No although our friend recommends it we thought it will be too far to drive on the first day when we have been up since 3am!
There's a lot more to see/do in Lecce than any of the other places you mention, and 2 nights seems short to me, especially if your alternative is those much smaller places.
We stayed 3 nights in Lecce in April, in B&B Regina Maria I found on booking.com It is a beautiful apartment in the historic centre....where they provide everything for you to make breakfast, hence B&B). We were able to park in the square where the apartment is located (the owner notifies the authorities for you to access the ZTL)
I liked Monopoli on the coast too
Presumably you are planning to include Alberobello?
The official tourist website for the region is very well done https://www.viaggiareinpuglia.it/hp/enEdited: 14 September 2017, 06:59
I disagree: Martina Franca isn't nearly so charming in my opinion as either Locorotondo or Ostuni (and MF has a baroque centre, in the same but a lesser way as Lecce, so a hilltop town would offer you a different view of Puglia). I do keep saying this on here but the charm of these towns lies not in 'things to see' but rather in absorbing their atmosphere and beauty. You can be lucky in October and find the weather beautiful or else it could rain every day; a long day trip to Matera wouldn't be a terrible idea in case of the latter.
My suggestion of a "better bet" was related to what to do if it's raining, since that was part of the question.
Maybe we were lucky in Martina Franca, being there on a Sunday with a fair on, and it was very lively. We went to Locorotondo the same day at lunchtime, couldn't get into the restaurant we wanted to, so headed to back our trullo for a snack and then went to Martina Franca. We booked at the restaurant in Locorotondo for the evening so went back then. The town is very small, so to me it's hard to see how you'd fill a whole rainy day there. I think a lot of these places on the Mediterranean lose a lot of their charm when you are seeing them in the rain. Ostuni is bigger, but didn't particularly "grab us" either, maybe precisely because we were seeing it with an umbrella in hand!. We did find a fantastic tavola calda though.
I've seen Martina Franca being described before as being similar to Lecce but we had spent 3 nights in Lecce before the trullo, and I didn't see a lot of similarities (not least that Lecce is on the flat, and Martina Franca is a hill town). And the ducal palace in Martina Franca is certainly well worth a look inside, as well as all the churches https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g616…Edited: 15 September 2017, 02:06
The part of Puglia we're discussing is actually on the Adriatic. You know, these things are all personal opinion: in a decade of staying in the region, I've never had an urge to visit the ducal palace in Martina Franca. It also actually isn't a white hilltop town in the same way as Loco or Ostuni so there is a difference. I still think they're charming, come rain or shine - but my preference is to have a wander around then find a nice bar or cafe to settle in for a while. The original poster might have different preferences.
Thank you for your help. I was looking at Martina Franca for the first two nights but decided to look at towns completely different from our next stop, Lecce. We were considering short trips to Monopoli, Alberobello, Ostuni and booking a tasting at a vineyard in Noci. Hopefully this area will give us a relaxing start to our trip and the opportunity to try the local burrata.