Can you use the rail network of Puglia to train your way around Puglia on your vacation? Through the use of private lines and public FS lines, Puglia offers a rail network that's quite impressive. The Puglia Rail Map below shows most of the rail lines between major tourist cities and towns in Puglia.
It's easy in Italy to find a station, and buy tickets for the next destination out. It's how we used to do it in the "olden days" of train travel in Italy. Notice that many fine seaside destinations are covered by the rail lines.
If you're never taken the train in Italy, see our Video: Taking the Train in Italy
Rail Map of Puglia
The colored lines on the map indicate train lines. The red are the major lines of the Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane, abreviated FS on most scedules. The other lines are, or were, privately run. Don't worry, it all works pretty seamlessly.
Where to Go in Puglia on the Train
Foggia Province. Starting from the north on the FS line that plies the coast from Ancona in the Le Marche region, with connections to Bologna, Venice and Trieste among others--to Foggia with connections to Rodi-Peschici and Manfredonia as well as continuing down the coast to Bari, Brindisi and Lecce, with connections to all of the Salento, the southern tip of the heel.
From Rodi-Peschici on the Gargano Penninsula (the "spur of the boot") you have access to some interesting attractions, including two lakes you see on the map, Lesina and Varano. The narrow sand strip that separates the lakes from the Adriatic Sea,is a haven for birdwatchers focusing on the different species that choose this popular area during the nesting period on their migratory route towards Africa. You can also enjoy the freshest seafood you've ever eaten at one of the ancient fishing contraptions in use since Phoenecian times which now have been turned into restaurants; the Trabucco di Monte Pucci in in this area, and you can walk there from Rodi to get yourslef hungry for a feast.
Rodi is also the epicenter of a unique phenomenon that sent lots of agrumi, or citrus to America. The northern Gargano has a climate which allows for two harvests a year. If you come in May you might have an opportunity to attend the sagra delle arance, a festival of oranges.
Also see: A Gargano Itinerary.
Manfredonia was founded in 1256 by king Manfredi of Svevia. The summer life here is concentrated in Siponto, the historical center a couple of miles south of Manfredonia, once controled by the Greeks. The Line 741 bus takes you to Monte Sant'angelo in about 40 minutes. The town is best known for its pilgrimage site, the Sanctuary of the Archangel Michael in a cave.
Bari Province. A trip from Foggia to Bari takes about an hour on the train. The line passes one of our favorite off-season fishing villages Giovinazzo, as well as the pretty and interesting Trani, where you should go if you like a place with a castle and a romanesque cathedral right on the sea.
The FS line continues along the coast passing some well-known towns along the sea, including Bari. Molo di Bari has a fantastic fish market that has morning and afternoon/early evening markets. Polignano a Mare, 36 km south of Bari, is spectacularly located on a ravine with caves and is a very popular weekend spot.
A private train, Ferrovie Appulo Lucane runs to inland towns such as Altamura and Gravina in Puglia and Matera in the nearby Basilicata region. The small station is around the corner from Bari Centrale. -- Bari Travel Guide
From Bari you can also arrive at the area of Puglia's famous trulli, those conical oddities you can even stay in, in the Valle d'Itria. Look for Locorotondo and Martina Franca on the train map. Wine lovers will know Locorotondo's sparkling white wine, Bianco Locorotondo DOC.
From the Valle d'Itria you can head south to the big town of Taranto with its world-class archaeology museum and beyond to visit the coast of Basilicata or go on to Calabria on the train.
Or you could head south to the Salento, essentially the Lecci province. Lecce is the famous southern Baroque town in Puglia. Eat the typical cucina povera dish called Fave e Cicoria, a creamy puree of favas with a pile of bitter greens, chicory. It goes best with that famous bread of Puglia.
Using Tours to Get to the Little Places
Once you are in a larger city like Bari, you can get a tour to smaller places with the ability to see more in a short time than you would on the train. For example, you can see Alberobello and Matera from Bari on a day trip, or take a boat trip to the Polignano a Mare caves. Check the most popular Puglia tours on our partner Viator: