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 Cargo operates more than 11,000 cargo-only flights in one year

By The Hub team, March 19, 2021

On March 19, 2020, United operated its first flight carrying cargo without passengers on board. While the passenger cabin was empty, its cargo hold was completely full, carrying more than 29,000 pounds of commodities from Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) to Frankfurt Airport (FRA).

A year later, United Cargo has operated more than 11,000 cargo-only flights carrying more than 570 million pounds of freight. To support the COVID-19 pandemic recovery efforts, United Cargo has also transported more than 113 million pounds of medical and pharmaceutical products on both cargo-only and passenger flights as well as approximately 10 million COVID-19 vaccines, providing global communities access to the items they have needed most.

10 tips for spring travel

By The Hub team, February 24, 2021

Whether you haven't flown with us for a while or just need a quick refresher before your spring trip, read this list of tips to know before your flight and arrive at the airport travel-ready:

1. Download the United app for contactless bag check, travel assistance and more

Before your flight, download the United app to view your flight status, check in, sign up for flight notifications, locate departure gates, access our free personal device entertainment when available and more. We've also updated our app with new features that can make your trip a little safer, including contactless bag check.

Don't forget to use Agent on Demand for help with any and all questions you may have before your flight. This new capability is available at all our U.S. hub airports and allows you to use your own mobile device to contact a customer service agent via phone, video or chat to help with day-of-travel questions while you're at the airport. Learn more about Agent on Demand here.

United joins UNICEF COVAX initiative

By The Hub team, February 19, 2021

This week, we were honored to become the first U.S. airline to join the UNICEF Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative to combat the COVID-19 pandemic by transporting the vaccine and other critically needed supplies to underserved areas of the globe.

"We are committed to helping the global community in any way we can, and we all must work together to do our part to bring this health and humanitarian crisis to an end," said Director of Cargo Specialty Products Manu Jacobs.

We will leverage our expertise to transport these critical pharmaceutical and healthcare shipments around the world safely, efficiently and expediently. We are proud to partner with the United Nations to support this global effort and provide equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

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