Part of the charm of Puglia, Southern Italy’s rising star, is its slow approach to everyday life. Centuries old farmland are hemmed by a superb sun-bleached sandy coast and travellers looking for a little more authenticity, are spurning Tuscany’s frenetic vibe for the peaceful nature of this region.
So what does this beautiful region have to offer? Here are out top ten suggestions:
In the spur of Italy, Gargano is replete with beautiful fishing villages, dark and ancient forests inland, fine sandy beaches but also rugged cliffs, secret caves and picturesque coves. A perfect hub for eco-tourism and relax.
The most popular and fashionable town in Gargano is the medieval village of Vieste, with its narrow streets and white houses, dominated by a stunning 13th century castle.
Among the most beautiful beaches we recommend Mattinata beach, especially the coastal area of Baia delle Zagare, with its famous stacks a few metres from the shore.
If you like fresh fish you have to try a dinner at trabucco, a traditional wooden fishing platform on the coast where you can watch the fishing process, help out if you want, and dine leaving you with a very memorable experience.
The city of Ostuni is a beautiful maze-like white city on a hilltop just 8km from the Adriatic Sea packed with narrow streets you can spend ages getting lost in, climbing staircases and falling in love with the stunning views.
Wandering through the old alleys of its historic center inside its ancient walls you can find traditional craftsmanship shops, cosy cafes and aperitivo spots, and lovely restaurants to experience a perfect Apulian dinner before a drink in one of the trendy bars where you can enjoy the lively Italian nightlife in a very international environment.
The port of Brindisi was recognised as a UNESCO heritage site for culture of Peace as it was always considered a safe harbour for travellers and a point of departure. The city today hosts the United Nations Logistics Base – the hub for peacekeeping operations.
For many years, the port has been a main stop of the Indian Mail from London to Bombay, and it hosted world-known names such as Virgil and Ghandi.
Its beautiful waterfront is packed with restaurants that serve local and fresh food. The old town has the charm of old-school traditional Italy that sometimes feels lost in the more touristic cities.
People are friendly and welcoming and visitors like to call it “Brindeasy” for its slow and relaxed lifestyle.
Alberobello is a fairytale UNESCO World Heritage town made of 1500 Trulli. It is considered a unique and enchanting place, and despite the fact that you may find it a bit touristy, it is definitely worth a visit.
Most of the Trulli here have been transformed into souvenir shops, cafes, restaurants, but some of them are real homes where people still live.
5. Old town of Bari
Bari, the capital of the region is buzzing and busy which has a lovely old town. Bari Vecchia is a walled city built on a peninsula jutting into the sea. While walking down the narrow alleyways you will feel like being in someone’s living room.
The streets here are places to socialise, and in the mornings women sit at tables making orecchiette, the typical Apulian pasta made by rolling the dough into thin logs, cutting off a chunk and shaping it by hand at an impressively rapid pace.