Luxury holidays in Cisternino
With its 13th-century church, winding medieval alleyways and charming town square, whitewashed Cisternino stands out like a pearl among Puglian towns. Encircled by rolling hills and fertile valleys, this hilltop settlement has remained virtually unchanged for centuries – one of the reasons it’s been officially designated one of Italy’s ‘borghi più belli’ (most beautiful towns). The historic centre looks like a sleepy place, but the residents are a social bunch, going out for their passeggiata (stroll) every evening, when they’ll discuss the day’s happenings over drinks or gelato in the town square. Another of Cisternino’s quirks is its meat market: you choose your steak, sausages or parcels of mince (a local speciality), then take a seat while the butcher barbecues it for you on the spot. Pair your choice cuts with a carafe of the local wine, and you’ll have a meal that’s as authentically Puglian as it gets.
When to go
Summer is the most popular time to visit, but late spring and early autumn are quieter and cooler – no small matter when you’re tramping around the town’s alleyways.