Puglia (Trulli Land)
The heel of Italy, Puglia stretches over 400km from north to south and is currently being proclaimed as the new Tuscany. While so very different from Tuscany the comparison is fully justified as there is just as much to see and do while the water is much cleaner, the beaches are better and the climate much hotter. We have travelled the area extensively and have fallen in love with this beautiful region and its amicable people. Puglia has it all :- splendid beaches, marvellous architecture, beautiful countryside and we believe the finest food and wine in Italy.
Puglia enjoys a warm climate all year round and the best time to visit is between March and mid July and September to November. In August the temperature can soar to over 40º and rain is unusual.
Puglia has been influenced greatly by over 2000 years of turbulent history. Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans and Spaniards have all occupied the region and this is apparent in the Apulian architecture, culture and food. Indeed Greek is still spoken in certain parts of the region.
The regional capital is Bari and it is here that you are most likely to arrive unless you fly into Brindisi some 115km further down the coast. While Bari is not the prettiest of cities the Basilica di San Nicola and the Cattedrale di San Sabino do justify a trip into the centre. 20 km south of the city is the famous Castel del Monte.
We have a delightful property in the charming town of Conversano. The town has yet to be discovered by tourists and has a spectacular castle, cathedral and monastery which are open to the public. Tucked away inside the castle is an impressive art gallery which few people know about. We fully recommend dining in the castle restaurant; al fresco and lit up by authentic flame torches ? a very special evening.
In the nearby Valle d? Itria are the famous trulli. Unique to Puglia, these round white washed houses with grey conical roofs were originally used for grain and wine storage as well as being homes for poor farm workers. Many trulli have since been beautifully restored and made into luxury homes. We offer holiday accommodation in trulli some even with swimming pools ! To fully discover the mystery of the trulli, visit Alberobello where there are some 1500 trulli. Alberobello is now a UNESCO heritage site. The nearby towns of Cisternino, Martina Franca and Locorotondo are also worthy of a visit. Locorotondo is an excellent place to sample the local wine and regional dishes. Useless fact : Locorotondo appears in the Guiness Book of Records as the only town in the world with a name containing five Os !
Ostuni, 40km north of Brindisi and close to some fine beaches has come to be known as La citta bianca or white city due to its white washed buildings which can be seen from miles away. Explore the narrow winding streets and be sure to see the Chiesa delle Monacelle. There are some excellent bars and restaurants throughout the town.
A holiday in Puglia would not be complete without visiting the city of Lecce 40km south of Brindisi. Lecce is renowned for its architecture and the Baroque churches are stunning. There is also a large amphitheatre. We can arrange a guided tour of the city and provide transfers into the centre. We have a villa close to the city with a lovely swimming pool and tennis courts.
Travelling south of Lecce we reach the Salento area of Puglia. Few tourists venture this far south but we are offering our customers the chance to be among the first to experience the warm hospitality, superb food and stunning coastline that the area offers.
Otranto is a small town with a pretty little harbour. The cathedral of Santa Maria Annunziata with its extravagant mosaic floor and the Aragonese castle are the highlights of the town and we recommend exploring the town at night when the buildings are lit up. The restaurants serve delicious seafood and the pasta dishes are excellent.
Capo d?Otranto is the easternmost point of Italy and on a clear day it is possible to see the Albanian coastline. Further down the coast from the Cape you arrive at the lovely fishing village of Castro. Make sure you try the seafood here but don?t expect to be dining with any tourists ! Further inland is the quaint settlement of Spongano. We have a wonderful property here, an ancient palazzo originally home to a wealthy baron. Spongano makes an excellent base for exploring the Salento area. The busy port of Gallipoli has a lovely centro storico with a Greek feel. Take time to explore the maze of white washed streets, watch the fishermen emptying their nets and you?ll find it hard to believe that you are still in Italy !
As mentioned already Puglia is the place to come if you enjoy good food and quality wines. Try the Orecchiete ( little ears ) pasta and the Primitivo wine which are both unique to the region. The Greek influence means that lamb is often on the menu and cheese lovers will be in their element with ricotta and mozzarella produced here not to mention a variety of hard goat cheeses. Puglia produces more olive oil than the rest of the Italian regions put together and produces 80% of Europe?s pasta. It is fast gaining a reputation for its wine and vineyards exist all over the region many of which can be visited and offer wine sampling.
Puglia is a wonderful region, in fact it?s our favourite. Visit it now and you?ll see why.
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