Just wanted to share a few places we discovered on our trip around Puglia.
The first place we stayed was on the way down (we were driving from Switzerland). The Castello di Semivicoli is in a remote area not far from the sea in the hills between Pescara and Abruzzo. The Castello makes Masciarelli wines and has been converted to a lovely hotel with beautiful views of the countryside. Our hostess, Valentina, recommended a FANTASTIC restaurant in Pescara called LA ZATTERA where we feasted on crudo (try the sampling menu for 30 euros to split) and local pasta specialties. There is some English spoken there and they are extremely helpful about the wines. The view to the sea is nice, but do not expect much from the town or architecture. Ask about the traditional pasta dishes...
On to Alberobello. We stayed in a trullo outside of this picturesque place and ate two very good meals there. The first was in a little spot (maybe 5 tables) called LA CANTINA. Straightforward non-nonsense cooking and reasonable prices. Eat your seasonal pasta and greens for digestion. We were there in puntarelle season and the preparation with anchovy is divine.
For Christmas day lunch we dined with the locals and their families for a fixed menu lunch at LA LOCANDA di DON ANTONIO. We love our food and it was even too abundant for us! Course after course arrived and was devoured with a local primotivo. Copious antipasta and a wonderful wild boar. More expensive but not over the top.
Salvelletri - LA MAREA - down to the waterfront and before you go buy fish from one of the two local pescaterias where fishermen sell their catch, try this little place. No English spoken, but a hidden little gem in a small local spot. A large fried plate of fish, crudo and pasta. Cooked with care and in manageable portions with a lovely interior that you would not expect.
Martina Franca - LA TANA - hands down the best experience in the trulli area. They cook so well and have a great wine list. Friday was fish night and we had a sea bass encrusted in salt and cooked to perfection with chicore and the local bocconotto for dessert. DELICIOUS with a perfect espresso. GO and GO again. The menu is simple and they do not fuss with the food.
Lecce - street food. Street food. Sketch town with amazing baroque architecture. We ate the best kebab we've ever had and the cream horn was so insane I took a picture so my best friend in Indiana would know what she liked to buy when we were growing up was no where near the real thing.