals in Polignano and would come back with more time in hand. This is a charming town worth spending a few nights.
Highlights of Polignano a Mare:
- Staying several nights in the “centro” and living like the locals(most foreigners take it as a day trip).. Stay the night, it makes your experience so much enriching.
- Indulging in burrata cheese, altamura bread and pairing it with meat from the “rosticerria” where you can select it from the butcher and they grill it for you.(This was our dinner for several consecutive nights.)
- Rising early to walk around the desolated town and take a dip in the beach cove surrounded by round rock stone “Lama Monachille”(it can get very crowded so head early and don’t forget to take adequate shoes as the beach is rocky.)