Itria Valley

Nestled in the southern region of Puglia (Italy) lies the beautiful Valle D’Itria, known as the Itria Valley in English. Set on a high fertile plain, the valley runs from Putignano in the north all the way to Ostuni in the south. Blessed with stunning white-washed villages, picturesque rolling hills, and fantastic food and wine – the Itria Valley has been captivating visitors for generations now.

The biggest icon here is without doubt the traditional trulli dry-stone huts with conical roofs. These incredible works of architecture are mainly found in the town of Alberobello but are also dotted throughout the countryside. The unique structures were once used by local farmers and shepherds for shelter, however many of them have been converted into charming little holiday homes and B&B’s today – offering guests a truly authentic Puglian experience.

Another notable feature of the area is the abundance of ancient olive groves. In fact, the Itria Valley is considered to be one of the best olive oil producing regions in the world. You can purchase bottles at artisanal farms or markets and utilize it to enhance dishes – from the simple pleasure of dipping bread in olive oil to drizzling pasta in the liquid gold. In general, the Valle D’Itria is a paradise for foodies with products like olive oil and wine playing a major role.

Traveling through the Itria Valley is easily done by car. There is an international airport located in Bari where you can land and then hire a vehicle to set off on your road trip. Alternatively, you can book tours with us here at Apulia Private Tours with a series of transfers and excursions included. We will happily take you to the most magical villages in the Valle D’Itria such as Alberobello, Locorotondo, Martina Franca, Cisternino, Ceglie Messapica and Ostuni. Below is an overview of each of these destinations and what makes them so special.


Itria Valley


Top 6 Villages to Visit in the Itria Valley

1. Alberobello

No trip to the Valle D’Itria is complete without spending at least a day or two in Alberobello. This town of about 10,000 inhabitants packs a big punch for such a small place. The main attractions, of course, are the UNESCO trulli houses: well-preserved whitewashed dry-stone huts with cone-shaped roofs constructed out of the limestone found in the surrounding fields. There are an estimated 1,600 trulli buildings located in the Rione Monti and Rione Aia Piccola districts of Alberobello – meaning there is plenty for everyone to enjoy.

Many of the trulli have been converted into boutique shops, little restaurants and cute B&B’s, but perhaps the most impressive ones are the Trullo Sovrano (heritage museum) and Church of Saint Anthony of Padua (historic church). Wandering around the narrow streets of Alberobello and ticking off as many trulli hotspots as you can makes for a splendid way to spend the afternoon.

Once you have done that, you will be pleased to know that there are some more unique things to do in Alberobello. For example, the town is the perfect place to sample traditional Apulian cuisine, go for a bicycle ride through the gorgeous country lanes in the vicinity and hit up the local wineries to try the white wine varieties championed in Puglia. You can also get your shopping fix done here at the range of souvenir shops, clothing stores and ceramic sellers.


Itria Valley


Itria Valley

2. Locorotondo

Locorotondo is a true hidden gem of Puglia that not many travelers ever visit, which has helped it to keep its authentic charm. The village is perched on the top of a hill overlooking the Itria Valley with a circular-shaped historic center (Centro Storico) that boasts whitewashed houses, seductive alleys, marvelous churches and epic views. The village is surrounded by green olive groves and wineries, creating a scenic atmosphere from whatever point you approach it.

One of the most interesting aspects about Locorotondo is the cummerse style architecture showcased on many of the dwellings. Unlike the conical trulli roofs, the cummerse buildings feature sloping gable roofs covered with chiancarelle. In addition to soaking up the architecture, the main things to do here are relaxing at a local cafe with an aperol spritz in hand and watching a colorful sunset. This is the type of village where you go to enjoy the simple pleasures in life, whether it be people-watching or grazing on good food.

Itria Valley



3. Martina Franca

Martina Franca is situated on a hilltop in the Itria Valley, just 20 minutes drive from Alberobello or 10 minutes drive from Locorotondo. The town is regarded as one of the prettiest destinations in Puglia due to its baroque architecture. Not only are the buildings super romantic but the local vibe of laundry drying in the sun, cats napping on the streets and families chatting away gives the feeling that you are living in the Italy of old. There are also some wonderful restaurants and wine bars in town, making it an ideal getaway for couples.

Some of the sightseeing highlights in Martina Franca include: Porta di Santo Stefano (an impressive city gate), Palazzo Ducale (a former royal residence), Basilica di San Martino (a baroque and rococo style church) and Piazza Maria Immacolata (the most famous town square). While these are all magnificent sites in their own right, perhaps the best place for a wander is the La Lama neighborhood where you can get lost in a maze of whitewashed streets.

Itria Valley

Martina Franca

4. Cisternino

Another village high on a hill overlooking the Valle D’Itria, Cisternino is one of the best kept secrets of Puglia and is absolutely worth checking out for a good few hours. Visitors can keep themselves busy by exploring the labyrinth of narrow streets in the historic center, dining at the local tavernas and admiring the sublime views on offer. The most prominent spots to visit are the Chiesa di San Nicola di Patara (a neo-classical church), Torre Normanno (a historical tower) and Ponte della Madonnina (a famous pedestrian bridge).

If you are coming as part of your own road trip, make sure you stay for sunset at one of the terraced bars. You can order a glass of wine or a craft beer and watch the orange glow blanket the valley into the distance. Reaching the village is easy from places like Locorotondo or Martina Franca, so you could always stay at one of those towns overnight and visit Cisternino for the day.


Itria Valley

5. Ceglie Messapica

Ceglie Messapica is probably the most off-the-beaten-track village on this list with very few tourists even knowing its name. Only a stone’s throw away from Martina Franca and Ostuni, it can easily be incorporated into your Valle D’Itria journey if you have the time. The town has a completely different look and feel to it than other Apulian towns, as it’s got an almost Moorish style. This is because of the Castello Ducale and the Moorish style lanes surrounding it.

Along with the castle that dominates the skyline, ancient churches and alluring palaces also make up the architecture. The cuisine here is another reason to go. A number of great restaurants serve up delicious local fare. By arriving at the beginning of Autumn visitors can participate in the Giovedi Settembre festival too – a celebration of food, drink and dance with a purpose of emptying the old wine barrels to make room for the upcoming harvest.

Ceglie Messapica

6. Ostuni

Ostuni is the type of Itria Valley city bursting with beauty, history and real Italian spirit. Although it’s situated near the coast, it’s still technically located in the valley but at the very end point of its demarcation. Photographers in particular will find it to be a joyful experience – endless white buildings, little stairways and colorful doors invite you to capture the whimsical scenes. Around every new corner awaits a new photo-op, whether it be tomatoes hanging out from the windows or kids running around playing football.

After discovering parts of the city by foot, one cool way to cover more ground is to book a traditional Ape car. These tiny vehicles (common in Italy) allow you to weave your way through the narrow streets, and park pretty much anywhere. This is a great option because you can’t actually bring larger vehicles into the city center – you would need to find a parking lot outside.

Once you have ticked these awesome adventures off your bucket list you could enjoy an aperitif at a lounge bar with views of the countryside, taste the typical flavored ice cream of the Ostuni area such as fig, almond milk and prickly pear, or head to the resplendent Cathedrale Santa Maria Assunta for even more incredible photos. For your photography sessions in Ostuni, it’s a nice idea to dress in blue or white clothes to fit in harmoniously with the color scheme of the city. No matter who you visit Ostuni with – whether it be a pal, partner or alone – this Apulian gem will make you fall head over heels in love.