Travelling south of Rome – On the right side of the sea

View of Polignano a Mare
View of Polignano a Mare

The sea is a wonderful sight. You never really appreciate it until you haven’t seen it for months. It is pure relaxation and bliss. Monopoli and Polignano a Mare have two beautiful historic centres: Polignano is smaller but has more character while Monopoli is more like a small town than a village.

But if it’s a nice, sunny day don’t spend too much time in the narrow shaded streets, head straight for the sea! Monopoli has a nice walk along the rocks that ends in the port where you can either lie down on the rough stone or to sunbathe on the small sandy beach. You’ll see locals doing the same thing, escaping the indoors to enjoy the sun. If you’d really prefer to so something more historic or cultural, there’s a castle just before you come to the port with free exhibitions.

Polignano a Mare’s historic centre is actually worth a visit and it won’t take you more than an hour. If you end up here around sunset the view is amazing and you’ll be able to see the locals wandering around with their fishing rods. I don’t really know how they do it, but they fish off the top of the cliff. In Monopoli, fishing is a common passtime; we saw a grandpa with his grandchildren cleaning off two huge fish right on the rocks.

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Sleeping

Bed and breakfast I Serafini – Polignano a Mare

Ms Tonia (from Antonia) welcomed us with a smile and a few anecdotes. The bed and breakfast has a few rooms spread out across the centre of Polignano, a bar in one of the two squares and an office in the other square. Once you’ve got your head around this unconventional layout you’ll be fine! Our room was great: very clean, simply furnished with a small balcony looking on to the square and access to the roof terrace. The shower gets a special mention as it was almost like a small spa: you need to try it to believe it!

Breakfast was served in the nice bar. You could choose to sit outside on the square or inside with a view of the cliffs. The menu included homemade cake, biscuits, bread with jam and nutella, small pizzas, cheese and ham, plus drinks of course. Everything was great and all for the moderate sum of €60 per double room per night.

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Eating

Osteria I Perricci – Monopoli

This is a real rustic and crowded ‘osteria’ full of locals, which is always a good sign. Even though the place is not that small it fills up very quickly and tables are everywhere so it creates a group atmosphere. The service is very quick but friendly and the owner is always ready to joke around if you’ll let him. They serve fish of course, fresh from the sea and cooked almost in front of you. We had a big mixed starter washed down with some house white wine (a little sweet but good), followed by grilled fish for my friend while I had a ‘frittura di paranza’ (different types of fried fish): excellent and perfect match to our sea-themed day.

And once again, very good and cheap: €16 per person.

The address is: via Orazio Comes 1, map

Enoteca inFermento – Polignano a Mare

This is a nice, young and lively wine bar that organises live music and serves food. The name plays with the meaning of ‘fermento’, which in Italian means both the fermentation process of wine and liveliness. The wine is excellent: I recommend the Primitivo, a typical Puglian red. If you’re not a wine lover, normally I’d say you shouldn’t go into a wine bar, but this one is run by young and open-minded people that brew their own beer which is actually really good compared to other Italian beer brands.

They offer a good range of food. You can nibble on some delicious fresh cheese with jam or order some pasta. Food is great and not very expensive (allow €15 per person for a dish and a glass of wine). Note that the bread and the cakes are home made and you can tell!

The owners and the clientele are easygoing and friendly. Just jump in the crowd and don’t be afraid, they will be there to catch you and offer another glass of wine!

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