Standing along the coast of Polignano a Mare, it’s hard not to fall in love. At every turn there is a sweeping vista of the deep blue sea, only interrupted by the icy white waves rolling in. The beautiful sandy cliffs catch the waves and send them flying into a million pieces, putting on quite the show. The sun is brilliantly hot, and exactly what I would want for a Summer holiday. But something is missing. We had absolutely every reason to fall in love with this town, but for some reason, we just didn’t.
When it comes to traveling, we count ourselves among the lucky. We have pretty much always leaned in the direction of being the kind of people who appreciate each experience for what it is. And as a result, we have mostly loved everywhere that we have been blessed to travel to. Well. . .until now that is.
Maybe it’s because we have traveled a lot more in the past few years, or maybe it is a little bit of ages and stages. Maybe at this point in our lives, we just have a clearer idea of what we like and what we don’t like. Either way, our apologies to Polignano a Mare, because we really just didn’t love it. In fact, we would have been perfectly fine to miss it all together.
Polignano a Mare’s town center is exactly like so many of the other small Italian towns that we have fallen madly in loved with. There are a series of minuscule streets winding around tiny little shops, restaurants and homes. Like clockwork, the Nonno’s and Nonna’s pull out their chairs onto the sidewalk each night to sit and watch the neighborhood come alive – the children playing soccer in the streets, the Mamma’s yelling down from a balcony for their kids to come home, some people shelling peas or the like to help get things ready for dinner, or the teenagers smoking their cigarettes and hanging around on each other. This tiny little town might only take you about 30 minutes to walk around, but it definitely has character.
There is a large bridge dangling over a (very) rocky beach, that seems to be one of the best vantage points for both beach-goers, and tourists alike. There are what feels like an endless length of sidewalks taking you along the sea in either direction from the town, for a more peaceful or romantic view of the water. If you enjoy the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks, or the smell of salt and sunscreen in the air, then this is definitely your kind of town.
the view from ponte borbonico
But for us, we have found that we are really more sea level kind of people, than vista people. We love being able to walk out onto the street from our apartment or hotel, to the beach, onto the sand, and into the water. Sitting at a restaurant hundreds of feet above the sea, or climbing down to a rocky beach just doesn’t quite do it for us.
But regardless of our lackluster feeling about the town, we did as the Italians would do, and got by with making the most of our time. We enjoyed relaxing mornings at different local café’s, followed by a quick pit-stop to gather up some fruit for the beach. And speaking of the beach, yes, we definitely did go to the “beach.” We laid out for hours either on the hot rocks or concrete (yes, you heard me correctly), doing our best to just enjoy the experience.
When it was time for us to go home (or basically when we felt thoroughly crisped up), we’d stop for a “light” snack of some fresh-from-the-oven foccacia, paired with a refreshingly cold beer. Then it would be one final wander through the town center, where we’d pick up a bag of freshly picked figs from the cute old man who would pass through selling them from his bicycle basket.
cala paura, one of the two beaches in Polginano a Mare
somehow the Italians manage to make a concrete and rock beach seem doable
but unfortunately the view from the beach was pretty disappointing
Would we go back? No. But always, always, always, without a doubt, we were and are absolutely grateful for the experiences that we had. Some travel experiences teach you something about where you are, and others teach you something about yourself. And it is these twists and turns that make the journey such an amazing adventure.
Although Polignano a Mare isn’t at the top of our travel list, we completely lucked out with the location of the bed and breakfast that we stayed at. We were just a stone’s throw away from all of the main attractions of the town, but situated on a beautifully quiet and peaceful street.
Petali Rosa Bed and Breakfast completely surprised us with a seriously large and bright apartment for our stay. In fact, I think that we practically had more room than we knew what to do with. But when you’re traveling through Europe, that is a very lucky problem. And one that we were more than happy to enjoy.
In the mornings, we relished in the complete luxury of having our breakfast delivered directly to our room. And in the evenings, when we both found ourselves a little more tired than normal, we loved being able to relax with a glass of wine on our private patio and watch the sunset.
Although our stay at Petalia Rosa Bed and Breakfast was provided complimentary to us, no financial compensation was received. All of the opinions that I have expressed and written here are my own, and are an honest account of our experience.