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Making Polignano a Mare as our base

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Fair Oaks...
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Making Polignano a Mare as our base

We will be in the Puglia area towards the end of May. We are looking for a base to travel to Martina Franca, Alberobello, Ostuni, S. Vito dei Normanni. We were thinking of using Martina Franca as a base, but after reading some of the Trip Advisor forums, we are thinking that might not be a good idea. Should we use Polignano a Mare instead as a base to visit the above?

martina franca
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1. Re: Making Polignano a Mare as our base

It is a relatively nice place to visit but awfully crowded in July/August. So, in summer, it is definitely not a good base, just a place to see and pass on. Parking is impossible most week-ends and all summer. They had a lovely historic town, then, as so often down here, they proceeded to ruin it. They built five times its size, all around it, in modern, soul-less concrete "human chicken coops". So, now, the old city is just a token gesture, crammed in, at the centre of a sprawling, ugly, concrete blotch, at the edge of the sea. Sad really !

However, coming in May should be ok. Hotel Saraceno is a good bet and right beside the "must visit" creation space and open museum of Pepino Campanello, the justifiably mega-famous light sculptor. He is an architect who specialises in the design and creation of beautiful, unique art-lights. He is one interesting guy and his workshop is a must-see, if they let you in !

Maybe stay elsewhere and do the sights ! Puglia is one of the most wonderful places to visit, in Italy or Europe. Look out for Feudi wines and our matchless foods from land or sea !

martina franca
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2. Re: Making Polignano a Mare as our base

Forgot to add that Fasano is geographically a good bet to stay. You have a few options, including some good old-stlye house rentals that give you the option to be in a home-from-home, while mostly eating out . Look up " Sessant'anni" of cantina of San Marzano on google. It is a real find ! You will enjoy it here in may !

Ostuni, Italy
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3. Re: Making Polignano a Mare as our base

I agree that Fasano is well-connected roadwise, but the town itself is a bore. Why not look into Ostuni? It's well-located between Brindisi and Bari but with a beautiful medieval centre and a lively nightlife.

Parking near the historic centre is relatively easy, especially in May. Otherwise you can always stay further away from the city (maybe towards the E55 highway) for easier parking and access.

martina franca
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4. Re: Making Polignano a Mare as our base

Daniel is right enough about Ostuni being more lively, although Fasano has the edge in proximity to sea and motorway and boasts a few attractions in its own right. Ostuni is also one of the few cities in Puglia that actually does look after the appearance of it's centro storico. (For example, Martina Franca could easily have had the most beautiful inland centro storico in the region. Unfortunately, they seem to have opted, for past years, to convert it into a type of favela or slum, of too-many one and two room hovels, for poor immigrants and often incivil local residents, as opposed to a bazzar of interesting shops as they have done in Ostuni and Cisternino or even tiny Locorotondo. The narrow streets of Martina's dirty Centro Storico are a walkers obstacle course, with cars parked everywhere and dogs droppings strategically placed around every blind corner, to give you something to remember them by, on your welcome retreat to safer havens ! What turds ! )

Prague, Czech...
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5. Re: Making Polignano a Mare as our base

Currently in a Trulli outside Martina Franca so I think I can give some perspective. If you are looking to tour and see some places you mentioned the Ostuni may be the place. I would look into staying on a Masseria B and B which could give you a local "olive oil" appreciation as well as what it really is like in Puglia. Forget MF, there is nothing in town except too many cars, too many people, and nothing to really see- even in Dec. . I would do Alberobello and locorotondo in a day then in the afternoon when everything closes go over to Castellana Grotto and do the caves. I would strongly suggest Lecce which with the good roads to there is about an hour away and worth the trip. Then I would do the Adriatic route, Polignano and Monopoli and then in the afternoon the drive thru zoo in Fasano. Remember everything shuts down tight from 12/1pm to 4/5pm everywhere so get out early and plan your days so you can see the sites and still have something to do in the afternoon. We are here for 2 weeks so or timeframe is different . Hope that helps.

Edited: 29 November 2013, 15:20
martina franca
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6. Re: Making Polignano a Mare as our base

Hope the weather stays good for you ! I live in Martina Franca, so can only agree with your assessment. It really is a pity, but the Comune is a useless talking shop, tourism is just a word on a pamphlet or an excuse to take a junket abroad or up to the BIT in Milan, at taxpayers expense and the Regione do not care at all and are hopelessly incompetent, anyway. So, we are fated to continue as a place to pass through quickly !!

What a shame !

Martina Franca...
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7. Re: Making Polignano a Mare as our base

Martina is not a tourist town, and it doesn't show it's best side to the outside. Martina is a beautiful town when you take the time to explore it's centro. Martina has been late to the tourist scene, but the new mayor is doing a great job in turning things around. I see many tourists arriving in the mid day to see the town when everything is closed and people are at home. Come on wednesday to one of the best markets in the area, or after 19:00 to watch the town come alive. In May there are many great places to stay between Fasano and Ostuni off the SS16. In the summer it is a bit fresher up in the Valle d'itria.

martina franca
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8. Re: Making Polignano a Mare as our base

Ha ha ha, " Come after 7.00pm "? Maybe best not to come at all ? What should the poor tourist who gets up before 7.00pm do ?? Then, our famous "market" ?? Fruit and veg and cheap chinese plastic or cheap clothes made from ugly man-made-fibre ?? Do you think well-heeled tourists have any interest in looking at cheap stalls and litter-strewn streets ? Have you ever travelled, my friend? Do you know what tourists want ? The "new mayor" could care less. And as for exploring the centre.....look up at the huge ugly antenae tower overlooking the Ducal palace and Pizza Rome, as it emits dangerous radiation, over the un-suspecting and ignorant passers-by, who are slowly being cooked by micro-waves, as they gaze at dirty, graffiti-covered walls and dog-droppings squashed between the chewing gum spots on the ugly slabs placed where beautiful old chianche once lay. Try squeezing between the rusty cars jammed in every narrow passage of the old town, dirtying or tearing that new outfit and tell me again how wonderful our centro storico really is ?? Hmmn !! You were right when you said Martina Franca is not a tourist town.

London, England
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9. Re: Making Polignano a Mare as our base

Sad to see the Martina Franca debate- seems to have changed since we had an aprtment there 3 years ago!

But Polignano is a great choice, and as an alternative to a hotel, try the serviced apartment at Casamare B&B, Via Porto, 1, 70044 Polignano A Mare Bari, Italy ‎ +39 345 257 2642 (see my review)

10. Re: Making Polignano a Mare as our base

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