Holidays in Puglia, in Italy, reveal a region of restrained palette, but it’s no less beautiful than the more-visited areas of the country. With azure seas, white sands, and the muted golden tones of the rural grain and olive oil producing areas, the rich landscape of Puglia had its own unique appeal.
While not enjoying the touristy image of the more popular regions in Italy, it has a slow-burning charm that more and more people are discovering. Holidays in Puglia offer a wonderful experience for those who prefer a relaxed and restful itinerary, but without sacrificing the impressive sights and delightful attractions.
Here are some of the things that paint the portrait of unforgettable holidays in Puglia.
The region reaps the benefit of two seas: the Ionian and the Adriatic. Santa Maria Di Leuca, located between the two bodies of water, and the Tremiti Islands offer beautiful seascapes with sea beds teeming with life and colour – with some areas extending 90 meters deep.
The Garganto Peninsula, located in the northern area of the region, is also a popular destination, with its sandy beaches and white limestone cliffs.
La Citta Bianca, Ostuni
Considered one of the most beautiful in the region, the historic city of Ostuni is regarded as an architectural jewel. Its white walls and buildings are an unforgettable sight and make for a wonderful photographic opportunity.
Ostuni’s “Old Town” is centred on a hilltop citadel, which is still fortified by ancient walls. A visit to the White City must include the Cathedral and the Bishop’s Palace, as well as the wonderful palazzi that are open to the public.
The Trulli of Alberobello
Whitewashed, pointy-topped dwellings clustered together to give the impression of a hobbit town form the main attraction in Alberobello – it’s also the reason for the town being declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. These strange yet picturesque buildings have thick stone walls, which are uniquely constructed without mortar.
While in some areas, all the dwellings are trulli, it’s quite a surreal experience to visit the places where they pop out between normal looking buildings. Don’t miss the trullo church, the Chiesa dei Santi Medici Cosma e Damiano, and the nearby Trullo Sovrano, which is just like a typical trullo dwelling, but on a very grand scale. There is also the Museo del Territorio, a structure comprising around ten trulli, where several rooms have been recreated in period style for a view of how the inhabitants used to live. It also features some interesting spires from the tops of old trulli. To complete the experience, you can even stay for a night or two in a trullo.
Wine and Olive Oil
Holidays in Puglia’s countryside should also include a visit or an overnight stay to one of the masserie in the countryside. These fortified farms are now mostly turned into hotels, and are usually set within vineyards or olive groves. They are a great place to try the products of the region, including honey-mulled wine, the white wines of Martina Franca and Locorotondo, and the best olive oil.
Carolyn Spinks is COO of ABTOI – The Association of British Travel Organisers to Italy. If you’re looking for the perfect holidays in Puglia their LoveItaly website provides destination information, contact details of tour operator members to help you plan the best Italian holiday, ‘insider’ tips, year round special offers and information on everything from beach holidays in Sardinia, cycling in Sicily, to a wedding or honeymoon in Tuscany.
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