Itria Valley, also known as the Trulli Valley, is a fairy place in the very South of Italy, in the Puglia region (Apulia). Full of beautiful olive trees and vineyards, its green landscape is broken by the white of its typical houses with the charachteristic conical roof famous all over the world, the Trulli… Many years ago, they were little stonewalls and farms where skilful artisans would turn flour into bread and pasta; fresh milk into cheese; grapes into wine and fruit into jam…
Itria is really an “enchanted” Valley, to be discovered slowly, through an itinerary just as magic: Martina Franca, Locorotondo, Grottaglie, Alberobello are cities not to be missed! You could start with a little treat for your children: take them for the day to the Zoo – Safari in Fasano, near Alberobello…
You can then head off to the Castellana Caves. They are another amazing wonder, a magical underworld, where stalactites and stalagmites cascade of an ancient natural cavern will just take your breath away… The formed thousands of years ago, from the water which – pentrating through the limestone -excavated the rocks, generating a river and underground hollows.
You can visit the Castellana Caves through two different itineraries. The longest one leads to the famous “white cave”, a natural wonder made of thousands of brilliant white concretions and it is considered one of the most beautiful caves in the world. The colour of the concretions depends on the purity of the melted rock and in fact the “white cave” reaches almost perfection. But this underworld hides another treasure: you will find numerous species of animals that have been managing to live underground, in complete darkness, thanks to morphological variations (like loss of colour and sight). These organisms are called troglobites and some of them are real living fossils, as their progenitors found shelter in the caves, whilst family members living outside became extinct. A fascinating trip and an opportunity to learn for both adults and children…
Away from the darkness of the caves now… let’s catch the blue of the sea! Moving towards the coastline, with its long beaches and crystalline waters, nature takes over with its wild landscape…
The little elves from Itria Valley revealed us a secret: it seems that the best Puglia beaches for the youngest tourists are Ginosa Marina, Porto Cesareo and Marina di Ugento… There is also Gallipoli, the famous ‘beautiful island-city’ with its baroque style and painted tiles, connected to the mainland by an old stone bridge. And, Santa Maria di Leuca: from its promontory you can see where the Ionio sea meets the Adriatic sea …
And, after sand castles and water games, we found ourselves in… The City of the Two Seas: Taranto, separated by two big ponds, the Mar Grande harbour on one side and the Mar Piccolo harbour on the other. Taranto has a lot to offer: a visit to the Aragonese Castle, also known as Castel Sant’Angelo, or maybe a mini cruise in the Taranto gulf and in the Mar Piccolo, with daily sailings from Vasto docks.
Do plan a visit to the famous mussel farms, to the Punta Penna bridge, to the old cargo port, and to Saint Peter and Saint Paul islands. Also, I suggest to walk along the beautiful seafront promenade (the highest in Europe) and, after the stroll, to pay a visit to the National archaeological museum of Taranto (MArTA), hosting one of the biggest collections of artifacts from Magna Grecia.
For the moment, this is where our trip ends. But the Puglia region is not only trulli and sea. For those who are looking to explore its hinterland, just stay tuned and don’t miss the second part of this magic story. You will find it right here in the next few days…
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Trulli Valley is exactly the kind of place I picture when I think of Italian villages. So thrilled that places like this still exist! Thanks for sharing Alessandra!
I went there for the first time that i was 10 and it was like a fairy tale!! Time has stopped there!! Thanks to you guys!!
Loved the article and the idea of “caving”, which I have not done. Must be some internet problem at the moment because the photos would not load, but I loved the content.
Lately I saw pictures about the Trulli Valley and I was so fascinated by the houses. They look indeed like a fairy place. Now that I read in your article there are beautiful caves nearby I´d really love to visit this place.
Italy has so many beautiful places to offer. I was hiking along the Cinque Terre and it was such an amazing place. The same with the Mt. Etna at Sicily. I had the chance to get close to the Summit.
Italy is always a great choice for a journey.
Thanks Christina! You’r so right!! We love pur country!!
Wow – your web-site is going to be our Italian Travel bible I think – so glad we found you!
Thanks a lot!! Very happy to hear about that!!
Thanks so much!!