Puglia (Puglia)

Puglia is the heel of the Italian boot and has 800 km of coastline between the Ionian Sea to the west and the Adriatic Sea to the east. Located in the heart of the Mediterranean, Puglia is rich in dreamlike nature, millennial history and a rich culture, including culinary experiences and excellent fresh produce.

Already in ancient times, the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and Normans appreciated the beauty of nature and the strategic location in the Mediterranean.

Numerous well-preserved archaeological sites from antiquity bear witness to the ancient high cultures and can be visited in several places Puglia. You can also admire medieval castles, baroque cathedrals and charming places, including some that have been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In the south of Puglia, the Salento peninsula lies at the heel of the boot between the seas. The region of Salento lies between the Ionian Sea to the west and the Adriatic Sea to the east. It includes the provinces of Lecce, Taranto and Brindisi.

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To see and experience

Bari, the state capital of the Puglia region

The historic center of Bari is located on a peninsula on the Adriatic Sea. On the city wall you can walk along and have a beautiful view over the harbor and Lungomare Augusto Imperiale.

The old town is a tangle of alleyways, the main attraction being the Basilica of Saint Nicholas (San Nicola), whose Remembrance Day on December 6, is celebrated in Christianity with numerous folk customs.

Monopoli

The shallow sandy beaches in the beautiful bays and good water quality are ideal for relaxing and family holidays.

The historic center of Monopoli starts at the fishing port and is surrounded by a castle with a city wall. Beautiful churches and monasteries adorn the old town of Monopoli.

Polignano a Mare

Situated on a breathtaking rock above the crystal clear sea of the Adriatic Sea, Polignano al Mare is a true holiday paradise with beautiful beaches and delicious food in magnificent restaurants.

Typical of Polignano a Mare are the rocks burforested by the surf like cheese with the grottoes, into which you can drive from the sea and then be under Polignano.

Alberobello the city of the Trulli

The Trulli are the hallmark of Alberobello. The round houses are bricked from the limestone of the Murge area in drywall style.

On the hill Monti there are about 1000 Trulli, where about 3000 inhabitants live. In the area of the district of Aja Piccola and Piazza del Popolo there is a small village consisting of 15 trulli, the oldest of which date back to the 14th century.

Ostuni, all in white

Ostuni is already visible from afar. On a hill lies the white city. It is well suited for orientation. Also from the sea Ostuni is widely visible. In the old town all houses are whitewashed, another color is not allowed.

Inside the old town of Ostuni you walk through a dense tangle of winding and narrow streets, squares and courtyards.

Cisternino

Cisternino is one of the most beautiful places in Italy, the “Borghi più belli d ‘Italia.”

A specialty from Cisternino with an ancient tradition is “Carne alla Brace,” meat on a spit, which is offered not only in restaurants, but also in the evening freshly prepared in the butcher shops, the Macellerie, to take away.

Locorotondo

Locorotondo, the round place, sits between Ostuni and Cisternino on a hill, which allows for a beautiful view over the Valle d ‘Itria.
The pretty little old town is definitely worth a visit.

Through the Valle d ‘Itria, escorted bike rides by local providers are also carried out to visit the nearby locations.

Lecce, the city of the Baroque

Lecce is known as Florence of the South. The beautiful Lecce Baroque-style buildings are a real attraction. The city is rich in works of art and testimonies of Roman, medieval and Renaissance art.

The amphitheatre in Piazza Sant ‘Oronzo was built under Emperor Augustus and is located in the centre of Lecce.

Taranto

The old town of Taranto is formed by the “Isola del Borgo Antico.” It lies between bridges on an island. The Ponte Porta Napoli and the Ponte Girevole, the revolving bridge, connect the old town with the mainland.

The Castello Aragonese is impressive. As a defensive castle, the trading town of Taranto, which is already important in antiquity, was to protect against conquerors.

Gallipoli on the Ionian Sea

The fishing village of Gallipoli was already a popular place with the Greeks and in ancient times because of its outstanding beautiful location.

Gallipoli is surrounded by beautiful beaches with tourist villages and water parks. Some beaches are stone beaches, others wide with fine white sand.

Otranto

Otranto is located at the southeastern tip of Italy in Puglia, opposite Albania on the Strait Strait of Otranto.

The historic old town of Otranto is located within a mighty city wall and has been included in the World Heritage Site of Humanity. Impressive in Otranto is the Castello Aragonese and the Cathedral of Santa Annunziata with the mosaics from the 12th century.

Santa Maria Leuca

At the end of Italy’s boot heel, two sea collide: The Adriatic and Ionian Seas.

Santa Maria Leuca is a pretty seaside resort with a monastery and the sanctuary. The southernmost point of Puglia is Punta Ristola, where the Gulf of Taranto and the Strait of Otranto meet.

Castel del Monte near Andria

The imposing Castel del Monte is located on a hill of the Alta Murgia Plateau National Park and is widely visible from all sides. It is also on the 1 Euro cent coin. Castel del Monte is part of the municipality of Andria, which is only a few kilometres away. Andria was the favourite seat of the Swabian King Frederick II.

In addition to the Castel del Monte, there are other attractions in the Alta Murgia National Park.

Culinary Experiences

In Puglia you eat well everywhere, freshly prepared dishes are a matter of course. There are no menus in small restaurants in the province, but often the food there is best and economical. The best thing to ask for is the dish of the day. Whatever it may be, a lot of vegetables are used that you’ll often wonder what it might be. Add the house wine, red or white. It may be that the wine then also beads, whether red or white. This is refreshing, especially in summer. If you prefer the red wine still, you call it “fermo.”

Especially popular in the winter months are the “Cime di Rapa,” which are beet leaves with pasta. Everything is eaten with fragrant olive oil, with which you are not petty here. From Altamura comes a special tradition of baking bread. “Pane di Altamura” is a brand in Italy. In Altamura there are still bakers with wood-burning stoves.

A fast-food specialty are “Pucce di Lecce,” a kind of sandwich bun. In Ostuni there is in every osteria “Carne alla Brace,” grilled meat that can buy ready from the butcher at certain times of the day. The typical cheese of the region is the hearty cacciocavallo.

But the fruit and vegetables are best off the market and a bottle of primitivo, the typical country wine that is available in all quality levels.

Our visitor guide

Arrival

By air

Most tourists reach Puglia by plane and explore the region by hire car. There are two airports, Bari and Brindisi. Bari is only 80 km from Matera in Basilicata.

Hotels

Special accommodation in Puglia, the Masserie

Traditionally, yet with full comfort, you can stay in Puglia in a Masseria. These are former manor houses with very thick walls, which are pleasantly cool inside even in the hot summer.

The Masserie are converted into exclusive hotels and are also fully rented for weddings and other festivities. We are happy to take care of your wishes, even if you travel with a whole group to Puglia. A hotel with charm or something economical for smaller budgets. We know the area well and will certainly find something that will inspire you.

Please include your requirements and budget as accurately as possible when making the request.

History

Like any Italian region, Puglia has a long pre-Christian history and many old traditions.

Excavations show that Puglia was already inhabited in the Bronze Age. This also affects the lives of the people in the trulli of Alberobello, who had integrated a sophisticated system of water extraction.

Already the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Normans and other ancient peoples appreciated the beauty of nature and the strategic location in the Mediterranean. Numerous well-preserved archaeological sites from antiquity bear witness to the ancient high cultures and can be visited in several places Puglia. In addition, you can admire medieval castels, baroque cathedrals and enchanting places, including some that have been named UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The history of Lecce also goes back far to antiquity. In the centre of Lecce you can admire the Roman excavations, otherwise the typical southern Italian Baroque style prevails in Lecce.

The oldest “inhabitants” and an important symbol of the Puglia region are the olive trees, which are many centuries old. It is all the sadder that a few thousand of the mighty trees had to give way to a petroleum pipeline and another part was infested by a bacterium that causes the trees to dry up.

Destinations

In the south of Puglia, the Ionian Sea and the Adriatic Sea meet. White sandy beaches alternate with stunning cliffs with Mediterranean macchia. The sea is particularly clean and crystal clear in Puglia.

From the easternmost point, the headland of Palascia near Otranto, it is only 78 km to Albania.

The neighbouring region of Basilicata includes Matera, with its cave apartments, which was named European Capital of Culture in 2019.

The UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Humanity in Puglia are

  • The Castel del Monte near Andria, a mysterious defensive castle of Emperor Federico II near Andria
  • The trulli of Alberobello, the unique round stone houses
  • The Sanctuary of San Michele Arcangelo in Monte Sant ‘Angelo, a masterpiece of medieval art

Culinary Experiences

In Puglia you eat well everywhere, freshly prepared dishes are a matter of course. There are no menus in small restaurants in the province, but often the food there is best and most economical. The best way is to order the dish of the day. Whatever it may be, a lot of vegetables are used that you’ll often wonder what it might be.

Especially popular in the winter months are the “Cime di Rapa,” which are beet leaves with pasta. Everything is eaten with fragrant olive oil, with which you are not petty here.

From Altamura comes a special tradition of baking bread. “Pane di Altamura” is an Italian brand. In Altamura there are still bakers who bake according to the old wood-fired oven method. You can watch it.

A fast-food specialty are “Pucce di Lecce,” a kind of occupied bun. In Ostuni there is “Carne alla Brace,” grilled meat, which you can buy from the butcher ready at certain times of the day, in every osteria.

The typical cheese of the region is the hearty cacciocavallo.

But the fruit and vegetables are all best off the market.

As a red wine you will find the “Primitivo.” A strong wine that goes very well with the spicy pasta dishes. In California, this grape variety is called Zinfandel.

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Puglia

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