The Apulia region is the heel of Italy’s boot, a pure uncontaminated territory where it’s possible to indulge your cultural self and discover this beautiful region in southern Italy all year round. Almost untouched the region is known for it’s whitewashed towns, beautiful white sandy beaches, fascinating cultural sites, art and tradition. Inspired by the slow food movement, Puglia offers healthy Mediterranean food and produces some of the best wines in Italy. A private wine tour in Puglia is one of the best ways to discover the territory, the culture and flavours. A top speciality, the region produces some of the best extra virgin olive oil in the world made from superior olives.
Did you know that Puglia produces 80% of all pasta and extra virgin olive oil!? UNESCO protects every single olive tree that you will see in the entire region. Learning to make traditional pasta and combining dishes with such quality extra virgin olive oil and local fresh vegetables, which are abundant in Puglia, is an unforgettable experience. Improve your culinary skills by preparing traditional dishes and respecting the seasonality of the vegetable garden, orchard and the organic zero food miles philosophy. This ancient land in southern Italy is an oasis waiting to be explored any time of the year. Here are the places you need to bookmark!
Visit the town of Alberobello with its timeless fairy-tale beauty. The town is Itria Valley’s premier location to see the Trulli houses, traditional dry stone houses with conical rooves distinctive to Apulia that are very enchanting. The famous Trulli of Alberobello have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1996.
The white and gleaming city of Locorotondo is one of the most fascinating and unique places in Puglia. It’s also been referred to as one of the most beautiful in Italy with a high position and terraces offering breathtaking views of the Itria Valley, dotted with Trulli houses, masseria and stone walls, this is an enchanting local city.
3. Polignano a Mare
Perched on a rocky outcrop that reaches into the Adriatic Sea, Polignano a Mare is a destination not to be missed. The best way to experience the atmosphere of this Mediterranean city is through a lovely guided walk along the dramatic terraces overlooking the sea. Polignano a Mare was an ancient landing spot for merchants and fishermen, today it’s dotted with local artisan shops and a selection of great bars.
Salento is the Southern part of Puglia, a unique land embraced between the Ionian and Adriatic sea. Miles of coastline characterised by a wide variety of landscapes and elements such as white sandy beaches, dramatic cliffs, natural grottoes, middle age watch-towers and ancient medieval castles facing the sea. There are also many wonderful towns in Salento. The inland of this area is famous for its majestic baroque style churches and palazzi, which were built during the 17th and 18th century. The central town of Lecce is the capital of Apulia baroque style.
The ‘white town’ is the gleaming city of Ostuni that sits atop the last hill of the southern Murgia plateau. Looking out from its fortifications, your eye is drawn over a plain full of ancient olive trees and towards the crystal blue waters of the Adriatic Sea. Narrow streets are lined with whitewashed buildings, ending at the town’s sophisticated Gothic cathedral.
6. Martina Franca
In the eastern hills of the Murge plateau, equidistant from the Ionian and Adriatic seas sits the old town Martina Franca. The most ancient quarter of this town is a picturesque scene of endless winding alleys with glowing white houses and flaming-red geraniums. Loose yourself among wonderful airy piazzas with curlicue ironwork balconies and graceful baroque and rococo buildings that almost touch each other above the narrow streets.
On Italy’s Adriatic coast, one of Puglia’s nicest seaside resorts is Otranto. Fascinating history, unique architecture, breathtaking views, quality sea-front restaurants and white sandy beaches. This is a dreamy charming town and small port, a must visit. Otranto is the door to the East. For centuries, it was an outpost of the Byzantine Empire on Apulia soil, as well as the cultural and artistic center of the entire region. Otranto glistens under the sun reflecting off the turquoise blue water from its harbour with bare rocks upon which this small city is built.
One of the largest cities in Puglia, Bari is the capital of Romanesque style. Located on the Adriatic coast, Bari presents elegant 19th Century theatres and majestic Liberty-style palaces among the French-influenced Murat quarter. A picturesque old town full of ancient traditions and narrow laneways, seaside fish markets and fresh homemade pasta. Must visit are the Cathedral of San Sabino (original building dates from the 12th century) and the Basilica di San Nicola from 1087.
Monopoli is a tranquil town along the Adriatic coast with 13 kilometers (8 miles) of coastline. The origins of this ancient town date back to the fifth century BC. To really get to know Monopoli we suggest an unforgettable private guided tour among the most important historical buildings, such as the baroque Co-Cathedral of Our Lady of Madia and the wonderful Castle of Charles V, a symbol of the city. Relax by the harbour lined with fine restaurants and stylish bars where it’s possible to enjoy the unique Mediterranean atmosphere.
10. Salento Riviera Coast
Take to the Adriatic or Ionian coastline and explore the crystal clear waters and stunning white sandy beaches of the Salento Riviera Coast. Be seduced by places such as Santa Cesarea Terme, Santa Maria di Leuca, or Castro, which is within the coastal park Otranto. Leuca marks the point where the Adriatic and the Ionian Sea meet, you will be mesmerised by this southernmost point of Italy. Or, head north towards Torre dell’Orso, one of Puglia’s crown jewels to explore small bays, sea caves, turquoise blue water, and rocky shorelines that are almost impossible to reach from inland. Fall in love with the heel of Italy and be prepared to have your breath taken away by the tale of Puglia! Italian Allure Travel’s first-class services in Puglia include VIP treatment at the finest hotels, exceptional private villa rentals and exclusive private custom designed tours. Visit www.italianalluretravel.com for more!