If you close your eyes and envision a European paradise, Puglia is that dream come true.
Imagine standing with your feet buried in the sand looking out at the azure blue sea... imagine spending hours taking in the gorgeous details of baroque architecture, unravelling history building by building … imagine a fairytale village transporting you out of this world.
If this sounds like your eutopia, stay awhile as we reveal the most enchanting places to visit within Italy’s golden heel
Alberobello is the place you go to convince your family that magic exists. Spend a weekend in Europe’s Hobbiton and be transported to a fairytale world. The town is notorious for its Trulli, traditional Apulian buildings with cone-shaped roofs made from the stones peasants cleared from rocky fields centuries ago.
There’s a reason this town is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The fifteen-hundred Trulli have been perfectly preserved and are a testament to the region’s historic authenticity. Symbols of religious and mystic origin can also be found painted on the grey limestone roofs, further giving Alberobello an out of this world ambience
Bari, Old Town
Bari’s residents do most of their existing outside on the cobbled streets of the city’s historic old town. Entire families come together for daily catch-ups in the sun. It would feel like intruding if it wasn’t for the warm smiles that greet you during an afternoon stroll.
Plan a morning sauntering down these streets and watch pasta makers hard at work. You can try your own hand at crafting the region's famous ear-shaped orecchiette. Fair warning - it's not easy!
Follow the black stone pavement symbols that once helped merchants navigate through the labyrinth of the old town. But getting lost isn’t a bad thing when you can spend your afternoon feasting on fresh Focaccia laden with sun-blushed cherry tomatoes and organic olives
If Alberobello was a town for hobbits, Locorotondo would a home for elves. The perfectly painted narrow and rectangular houses here - called cummerse - are elegance personified. Pink geraniums drape the decorated balconies as if Locorotondo is in perpetual festivity. Make a day trip out of strolling along the town’s gorgeous streets, stopping for lunch at one of the many quaint cafes in the area. And spend your evening sampling Locorotondo’s notorious sparkling white wine that’s crisp and delicate in taste.
The town’s surrounding countryside is also worth exploring. As well as trulli dotting the area, vineyards and olive groves can be seen for miles. Book yourself in for a tour at Cardone where you can explore a vineyard away from town, learning about the grapes which make Locorotondo’s wine so delectable
Polignano A Mare
Polignano A Mare is postcard-perfect. Regarded as the most picturesque seaside town in Puglia, you can’t help but go camera happy while exploring this ancient settlement and its spectacular coastline. The town is on the edge of a craggy ravine, making for a starkly beautiful contrast of jagged grey limestone against the blue-green sea.
Are you a thrill seeker? Owing to Polignano A Mare’s sharp cliffs and deep waters, Red Bull has claimed the area for its Cliff Diving World Series. For the brave, diving into the aquamarine waters is an experience like no other. But if don’t fancy plummeting into the sea at high speeds, enjoy a candlelit dinner at Grotta Palazzese, a luxurious restaurant built into the cliffside overlooking the sea
Dubbed “Florance of the South”, the city of Lecce is a magnet for history lovers. Known for its baroque architecture, elaborately decorated churches, grand palaces and a half-buried 2nd-century Roman amphitheatre, Lecce holds secrets begging to be uncovered surrounding Puglia’s rich and colourful past.
After you’ve spent a day discovering the city’s history, indulge in drinks or party in style at one of Lecce’s many sophisticated bars. The nightlife draws in locals and tourists alike, being a university town full of students on the hunt for la dolce vita (the good life). But don’t be surprised if the party runs into the day. Bars in Italy are social hubs that draw in locals no matter the time.
“Amore A Prima Vista” …
Means “love at first sight” in Italian. And that’s exactly what you’ll experience when you visit Puglia. How could you not? With its charming villages, towns and cities brimming with natural beauty, magical architecture, sensational food and affable locals, it’s impossible not to fall in love with Italy’s southern paradise.
So book your flights, snooze on a plane for five hours, and enjoy a holiday of a lifetime in the breathtaking region of Puglia.