Many of the smaller holiday towns along the Adriatic coast are the summer residence of local Italians. They move from their winter homes, probably just a few kilometres away, to their summer home to take advantage of the sea breezes and the summer activities. Many of the houses in Casalabate are just such second homes with the residents of Squinzano moving in for the summer. Italians from further afield arrive too, renting a holiday home for the months of July and August. These Puglia holiday towns are very quiet out of season but come alive in the summer.
Situated on the Adriatic coast, lies the small market town of Casalabate. Just a few miles south of Brindisi and with Lecce, the Florence of the South, to the south-west, Casalabate is a typical small holiday town. The population of Casalabate and a 7-kilometre radius is approximately 26000, however, this is greatly increased in the summer months when Italians and non-Italians alike arrive for their vacation.
Along the sea-front you will find cafe-bars, Bar Marulli is recommended, and the small beaches. Stroll along the promenade, take an ice cream, a cappuccino, a beer, a glass of wine on the open terrace and relax in complete tranquillity, listening only to the sounds of the Adriatic Sea.
Like most small towns in the area, at first glance, Casalabate does not appear to have many amenities. Don’t expect to find streets lined with shops. However, look closer and you will find a supermarket tucked away just in front of the harbour. Look further and there are restaurants, pizzerias, another supermarket, deli, the butcher, the fishmonger, and the fresh seafood bar, the Jolly Mare.
In the evening try the restaurant or pizzeria at the Hotel Perla, or one of the other restaurant bars on the sea-front. Bahia Negra is a favourite, Or the Ristorante Parco degli Ulivo just a few metres from our Villa Rosa. And remember that Italians like to drive out into the countryside where some of the best local cooking can be found in restored manor houses.
One of the highlights of Casalabate must be the local market. Held every Sunday and every festival day here is your opportunity to mingle with the locals and buy fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese and cold meats, fish, local pottery and statues. During the high summer season you will find the market open every day.
In August, Italians flock to Casalabate and at night along the seafront you can join the evening stroll along Via Lungomare Nord, where there are many additional market stalls and street food stands.