2nd – 9th Feb. 2006 (Unit S. Maria al Tempio)
Came here for a relaxing break and a little culture. We got so much more! Wonderful people, beautiful Oria, fantastic apartment and “THE SNOW” was wonderful. Many of the places we have visited have been interesting, but Alberobello was beautiful. Thank you Franco for all your helpful advice and kindness. Hope to come here again soon.
Ann & Brian Grays, Essex
13 – 15 Gennaio 2006 (Unit S. Maria al Tempio)
Sfogliando questo guestbook sembra di essere nel centro del mondo in un piccolo luogo come Oria. Accolti con affetto nella piccola ma confortevole casa dei miei grandi amici Francesco e Watsana. L’accoglienza ha contribuito a rendere “magico” il week-end trascorso qui ad Oria.
Claudio & Marianna - Puglia
27th December 2005 - 5th January 2006 (Unit S. Maria al Tempio)
Like most other correspondents here, the friendliness of our greeting by Francesco and Watsana (+ their friends) was amazing. Our flight was delayed so we arrived at approx 11.30 p.m.and then proceeded to spend the next two hours in a bar with our hosts drinking prosecco and sangria! This greeting was very much warmer than the apartment which was pretty chilly! I guess this is to be expected however as:
a) it was late december and b) the apartment has the dimensions of a small church so the two small fan heaters struggled. Don't dispair however - we kept the heaters on continuosly and by about day three the temperature had increased to a comfortable level (slippers would still have been good though!).
We explored all around Apulia in a little car which made a real difference to the holiday - with public transport we would have struggled to get much done.
Our favorite destinations were Lecce, the trulli area, the Castellana Grotte, walks round Taranto and Gallipoli - two very different coastal towns. Best of all though we recomend Matera. It's in Basilicata rather than Puglia but is only approx a one hour drive. The sassi were amazing - very thought provoking to consider they were occupied until recently. It might get a bit touristy in summer however. (The surronding countryside was also a real change from the other areas we visited with some lovely rolling hills.)
We've had a great 9/10 days and hope you do too, staying in this lovely apartment.
Jack and Annabel , Colchester , UK
16th – 20th October 2005 (Unit S. Maria al Tempio)
This was our first visit to Italy and it was exactly what we had hoped for. Oria is such a pretty town, we had many relaxing walks and enjoyed fantastic food + hospitality. The apartment is gorgeous, a real pleasure to spend time in! Thank you so much to Francesco + Watsana for their friendliness + help to have a lovely holiday.
Kellie + Miguel, Edinburgh U.K.
3rd - 11th October 2005 (Unit S. Maria al Tempio)
On our first trip to this area we found plenty to see, which is already well documented here, our favourite was Ostuni. What made our visit such a pleasure was the hospitality of the people. All are friendly and welcoming to foreigners. Franco and Watsana optimise this and we would like to thank them for a wonderful evening at their home dining with their family, this was the highlight of our trip.
The apartment is beautiful and comfortable. There are 4 restaurants off Piazza Manfredi, all worth a visit our favourite was Fuori Porta.
Thank you again for a lovely stay in Oria.
Great . Love Donna & Garry – Rushden, Northants - UK
24th September – 1st October 2005 (Unit S. Maria al Tempio)
We came to Oria following a week spent in a similar apartment on the South eastern coast near to Santa Maria
di Leuca. This has given us a good feel about of Italy's heel; "Puglia". Similarly we wouldn't disagree with
recommendation of other guests. However, we would suggest being a little more adventurous in beach choose
if you have a car. The coast between Campomarino and Taranto offers a wealth of delightfull bays, secluded
stretches earth shallow acqua-marine seas that are more rustic and charming that those in the towns. We did
stumble in a couple of jelly-fish, but not to worry as the sting is more of an annoying itch. To the south
Gallipoli is pleasant as is S. M. di Leuca. The East coast is much more rugged and rocky with beaches few
and far between, tough this does offer fantastic snorkelling.
Oh, and we found the general tone of the Lonely Planet guide entirely too cynical. Puglia and its people have
been a delight.
Enjoy. TOBY + BECKY LONDON
17th – 24th September 2005 (Unit S. Maria al Tempio)
Francesco + Watsana, thank you for an amazing welcome + for the comfort of this beautiful apartment. We have explored Puglia + our 1 year son, Cormac, has definitely explored the apartment. The Pugliese food has been fantastic + our favourite meal in Oria would have to be Trattoria Cavalieri off Piazza Manfredi. No menu but fantastic food especially the antipasti. We have enjoyed lots of swimming at Campomarino + down to Gallipoli. Martina Franca, the Piazza Popoli at Alberobello especially the gelati + the trip to Matera mass definitely worth the drive.
Thank you for organizing the wine tasting + seeing how mozzarella is actually created was great. As we have certainly been feasting on that in our Italian stay.
Off to Roma now
Ciao Kate, Christ + Cormac
Armagh. N. Ireland
9-10-11 Settembre 2005 (Unit S. Maria al Tempio)
XXV° EDIZIONE CAMPIONATI ITALIANI SBANDIERATORI CATEGORIA A1
…Questi siamo noi! Siamo venuti da Megliadino S. Vitale(PADOVA!) per assistere ai campionati italiani musici e sbandieratori. Ora, dopo tre giorni trascorsi ad Oria, possiamo dire di aver assistito ad un grande spettacolo, reso ancor più speciale dall’accoglienza della gente di Oria, in particolare degli amici del Rione Lama e del Gruppo San Domenico!!!
Elisa, Chiara, Silvia, Alberto, Daniel
24th August – 5th September 2005 (Unit S. Maria al Tempio)
On arriving in Oria in the middle of the night and being welcomed all the same by a very happy couple on a scooter we knew were in the right place… and how right we were J
When you read this book over coffee on your first morning, the comments are all so abstract… by lunch-time they have meaning, and indeed there is so little to add. It has been said so well by so many people before us.
An enormous hearthfelt thanks to Watsana and Franco for introducing us to the delights of “ricci di mare”, teaching us about Puglia and it’s architecture, showing us around, being our bankers!? And above all – of course – proving the existence of “stracciatella”! we have thoroughly enjoyed the whole holiday: the sun, the beaches, the food, the primitivo e bianco di locorotondo (wines n.d.r.), the amazing people (send some up to Piemonte!) the road signs!? The mozzarella, the delights of Lecce, Locorotondo, Alberobello, Castellana, Polignano, Gallipoli, Campomarino, Oria, S.M. di Leuca, St. Pietro, Putignano, Porto Cesareo e Cisternino, the 102yr old lady upstairs, the local mad animals – including Stella and Barbara our crazy neighbours – the horse meat batcher, the divine sweets from the pasticceria sheep(?) steps, the new Bishop who appears everywhere!, the endless town parties that have blocked off the roads every nights and of course, above all, this enchanting, delightful haven we can call home. So with our tummies full, cheeks glowing and so many happy memories we thank the pugliesi and wish you all a holiday as beautiful as ours.
Andrea, Ken & Danielle Wells (Yorkshire & Piemonte)
30th July – 6th August 2005 (Unit S. Maria al Tempio)
How has the “Lonely Planet Guide” missed a gem like Oria? I can only reiterate previous comments! Oria is full of friendly folk and magical moments!
- Vecchio Restorant (should be “Vecchia Oria” n.d.r.) fantastic food!
- Il Luce - lovely ladies!
- Caffè Manfredi – brilliant bar
- Castello Svevo – Worth a visit!
Auchan – stunning supermarket
Alberobello – “trulli” tremendous
Lecce – lots to look at
Campomarino and Specchiolla – Blue sea and beautiful beaches
We’ve had a wonderful week. Saturday and Sunday the square (Manfredi n.d.r.) just buzzed with people. The wine went down well!
Congratulations to Watsana for winning 1st prize (lovely cup) in the food festival. Her Thai cooking was delicious! Thank you, Francesco, for the wine. Hope the new ventures go well.
Sheila & John Paton
24th to 29th July 2005 (Unit S. Maria al Tempio)
What a fantastic experience we have had: a short, but very enjoyable sample of Southern Italian life.
Many thanks to those who have written in this valuable guide – your advice was appreciated.
The Castellana caves: We did the short (1 hour) walk – amazed at their size (60 m. across hall). Leave plenty of time for the trip. Negotiating villages take time!.
Trulli Houses: Hundreds of these to see around Alberobello (on the smaller hillside) was informative and well displayed.
We recommend Restaurants il Luce and Vecchia Oria (off Piazza Manfredi – great food).
The shops are worth explaing, but not always easy to find; with smalls fronts. Just keep walking and looking. They are alla over town and not in expected places.
The modern shopping centre at Mesagne (Auchan) is like anywhere else in the world, except that the supermarket has the widest range of foodstuffs. The other stores do stock some Italian goods.
Ww found the people of Oria very friendly, warm and welcoming.
Watsana & Francesco’s generous hospitality was appreciated greatly. We enjoyed discussing the cultures of grand old Italy and the newer grand Australia.
Arrivederci! Jean & Jim CARR – Shepparton – AUSTRALIA
6th – 14th July 2005 (Unit S. Maria al Tempio)
After a short time here, Oria has came to feel like home and we are sad to leave, consoled only by the fact that we will return soon. We shall miss the generous Pipino hospitality, our friendly neighbours and the laid back Pugliese lifestyle that we have very quickly adapted to and grown to love. Thanks must also go to previous guests for their valuable advice in earlier chapters of this fantastic guide to the highlights of the region. In addition, might I note the following (we visited everywhere mentioned):
If visiting Alberobello, travel early morning to arrive by 9 am. No tours and you will have the place to yourself. Also, drive off the main highway and up to tangle of farm tracks to get a real flavour of ontouched Trulli – lose yourself in th countryside.
Matera in Basilicata region is a 2 ½ hour drive but well worth the effort. A must if you have the time.
Most important of all, enjoy what Oria has to offer – people watch in Piazza Manfredi and lose yourself in the labyrinthine streets of the old Town. Oria’s citizens are always happy to chat no matter how limited your Italian and this friendly ambiance made our stay both relaxing + interesting. Thanks again Francesco + Watsana.
Ray + Lorraine Carstairs, Paistey –SCOTLAND
P.S. Ray wrote a wonderful travel journal about Oria on the roughguide community website: