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    • Day 7

      Cisternino, Italy

      September 3, 2022 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

      We slept in a bit before getting a final breakfast at our cave hotel. We decided to let the girls take us on a little walk around the town before we left and boy was it HOT already! We went back to the cool of our cave, packed up and then grabbed a car to take us back to our rental car which we had parked outside the city walls and we were off - headed towards the town of Cisternino in Puglia! We drove for about an hour and watched the countryside turn red and rocky with cacti everywhere. Welcome to Puglia! We pulled into the small town of Martina Franca - our destination for lunch - and like all Italian towns it was absoutley ugly on the outskirts - big apartment complexes -and then completley charming when you entered. It took us awhile to find the restaurant - Cocco Pazza da Stefano - but when we did we were in for a real treat and had the most decliouc food! Ravioli, meatballs, squash blossoms and some of the best wine we have had since we arrived in Italy. After eating WAY too much we walked to the town center before heading back into the car to make our way to the villa we were renting for the week which sat right outside Cisternino. Stefano (not of the restaurant - a different one) met us and showed us around the old, restored trulli. The girls, of course, went right into the pool and Matt and I relaxed on the patio with some wine. Later in the evening Maria came over to cook us some dinner. We were still a little full from lunch, so we had lots of delicous leftovers :) Finally, off to to bed (on the firmest beds imaginable!).Read more

    • Day 5

      Cisternino i Ostuni

      October 21, 2022 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

      Hem anat a Cisternino a primera hora. Poble petit, però la Zuzanna aconsegueix trobar un jersei. Passem una bona estona intentant trobar com agafar el bus de camí a Ostuni. Ens ajuda una senyora d'una botiga d'incens i coneixem una dona albanesa que no para de parlar. La Zuzanna es mareja una mica, així que desfarem el camí a la tornada. Ostuni és més gran i el centre històric és més maco, però més turístic. Mengem pasta i albergínia farcida. Fem una volta més per Ostuni i anem cap al bus. No tenim prous diners pel bus, així que anem a treure diners i a esperar el proper. A Cisternino mengem un pastisset i un gelat. Tornem a Martina Franca en un tren dels anys 20, faig una migdiada i a sopar calamarata i carn amb formatge. A dormir.Read more

    • Day 8

      Cisternino, Italy

      September 4, 2022 in Italy ⋅ ☁️ 24 °C

      We woke up this morning and ate a quick breakfast at our villa before heading out to Alborobello - a UNESCO heritage town about 20 minutes away. The town is known for having trulli (the cone shaped houses) everywehre and it was so lovely to see but very, very crowded with Italian tourists everywhere. We met our guide and walked around, learning the history of the town and trullo before heading out of the town (we were not sad to leave) and into the countryside for a mozzarellla making demonstration at a local masseria or farm. It was a beautiful drive through rolling hills with dry stone walls everhere and red, red earth with SO much stone. When we got to the masseria they were super busy wiht Sunday lunch, but we watched the owner make mozaarella, straciatella and buratta and then tgot to sample everyting - so good!! The family runs the farm/restaurant and it was really interesting and inspiring to see their operation. The only bad thing was Hannah having an allergic reaction to one of their cats :( I read somehwere that there was an antiques market in Monopli, so we decided to drive over there to check it out. Of course we found no market, but we had a lovely afternoon walking around the town and getting our first glimpse of the Adriatic sea! And of course, we stopped for a gelato! We were all super full from the cheese tasting so headed back to the villa for some afternoon pool time and to wait for Auntie Rin and Damian who were driving in from Rome. Luckily we had SO many leftovers from dinner the night before so we were able to pull a meal together and spend the evening catching up when they arrived. We are SO excited to have them here this week!Read more

    • Day 9

      Cisternino, Italy

      September 5, 2022 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

      We all woke up a bit late on Monday and, after a quick breakfast at the villa, headed in to explore the town of Cisternino (the power got cut all day at teh villa so we had to get out of there!). We finally managed to park and then wandered into the old town where we stopped for a gelato and coffee. Thus fortified, we spent the next hour or so wandering through the old streets. It was such a lovely town and the girls loved choosing which windy path to go down. We hopped back in the car and drove one town over - to Locortondo - for lunch where we ordered WAY too much pizza and then wandered around again (the best thing to do in these small Puglian towns!). Everyone was a bit tired, so we headed back to the villa for rest and pool time. Later that evening Anna Maria came over for our very own cooking class. We learned to make macaroni, orecchitte, beans, polpette, brushcetta and SO much more. The kids (and adults) had a blast and we ate dinner outside under the stars which was amazing. Such a wonderful experience to cook with Anna Maria!Read more

    • Day 10

      Cisternino, Italy

      September 6, 2022 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

      We woke up early (for us!) and headed out in the car for our boat ride in Pogliano a Mare on the Adriatic Sea. We met our boat driver, Roberto, and spent the next hour exploring all the grotti (caves) along the coast. It was so beautiful out and the kids loved getting wet on the boat and going fast! After visiting all the caves, we stopped for the kids to take a swim in the sea which they loved even though the water was SO salty! We left the marina and drove into the town center to walk around and - wow - what a gorgeous place! It was quite touristy, but the town was super cute and the views over the sea were amazing. We really enjoyed our visit. We stopped for a very average lunch at a seafood place (followed, luckily, by a very good gelato) and then headed back to the villa for a rest and swim. We had loved our time at Coco Pazzo da Stefano earlier in the week, so we decided to take Corinne and Damien back there for dinner. So out we headed to Martina Franca where we encountered the most insane traffic ever trying to get into the town center. We eventually made it to our dinner and it was just as good as I remembered. We sat out on the piazza and even thought the kids were tired (we left at 10:15!), it was such a good meal and worth it!Read more

    • Day 11

      Cisternino, Italy

      September 7, 2022 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

      We decided that since the kids had been such troopers dealing with all our tours and old stuff, we would take them out for a "kids day" so we packed into the car and drove north to the Indiana Park for a day on the ropes course. It was a lovely drive but VERY twisty and when we arrived, poor Evie got car sick all over the parking lot :( Luckily, she immediately felt better and we were ready to go! The kids harnessed up and had a blast on the courses and ziplines. It was a really cool space and we spent the morning there stopping only to swat mosquitoes and eat an ice cream cone! We were hungry for lunch so we found a place right off the road and what a place it was! Absolutely packed with locals, you picked a number like at a deli and orderd the most delicious food for like 15 euro. Intimidating - but fun. We all loved it even though I almost had a heart attack ordering. We grabbed a few cookies on the way out before heading back to the villa for pool time and cards with Rin and Damien (who stayed around town during the day). Later in the evening we drove over to Ostuni for dinner. Once we got over the crazy parking situation we made our way up, up, up to the white washed and absolutely lovely city. Ostuni is surrounded by old fortress walls and built up on a big hill so you constantly are going up these lovely limestone alleyways to get anwhere. It was magical in the fading twilight. We went to our dinner which was in a big grotto like area and the kids did really well! We kept them up way too late, but had such fun wandering back the old streets to find our car that it was worth it.Read more

    • Day 12

      Cisternino, Italy

      September 8, 2022 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

      Today did not go exactly as planned (bound to happen at least once on the trip!), but it was still a lovely day despite some travel woes. The kids woke up a bit late and decided to go for a swim rather than eat breakfast. I wanted to go back to Ostuni to explore more as we didn't have enough time the night before, so we headed back to explore (error number one - hungry kids). Error number two - we didn't anticipate how crowded it would be during the day, and after a harrowing drive through the dreaded "centro" (error number three) we finally parked and walked in and got promptly lost. It was hot and crowded and touristy and perhaps one of those cities best left for evenings, but we finally found a place and begged them for a bit of food (no food until 12, but they got us a nutella croissant from a nearby bakery for which we were eternally grateful) and we all felt a bit better afterwards. We walked around for a bit then then decided to call it quits and headed back to the car for our next stop - Grotiglie the ceramic center of Puglia. We finally arrived after driving through some really strange, abandoned towns (so much is abandoned in Puglia!). We parked and the kids had a great time checking out the different shops and they got some gifts for their teachers. Unfortunately we were late arriving and in a short while it was siesta time and most of the shops closed. We decided to leave and head to nearby Ceglie Messapica for lunch as we were all hungry. We parked easily and walked into the charming town, but everything had JUST closed for lunch (of course). Lucikly one restarualnt was open so we had some cheese and meats (and well-deserved wine) in a lovely courtyard before heading back to the villa to meet up with Rin and Damien for a swim. Yesterday, I had made some quick changes to our dinner plans and we all headed out at 7:00 to a winery in Locortondo for dinner. At first we were a little skeptical, but it turned out to be one of THE most magical nights. Frank, the chef, was such a character and cooked diner for us in the trullo and it was unbelivable - so much food and we tried three of the wines which were delcious. At 8:00 a babysitter came and made jewelry with the girls and they were happy too. It was SUCH an amazing and special evening and one we will never forget (and a lovely end to a rather average day!).Read more

    • Day 13

      Cisternino, Italy

      September 9, 2022 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

      We woke up and said goodby to Rin and Damien who were heading off to Amalfi. After, the girls jumped straight into the pool and we hung out for a bit before heading out for a beach day! We drove back to the coast to Capitolo near Monopoli to Bambu Lido, this super cool beach club on the Adriatic. It was a bit pricey, but the club amenities were amazing and the beach was perfect. The girls played all morning in the sand and in the ocean and we had an excellent lunch at the beach club. We wer all sad to leave, but home we must go (boo). When we got back, the kids went directly into the pool again while I packed and then at 7:00 Daniela came back to the villa to babysit while Matt and I went out to a solo dinner back in Ceglia Messapacia. We had a very stern waitress with lots of thoughts on what to eat, when to drink etc. BUT the meal was absolutely delicious! After dinner, we walked all through the town which was incredicbly lively and vibrant (in a completely local, non-touristy way). Such a wonderful last full day in Puglia!Read more

    • Day 5


      August 11, 2020 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

      E oggi finisce qui la nostra permanenza a Matera dove ci regala al risveglio una bellissima fotografia con in cielo le mongolfiere, splendido. Ripartiamo alla volta di Cisternino, uno dei Borghi più belli d’Italia, ma soprattutto (dal mio punto di vista), terra di ingegnosissimi macellai. Da un lato, la tradizione della bombetta, ed in generale della carne alla griglia, è molto sentita in Valle d’Itria. Il centro pullula di locali di questo tipo, dove all’ingresso si trova un banco dal quale si sceglie carne di ottima qualità, ancora cruda, e se ne richiede la cottura.Cisternino è dunque il posto dove andare per potersi fermare in un posto qualsiasi e mangiare bombette divine, spendendo pochissimo!Read more

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