The Wonders in the Heel of Italy's Boot - United Hub

The wonders in the heel of Italy's boot

By The Hub team

By San Francisco based United Club Customer Service Representative, Elena Moises Paunan

In search of a short, five-day winter adventure, I recently landed in Milan with three friends by way of Newark, United's daily nonstop service. Milan is centrally located with easy access to Switzerland, other neighboring European countries and unique southern parts of Italy. Besides a day in Milan and a day trip to Lugano, Switzerland, we set our eyes on a quick trip highlighted by a couple of unique UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Puglia, located in the heel of Italy's boot.

Puglia exhibits the rustic tranquility of the Italian countryside. Despite its cultural richness and architecture, Puglia is still one of the least-explored regions of Italy, offering a coastline bathed by two crystal blue seas, the Adriatic and the Ionian. Beyond Puglia's popular hotspots, there are nature reserves, dramatic caves and medieval quarters, not to mention the region's star attraction: fantastic food. From Milan we then went to Bari, a main port for Mediterranean cruises. We didn't have time to explore this town, but from there we took an hour-and-a-half train ride to Alberobello.

Alberobello, a small town located where Italy's heel meets its sole

Alberobello, a small town located where Italy's heel meets its sole, is famous for its absurdly charming, jaw-dropping, white-washed, cone-topped houses. These 16th century trulli, as they're called, have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We checked out the darling hobbit-like settlements in Rione Monti, Aia Piccola and Trullo Sovrano. Trulli were designed to befuddle tax authorities by appearing as temporary field shelters. Not only is Alberobello a quaint little town, it is also a delight to the palate. We had lunch at La Cantina, a small restaurant with an open kitchen where you see cooks prepare your food using fresh local produce. It was "trulli" a delight. Exploring the uniquely set up trulli in different neighborhoods gave us an amazing and relaxing experience. Tracing Rione Monti, we ended up in Chiesa di Trulli, a cute little trullo church. As we explored different areas we also shopped for unique, locally produced souvenirs and tasted great wine. At the end of the day we visited Trullo Sovrano, a rich family's dwelling in the 16th century, the only two-level trullo.

Matera, Italy

On our last day, we booked the latest flight out and opted to hire a local travel guide to drive us for the day so we could see another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Matera. Situated in the neighboring region of Basilicata, Matera is one of Italy's most impressive and visually stunning places. Its world famous Sassi of Matera cave dwellings, carved into the sides of cliffs, stand aloft and make an extraordinary landscape. A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993, Matera is said to be one of the oldest towns in the world. It's claimed to be the third-oldest town after Aleppo and Jericho. With its unique qualities reminiscent of biblical times, it is easy to see why the location appealed to Mel Gibson and was featured in his film "The Passion of the Christ." Many of the caves have been transformed into restaurants, hotels and shops but still retain their cave-like appearance. It is also the film location of the new movie "Ben-Hur." If this is not enough to acquaint you with Matera, wait until it grows in popularity as it prepares to be the site for the 2019 European Capital of Culture. It was an adventure of a lifetime to see these two UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

United Awards Free Flights for a Year to Winners of "Your Shot to Fly" Sweepstakes

Grand prize winners live in Bradenton, FL; Cleveland, OH; Goodyear, AZ; Oakland, CA and San Francisco, CA
By United Newsroom, July 29, 2021

CHICAGO, July 29, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today announced the five lucky grand prize winners of its "Your Shot to Fly" sweepstakes, who will each get to fly anywhere in the world United flies with a companion over the course of the next year. The winners of the "Your Shot to Fly" sweepstakes are:

  • Ashley Cronkhite from Bradenton, FL
  • Robert Simicak from Cleveland, OH
  • Sean Husmoe from Goodyear, AZ
  • Lauren Aldredge from Oakland CA
  • Lauren M. from San Francisco, CA

The sweepstakes was in support of the Biden administration's ongoing national effort to encourage more people to get their COVID-19 vaccination and encouraged United's MileagePlus® loyalty members to upload their vaccine records to United. In less than a month, more than one million MileagePlus members uploaded their vaccine cards to the United app and website for a shot to win one of the grand prizes. In June the airline awarded 30 first prize winners with a pair of roundtrip tickets anywhere United flies.

United First U.S. Airline to Offer Economy Customers Option to Pre-Order Snacks and Beverages

New pre-order option builds on the airline's contactless payment technology and is another example of the customer experience transformation underway at United
By United Newsroom, July 28, 2021

CHICAGO, July 28, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Starting today on select flights, all United customers – no matter what cabin of service they're flying in – can use the airline's award-winning mobile app and website to pre-order meals, snacks and beverages up to five days before they're scheduled to travel. United is the first and only U.S. airline to offer economy customers the option to pre-order snacks and beverages, a reflection of the customer experience transformation underway at the airline.



United Airlines to Operate More than 40 Weekly Flights as England Re-Opens to U.S. Travelers

In August, United is adding a second daily flight from Washington, D.C. to London
By United Newsroom, July 28, 2021

CHICAGO, July 28, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- With today's announcement of England reopening to fully vaccinated travelers from the U.S. beginning Aug 2, United Airlines is making it easier for business and leisure customers to jet across the pond with the addition of flights to London. In August, United will have six daily flights between the U.S. and London, including a second daily flight from Washington, D.C. and increasing service from Houston to daily. United looks forward to resuming additional London service in the coming months as well as launching new nonstop service between Boston and London. Customers traveling to England must be fully vaccinated in the U.S. with vaccines that have been approved by the FDA and must take a test before departure as well as a PCR test within the first two days of arrival. Passengers vaccinated in the U.S. will also need to complete a passenger locator form prior to traveling to England and provide proof of U.S. residency.

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