Monopoli, Italy – Life in the Slow Lane

Reflecting on travels of the past versus our traveling today, our travel tastes have definitely changed.  Not in the sense that we love to travel (that passion is as strong as ever), but more so how we like to travel.  We used to have a long to-do list for each day of our travels, packed full of all of the major tourist spots.  This trip?  No itinerary, no to-do lists, and pretty much no plans whatsoever.  But our non-planning was planned, and it has been a really really great change.

our beautiful apartment right in the heart of Monopoli, at La Torre e Il Mare

To our delight, Monopoli has fit into this slower travel mentality quite perfectly.  We’ve been pleasantly surprised to find Monopoli as a sleepy little seaside town untouched by tour buses or tour groups of any sort.

local fishermen selling their catch straight from their boats

picking up some fruit for our apartment

We noticed that Monopli is a very close-knit community, where everyone definitely knows each other.  There is one small catholic school in town that spends part of the day outside singing and dancing.  The Nonnas’ set out their chairs and watch over the neighborhood throughout the day, and the locals hunt for their fish dinner along the beach shore after a relaxing day of sunning and swimming.

the beautiful Monopoli shoreline – the waters were so crystal clear

fried mussels and an octopus sandwich made the perfect post-beach dinner

This is a part of Italy that we have never experienced before, but have quickly grown to love.  Your companions on the street are cactus plants and sweet little cats, not wall-to-wall travelers.  There are plenty of gelato shops and restaurants serving up all of the local fare, but there is also a quietness.  There is no rush, no hurry, and to be honest, I’m not sure that the locals realize how good they’ve got it.

Spending our time lazily walking the town, laying at the beach, wandering to find a dinner spot and generally hitting the hay pretty early – this is probably not what we would have dreamt up for an Italian vacation for ourselves years ago.  But right now it is complete perfection, and for us, the absolute best life that we could be living.

14 Replies to “Monopoli, Italy – Life in the Slow Lane”

  1. Your pictures and writing truly do justice to how beautiful and special our time was in Monopoli! The only question is, when do we go back?

  2. Sheri Formica Anastasi says:

    My parents, Vito and Shirley Formica, passed this along to me. Monopoli is our home town and you describe it perfectly. As I have not been back since 2006, I am happy to read that the quaintness and “slow-pace” of the town has not changed. Your writings transported me back to one of my favorite places to visit and feel at home. Mille Grazie!

    1. I am so glad that you enjoyed my post Sheri – Monopoli was such a special town for us to visit. I am so glad that my writing was able to transport you – we can’t wait to go back someday!

  3. Hallo from our terrace, Katie!
    It was beautiful to host you in our La torre e Mare bnb in Monopoli.
    Annarita & Nico :-))

    1. Ciao Annarita! We are still dreaming of Monopoli and truly cannot wait to return! Thank you for everything!

  4. Hi! I found your post when searching on living in Monopoli. Are you still there and do you still love it? My family of three (from the USA) is considering a move to Puglia and Monopoli is on the list.

    1. Hi Kristen – thank you SO much for stopping by! I’m so glad that you got a chance to read my Monopoli post – – Monopoli is truly a very special city, and one that completely stole our hearts. We aren’t there anymore (although I wish that we were) – – we were just there for a week during a longer holiday. But we have already been back once since then, and plan to go many more times. We have also been to Lecce, Otranto, and Polignano a Mare in Puglia…but Monopoli is our hands down winner. Puglia in general is such a special part of Italy. I think that travel is completely objective, but personally, we would easily recommend Monopoli to anyone going to Puglia. Feel free to let me know if you have any other questions, and best of luck to you and your family!!

  5. Ciao Katie,
    Thanks for responding. We are currently living in the Veneto region as of March 2019 working on our dual citizenship. We are planning our recon trip to Puglia this fall and I have a list of towns to consider for living: Monopoli, Lecce, Ostuni, Locorotondo, Martina Franca. My desire (we have a 9yo daughter) is a small enough town to become locals among the locals – that community where you get to know each but also big enough for a few amenities like a gym, decent wifi, and kids for my daughter (she’s homeschooled). I try to look for towns no bigger than 50k population and Monopoli fits that. We won’t have a car and so my dream is to live in the centro historico hopefully (or super close) in any of the towns/cities we choose.

    We originally found our dream place in Orvieto (the old hilltop part – Umbria) but there are brand new tax incentives for expats this year and the incentives are bigger for areas of Puglia, Sardinia, Sicily and the south. So, why not? I love the frugal aspect of Puglia.

    I welcome any and all advice you would have based on my comments. Thanks for your time. :)
    Grazie mille,

    1. Hi Kristen,

      My pleasure! I am so happy to help…you are truly living the dream! Lecce would also be a great option – it truly does feel like the “Florence of the South.” And that might be a better fit for what you are looking for. But while there is definitely more on offer in Lecce, it obviously is a bit larger, and definitely feels that. I am sure that you will get a good feeling when you go back down and visit these towns. I think that you will easily fall in love with one of the towns on you list, and find it to be a very welcoming home. My best advice would be that once you are done with the “research” aspect, to just let it all go and decide with your heart. You will find that each town has something different to offer, and to connect with…and that is why it is so easy to fall in love with all of Italy!

      Best of luck to you and your family on this great new adventure!!

    2. Also, I forgot to mention, in case you are interested, I do also have a few blog posts on Lecce as well :)

  6. Linda Fucci says:

    I know as I am writing this many things have changed since your last post. My husband and I have made many extended trips to Italy but have never visited the Puglia region. We had a .trip planned there in 2020 and of course that had to be cancelled. I am beginning to look again and refresh my research – hopefully for a trip in the fall of this year or spring of next. I had decided before that we would probably home base in Monopoli and so it is great to read your comments. We have spent months in the past in Florence, but then if seemed to get so full of tourist – like me, I guess. Then we discovered Viareggio and have spent several summers there. But I wanted now to reach out to places we have never been. We will not have a car. We love being able to ‘spill’ out on the street. We often stay in apartments, but sometimes hotels. We love the water, but while we may visit the beach, swimming is not in our plans. Any suggestions of what part of town we should stay in? It seems I’ve come to making a view my top priority. Thanks much for any comments.

    1. Hi Linda, thank you so much for writing! And my apologies on getting back to you so belated here…we’ve recently welcomed our first little bundle of joy, and I have delightfully found myself rather preoccupied :) Oh my…we are also dreaming of being in Italy, and have also spent extended stays in Florence…I think that we have rather similar tastes in travel! And I would love to help you – so as you saw, we visited Monopoli without a car, and that worked perfectly for us – but just a few things to consider…although you aren’t interested in much “beach time,” the beaches are just little specks of land in the town. So if you wanted a traditional beach experience, you would definitely want a car for that. But otherwise, Monopoli is the perfect little town to get away from it all, to not see (most likely) an single tourist, and to spill out into the streets, surrounded by sea views. I would highly recommend the Centro Storico as a great location, as that is where have stayed twice now, and would always make that choice. I hope that this helps, but feel free to let me know if you have any other questions!

  7. Linda Fucci says:

    Thank you so very much. And congratulations. A new baby if the most precious of all blessing.

    1. Thank you Linda, we completely agree.

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