Saturday, July 15, 2023

Polignano a Mare

The sun kisses your skin as a soft breeze leads you down the whitewashed stony steps to the ocean. As you pass the piazza your nose stops you to smell the heavenly scent of something fried and doughy... so you go inside to grab a bite of the pillowy-soft freshly made pocket of mozzarella and tomato Panzerotto. Naturally you begin to hum to the tune “Volare"... welcome to Polignano a Mare.

We had an incredible time in the now emerging gem of a location on the east-coast of Italy, in the region of Bari. The beauty, the cuisine, the people, the ocean... a spectacular place longing to be discovered again and again. We can't wait to go back!


Torres Suite: We stayed at this amazing family-owned Airbnb, just a few steps away from the Domenico Modugno monument piazza. They have many rooms located on different streets, but all very close to the main walkway with shops, restaurants, and the famous pebble beach between the cliffs and cove. Their hospitality was unmatched and they went far above and beyond to make sure we had all that we needed to have a great time. Our room even had a "secret" little chamber that went up the steps to a terrace with the beautiful view of the town and ocean! I would definitely go back and I highly recommend staying here!


Monumento Domenico Modugno: Polignano a Mare is the hometown of Domenico Modugno, otherwise most famous for the song Volare. Years after he passed away they dedicated this monument to him. *Fun Tip: You need to throw your hands up and belt out the lyrics to Volare as you smile for your photo in front of this monument.

Terrazza Vista Mare: As you walk through the little streets, you'll find many areas that are picture-perfect. This terrace is the perfect spot that overlooks the Lama Monichile pebble beach.

Lama Monichile: Perhaps one of the most famous photographs of Polignano a Mare always includes this shot of the pebble beach. It is absolutely beautiful and scenic, the water is a gorgeous turquoise. *Tip: It gets very crowded, therefore aim to get there super early in the morning to get a spot on the beach. Keep in mind it is all pebbles and rocks, so bring water shoes with you to be comfortable as you walk and swim.

Grotta Piana: A cove you can walk through located on the Lama Monochile beach, where you can also jump into the water once you reach the end of it. 

Centro Storico: This is the historic center of Polignano a Mare. Beautiful whitewashed streets, a section of poetry romancing the stone walls... a dreamy old world charm.

Via Roma: Located in the Centro Storico, this street has the famous lyrics of Volare on display as you walk underneath them. They are beautifully lit up at night. There many souvenir shops and caffè bars you can stop in as you stroll along your way.

Dorino Giro in Barca: (Boat Tour): We had such a great time aboard this boat tour seeing the beautiful caves of Polignano a Mare. Our tour guide provided fun facts about the town, a few laughs, and a great music playlist! During our tour we had the option of jumping off the boat and going in for a quick swim and then coming back to enjoy some sparkling Prosecco. We had such a great time... definitely worth doing during your time here!

Matera: We went for a day excursion to Matera and it took about an one hour of travel time with car from Polignano a Mare. The ancient neighborhoods, known as sassi is completely built out of limestone. It is one of the oldest inhabited settlements in history. Truly a wonder to see.

Alberobello: We went to Alberobello the same day right after Matera, which took another hour to reach by car (if you go directly from Polignano a Mare it is about a thirty minute drive). This cute little town is known for its Trulli the small round buildings with cone roofs made out of stone. You can spend your time strolling the maze of streets, shop for souvenirs, and enjoy the unique views in Alberobello.

Food & Dining

Antica Tratoria Comes Del 1926: We dined here the first night and it was impeccable. From the traditional, homemade dishes all prepared by Giuseppe's mamma (the owner), to the outstanding hospitality and service of Giuseppe himself... it truly is a hidden gem. Be sure to reserve in advance, he does not take walk-ins because he is so dedicated to his guests who are dining in that evening. Our dinner was so fresh and authentic, all made out of love and dedication... we felt like family and cannot wait to go back!  

Grotta Palazzese: This exclusive restaurant/hotel place is absolutely stunning. Located in a natural cave overlooking the sea, it is definitely a beautiful place to celebrate a special occasion. I will be honest, it is very expensive. The prefixed packages are a 3-course meal with dessert and are displayed online, where you can also make a reservation. We were pleasantly surprised by the meal, but the real treat is the gorgeous location.

La Rotellina: No visit is complete without tasting a hot, fluffy, soft, doughy and oh so good Panzerotto. It is basically dough stuffed with their many fillings, closed up and then fried. My personal favorite was Il Classico Pomodoro e Mozzarella and for dessert, Nutella, Mascarpone, e Granella di Nocciole.

Bella Blu Gelateria: This gelato shop was so incredibly good. I may or may not have had multiple gelati during my stay... their creamy mango is delightful.

Taralli: Round olive oil bread sticks that are made with many unique flavors. They originate from this region of Puglia and are often served alongside bread for dinner. 

Caffè Speciale: A unique coffee served in Polignano a Mare with sugar, lemon zest, cream, and amaretto... say no more.

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Isola di Capri: The Enchanting Island

The last time I was in Capri, I had just purchased my first dslr camera and was learning about photography. I was left in awe of this beautiful island... the vivid blues of the ocean, the scent of Jasmine flowers caressing you as you walk down the little alleys, the sound of the waves softly breaking on the rocks... it's a dream on earth. It makes me think if the Lord created this much beauty here... I could only imagine what Heaven will be like. 

I was so excited to go back with my husband, this time we stayed on the island in an Airbnb close by the Marina Grande. To get to Capri, you need to take a 45 minute ferry which departs right by the Naples Port, Molo Beverello. You can choose to go for the day and explore that way, but if you want to get the true experience and enjoy Capri without the craziness and weariness of travel, I recommend staying for a night or two. As in many places in Italy, there is A LOT of walking in Capri, especially if you choose to stay like we did. 

When you first arrive at the port, the Marina Grande you have a few options of getting up to the main area. You can purchase tickets at the kiosk for the bus that takes you up, the Funicolare cable car, or you can wait on a line to grab a taxi car, or try to grab one yourself if you can. 

If you have time be sure to also visit Anacapri, located on the higher western part of the island. Once you get to Anacapri, in order to get even higher to Monte Solaro, you need to take the lift that's about a 15 minute solo ride to reach the top. Once at the top you can enjoy the spectacular views, and some refreshing granita al limone.

*Tip: Tourists begin to arrive early in the morning around 8 off the ferry boats and leave at the last ferry around 6 in the evening. After that you pretty much have the island to yourself. We woke up really early to purchase our boat ride around Capri when the sun wasn't as hot and there were generally less people. We also walked around in the evening in the Giardini di Augusto and ate dinner and it wasn't crowded at all. 


Soleluna Airbnb: This apartment we stayed in was a hidden gem. Roberto and his wife were the hosts and were the nicest most hospitable people ever (Roberto also gave us a few good laughs, lol). It is located within a few minutes of walking distance to the Marina Grande and we had the beautiful private terrace and home to ourselves. 

Bonus, it also has it's own private walking area that other tourists cannot access that leads you all the way down to the Marina Grande. *Tip: We absolutely loved it, however this apartment did have many steps and we had to carry our luggage both up and down when we arrived and left. I would only recommend this location if you don't mind the walk and climbing steps. 


La Grotta Azzura: The Blue Grotto is one not to be missed in Capri. The cobalt blue waters sparkle as you duck to enter the dark cave that reveals glowing ethereal blue ocean waters. Once in the grotto, sit and listen to the echo of all the sailors singing O Sole Mio as the boat rocks you softly... I had to dip my hands in the magical glowing water. 

*Tips: You can purchase tickets to the Blue Grotto at the Marina Grande port. You have the option of the full island tour (including the Faraglioni) or only to the Blue Grotto. If you prefer not to go on the island boat tour, there is a bus that you can take which you can then wait on a line that takes you down the stairs to the Blue Grotto boats.  

*If you do take the boat ride to the Blue Grotto, there is an additional €15 fee to go onto the smaller boat that takes you in the cave. There is literally a pay station boat in the middle of the water with a "Cassa" sign, right before you enter the cave. You also have the option of not going in the cave and just waiting on the bigger boat until others have their ride in the Grotto and return. Gratuity is very much appreciated by the sailors at the end of the boat rides. 

Faraglioni: The Faraglioni are among one of the famous sights of Capri. If you take a boat tour around the island, they say if you kiss the one you love as the boat passes underneath the arch, you'll be together forever.

Giardini di Augusto: Beautiful gardens to stroll in and take in the sights. Tickets are purchased as you walk in for only €1.63.

Anacapri: The other half of the island located on the western, higher part of the island.

Monte Solaro: You need to take the lift from Anacapri to get to the top of the mountain, amazing views once you reach the top.

Casa del Sandalo: I was looking to purchase handmade sandals, and this place truly stood out amongst the other shops. Antonio was so talented and made my beautiful sandals right in front of us, all the while letting a crowd watch him at work and giving us a few laughs.

Food & Dining

L'Approdo: Roberto from our Airbnb recommended this restaurant conveniently located just a few steps from the Marina Grande. We loved it so much that we went a few times! Their pizza, fried baby squid, stuffed zucchini flowers, and stuffed crochette were absolutely amazing! The staff was very kind and the outside seating is beautiful. Add a Capri Spritz and Gin Basil Smash to your meal and you are all set!

Panorama: Just like the name suggests, this restaurant (a bit on the pricier side) has beautiful panoramic views of Capri. However they do require reservations ahead of time, especially if you want to have dinner during the beautiful sunset. Be sure to reserve your table a few days (possibly even a week or so) if you want to make sure you have a table. Perfect to celebrate a special occasion!

Buonocore Gelateria: This is the famous gelato shop on the island and if the long line outside the shop doesn't hint you need to try it, then maybe the heavenly scent of fresh waffle cones being made will. Their gelato is also SO good... definitely worth the wait!

La Canzone del Cielo: If you take the lift up to Anacapri, this is the first restaurant you'll see with a gorgeous view on Mount Solaro. You don't need to eat at the restaurant to sit underneath the beautiful awning, you can simply order a drink from the Caffe Vergnano 1882 bar on the side and they will bring it out to your table. Be sure to order either a Granita al Limone, a slushy, ice cold lemon drink perfect on a hot summer day, or my favorite a Caffé Crema, a delicious slushy coffee cream.