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.
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 southernmost area of Puglia is defined by stony olive groves that extend between dry-stone walls bordered with oleander. It has a strong identity with its own cuisine, traditions and music, influenced by its Greek past.
Along with some of Italy’s best beaches such as Porto Cesareo with the Punta Prosciutto dunes, Pescoluse beach (also called Maldives of Salento) and Torre Lapillo beach there are some fascinating towns to explore such as Otranto, Specchia and Presicce (awarded as 3 of the most beautiful Italian villages).
Get there in the summer for a chance to witness a sagra di paese (a village festival) where you can eat traditional street food while listening to traditional music such as pizzica or tarantella.
Valle d’Itria, also called “Trulli valley”, is an extended valley with a unique fairytale landscape composed by cylindrical peasant houses with beehive roofs known as Trulli.
These traditional apulian buildings served a very practical function: using up all the stones that peasants cleared from their difficult, rocky fields. They were easily made and easily knocked down again.
Today, the fanciful Trulli are restored holiday houses for tourists: silent and peaceful places that keep you warm in winter and cool in the summer months. Step back in time and experience living in a traditional trullo house with a private pool set in the peaceful Puglia countryside.
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.