Hi.

My name is Catherine Courtney and I am a Nashville Native with a penchant for culinary creativity and epic travel adventures.  I'll admit... I also have a slight obsession with handbags. 

Picturesque Polignano a Mare

Picturesque Polignano a Mare

After wrapping up the amazing cheese tour at Masseria Lamapecora, we headed to the coast to explore Polignano a Mare.

Unfamiliar?

Without a doubt, you have seen photographs pinned to a travel inspiration board on Pinterest or perhaps you have stumbled across articles in Travel and Leisure. It is quite possibly one of the most photographed regions of Southern Italy.  

As I stepped out of the car and began to make my way down the steep cobblestone streets (yes, I had on cute not so functional shoes), I had this moment of disbelief. Places like this only existing in my dreams (and of course in the occasional travel magazine). It was hard to fathom that I could smell the salt in the air, feel the sun hitting my face and hear the waves crashing along the cliffs. I escaped the ordinary and was transported to the extraordinary. 

Polignano a Mare: One of the many areas for cliff diving and swimming

Our timing was simply impeccable. The sunshine was slowly fading casting the perfect amount of light and shadows throughout the city.

As I meandered through the sand and rock, I found sunbathers, cliff divers and those, who like me, simply wanted to dip their toe in the water.

Polignano a Mare: I couldn't say no to this background!

Speechless. The further I walked the more magnificent the scenery was. Have you ever found yourself getting lost in a city? And no, not because Google maps aren't working :) But I have done that too!

Fortunately, we had some time to explore before our dinner at Grotta Palazzese. Considering the fact that I ate at least three to five pounds of cheese during our tasting, I was quite grateful for the walk. 

Polignano A Mare: Cityscape

I suppose I should rewind a bit...

As soon as I signed up for the Puglia retreat through Eat Pray Move, I came across an article in a travel publication highlighting several restaurants deemed to have the best view in the world. After thumbing through a few of these locations, one in-particular, Grotta Palazzese, stood out. Within a matter of seconds, I was googling the location of the restaurant and to my surprise is was only a few minutes from where we were staying. 

Email sent. I should have been timed because I don't think I have ever fired off a message that quickly in my life! Within moments, Erin, EPM curator, replied and said yes, of course, we were going there for dinner. I may or may not have squealed with delight and had my co-workers look at me, but nonetheless, I didn't care. I was going to a restaurant with one of the most breathtaking views in the world! Being the typical Southern woman, my mind went immediately into "what the hell am I going to wear?"

Just as the sun was setting, we popped over to this little alley which of course, had the best vantage point of the entire grotto. It was obvious that I was obsessed based on the absurd amount of photos on my camera. 

Our time had arrived. Our group gathered and walked down what felt like five to six flights of stairs. We were guided to our table and I've never seen a group so haphazardly throw down their belongings and start snapping photos.

Grotta Palazzese served a lovely dinner but between the abundance of cheese and the ambiance of the restaurant, I really didn't give much attention to my food. This dinner was much more in the moment and centered on enjoying the company and the conversation of new friends. Never fear, I didn't forget completely about the food. I managed to snap a couple of photos of our courses. 

As the evening came to an end, I had the opportunity to capture one last shot of the illuminated grotto, perhaps my favorite photo of the evening. While the food may not have been memorable, exploring Polignano a Mare and dining in this gorgeous grotto will forever be etched in my mind. 

Until Next Time! 

Polignano a Mare: Late Night at the Grotta Palazzese

But first, Brunch: Band of Bohemia

But first, Brunch: Band of Bohemia

The Finest Formaggio at Masseria Lamapecora

The Finest Formaggio at Masseria Lamapecora