Driving through Puglia (Apulia)
We just got back from Puglia. Stayed in Martina Franca. We rented an apartment, which was great. We flew into Rome and drove - took us more like 6 hours, but we ran into some heavy traffic. In Martina Franca, we like Ai Portici. We ate there twice - dinner and Sunday lunch. Very different experiences. Lunch was much more leiserely. The house appetizer spread was excellent.
Our favorite meal of the trip was definitely Da Ricci, which is in Ceglie Messapica. Wonderful service, excellent food, lovely setting. We had the tasing menu, which as 60 euros each was a genuine bargin. We also had a wonderful bottle of wine - Stellarosa Salice Salentino Reserva 2003 by Cantine Due Palma. Ceglie Messapica is a beautiful little town, but we couldn't really explore too much, the tourist office doesn't even have maps to offer. We did have a good lunch there at Osteria Pugliese. It is a little local joint, but the food was wonderful and, again, the owners seemed genuinely thrilled to have tourists stop in.
We also enjoyed lunch at Due Corti in Lecce. The food there is very different - excellent, but not what you see on other menus. The bread was also fabulous. The family who runs it were terrific - Mama and Papa came out to our table to speak when their daughter told them how much we enjoyed it. They seemed really thrilled that we like everything so much.
Have a good trip.