Puglia is a region in the “heel”, or boot, of Italy that we love. This beautiful region is relatively unknown to foreign tourists. Imagine sun-bleached homes, beautiful food, and azure waters. You don’t need to be imaginative. These are our top picks for Puglia.
Stunning seaside resorts (like Polignano a Mare).
The coast of Puglia is lined with beautiful towns such as this one. Polignano a Mare is a charming town with a dramatic seaside setting and a historic center. It also has a beautiful beach right in the middle of town. You can walk from your breakfast to the beach in just three minutes.
Lecce’s elaborate architecture, the “Florence of the South”, is a great example of rich architectural design.
Lecce is like a layer cake. Nearly every building has elaborate Baroque decorations. It was once one of the most important Italian cities, so money began to flow into the city in 1630 to build churches, palaces and monuments. It’s an amazing place to wander around today!
Beautiful beaches, especially on the Salento peninsula
The Salento peninsula is the heel of Italy’s boot, and it is known for its beaches. It’s a good reason. You can’t ask for more than white sand and sparkling Aegean…
A masseria is Puglia’s answer for the agriturismo. It’s a farmhouse but it’s fortified. Masserie, which are unique to the southern Italy region, especially Puglia and Sicily, are often converted into B&Bs (like Agriturismi). This one, Masseria Montenapoleone is a 16th-century original! This is a wonderful opportunity to not only experience the unique locale, but also to meet the local families and enjoy the delicious local cuisine.
Olive oil and delicious olives
Quick, which region of Italy produces the highest amount of olive oil? Tuscany? Umbria? Nope. It’s Puglia. It’s Puglia. However, this doesn’t mean that the olives from Puglia aren’t as good. Try some olive oils and olive oil from a private estate while you’re in Puglia. Pugliese olives will never be forgotten.
Although Puglia is home to a lot of agriculture, it’s not as different from the rolling farms of central and northern Italy. It’s an entirely different scene, from the deep red dirt to the sun-bleached tree branches. It’s just as striking.
Fascinating caves (like the Grotte di Castellana)
Puglia has many caves due to its unique geology. Although Puglia can be very dry, a lot of it is made from limestone bedrock which can be permeated with rainwater. The Grotte di Castellana is one of the most impressive, with its bizarrely-shaped stalagmites, stalactites, and beautiful white cave.
Many medieval castles
From the 9th to the 19th centuries, Puglia was ruled by Saracens. Byzantines. Normans. The Kingdom of Sicily. The Kingdom of Naples. The Kingdom of Sicily. The Kingdom of Naples. There are many medieval castles. Roger II of Sicily built one of our favorite castles, the Castello Vevo in Bari in 1131. It is still possible to visit today.
The unique trulli in Puglia, particularly in Alberobello
Trulli is stone huts that have cone-shaped roofs. They are unique to Puglia because they were built originally as storage houses for farms and homes. They can be found all over Puglia’s Murge region, but Alberobello is a small town with dozens of Trulli.
Delicious seafood (and delicious all-other-kinds-of-food, too)
Do you want your Italy holiday to be a culinary experience? Don’t forget about Florence and Venice: Puglia is the place to be. We’re kidding, but we do mean it. The best Italian food is often found far from tourist areas and in areas with lots of fresh, good produce. This view is also possible to eat.
Beautiful medieval churches with some very holy relics
Although there are many ornate churches throughout Puglia (well let’s just say, all over Italy), the ones in Bari are our favorites. The Church of St. Nicholas houses the relics of Saint Nicholas. The church was actually built in the 12th century after the relics from St. Nicholas’ shrine in modern-day Turkey were taken. Yes, this is Saint Nick.
There are many quiet moments even in cities.
Yes, Puglia is known to many people. Italians and Europeans flock to the region’s beaches every August. Bari, the port city, is crowded with cruise shippers during the summer. The region is not touristy, except for the very few areas that are highly trafficked. You’ll be able to experience a small piece of authentic Italy, no matter if you’re dining at a Masseria or simply walking down a Bari backstreet. That’s pretty cool.
Want more reasons to love Puglia, Italy? Check out this fun video about the region!