Part of the charm of Puglia is its slow approach to everyday life. Southern Italy’s rising star has ancient farmland hemmed by a sun-bleached sandy coast and is where travellers come to escape the frenetic vibe of nearby Tuscany.
This year the region’s beautiful range of private villas, many with private pools and always with gorgeous views, will be particularly popular with the joy of travel.
- Valle d’Itria
Valle d’Itria, also called “Trulli valley”, has a unique fairytale landscape dotted with former peasant homes known as Trulli (plural of Trullo). These traditional Apulian structures look quaint with their beehive-shaped roofs and are resourcefully made from stones that peasants cleared from their rocky fields. These structures were easy to erect and just as easy to knock down if necessary and offer warmth in the winter and coolness in the summer months.
2 . Gargano
Gargano is replete with beautiful fishing villages in the spur of Italy, dark and ancient forests inland, fine sandy beaches and hemmed by rugged cliffs, secret caves and picturesque coves. It is ideal as a hub for eco-tourism and to relax.
The most popular and fashionable town in Gargano is the medieval village of Vieste. It’s a joy to saunter through its narrow streets, passing whitewashed houses all the while being overlooked by the stunning 13th-century castle.
The Mattinata beach along the coastal area of Baia delle Zagare is among its most beautiful beaches with its famous stacks a few metres from the shore.
3 . Salento
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 three of the most beautiful Italian villages).
The city of Ostuni is a beautiful maze-like white city on a hilltop just 8km from the Adriatic Sea. It is packed with narrow streets and alleys you can spend ages getting lost in, climbing staircases and falling in love with the stunning views.
Bari, the capital of the region, is buzzing and busy and has a lovely old town. Bari Vecchia (the old town of Bari) is a walled city built on a peninsula jutting into the sea. It is so intimate that walking down the narrow alleyways feel like being in someone’s living room. The streets here are places to socialise, and each morning women sit at tables making orecchiette (little ears), 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.