10 Reasons To Visit Puglia Next Summer
When you think about spending your summer in Italy, I’m sure you think about discovering the canals of Venice, exploring the ruins of Rome, visiting the galleries of Florence and shopping in the boutiques of Milan. Am I correct? But what about the rest of this fascinating country? I wonder why southern Italy beyond Capri, Naples, Pompeii and Amalfi Coast is so ignored by tourists when it’s in fact one of the most surprising parts of this fascinating country, full of unspoilted trasures and hidden pearls to discover and explore. By far, my favorite region of this less known part of Italy is Puglia, commonly known as the heel of the boot. Are you curious to know why? So here are ten reasons!
| Picturesque towns and villages |
Bari holds the longest seaside promenade in Europe and Lecce is known as the Florence of the South, but the best of Puglia is, in fact, out of its big cities. The best of Puglia is on its lovely and picturesque medieval towns, which can be found all throughout the coast and further inside in the middle of endless olive tree fields. Seeing the laidback locals sitted outside talking with the neighbors among whitewashed houses with colourful flowers hanging from the windowsills makes you realise that modest places can be some of the most perfect. My favorites towns in Puglia are Polignano a Mare, Monopoli, Ostuni and Alberobello.
| Beaches |
The Puglian beaches are among the most beautiful in Italy. While the eastern rocky coast has the best snorkeling spots and sea caves to explore, the west sandy coast has heavenly beaches of white sands and pristine waters, authentic pieces of Polinesia magically brough to Europe. But one thing is guaranted no matter your choise: fantastic beaches to have a good time with your family, friends or loved one.
| Uniqueness |
There is no place like Puglia. It has some similarities with Greece and the rest of Italy, but, as long as I know, trulli, super cute and picturesque traditional stone huts with conical roofs, can’t be found nowhere else in the world. Grotta Palazzese, a worldwide famous (and very expensive) restaurant located inside a sea cave in Polignano a Mare, is also unique in the globe. Again, there is no place like Puglia!
| Food and Wine |
Italy has great food. That’s undeniable. Nontheless, make a little effort not to eat pizza all day and try some Puglian specialties like pasticiotto, a traditional pastry filled with ricotta or lemon-flavored custard, and orecchiette, an ear‐shaped type of pasta. You should also give a try to the regional wine, olive oil and fresh fish.
| History and Culture |
If you though that Puglia was all about sun and sea, well, my dear, you have no idea about how wrong you are. Castel del Monte, the Trulli of Alberobello and the Sanctuary of San Michele Arcangelo are all UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Lecce is known by many as the Florence of the South or the Baroque Florence because of the huge amount of baroque buildings all over the city built with a local stone that seems golden at times. In Bari there is a medieval cathedral that still guards the bones of St. Nicolas. That’s right, Santa Claus no longer lives in Lapland, Puglia is his home now! Ohh, and don’t forget the lovely whitewashed medieval walled towns I already mentioned that most guidebooks leave behind but you shouldn’t.
| Laid back atmosphere and warm people |
If you’re in Italy, baby, you gotta taste the italian dolce vita and Puglia is the perfect place to get an intensive course of it. It has sun, it has sea and it has good food. Add the good company and there you have it, dolce vita realness! Locals are generally warm and nice. So why not having a little conversation with a fishermen while he prepares bait or with an old lady while she makes orecchiette outside? Just have fun!
| Nightlife |
The souther you go, the more (and better) parties you will find. That’s the rule in any country of the Northern Hemisphere and Italy is no exeption. That’s why Puglia has a vibrant nightlife for all tastes. If you are looking for something very Ibiza alike, you will easily find it there. If you prefer something calmer but still fun, head south to the trendy and still casual bars of Puglia to have a drink or two while talking with your friends and listening to some good music. If you are more into chic restaurants, put on a nice good old suit or a fancy dress and you know where to go, Puglia.
| Off the beaten path |
So you are tired of the crowds of northern Italy? Easy-peasy: head to Puglia! There is probably no more off the beaten track region in the entire country and, as I already showed you, it doesn’t mean lack of things to see and do. Sure, there are lots tourists but most of them are actually italians, who selfishly have been keeping Puglia just for themselves (just kidding, I wouldn’t never cricticize the creators of pizza).
| Nearby regions |
As if all the reasons I presented you were not good enough, notice that Puglia is surrounded by other italian regions where there are loads of things to keep you busy. Nearby Basilicata is for sure one of them. That’s where the abandoned medieval village of Craco, the beautiful perched town of Castelmezzano and the famous cave city of Matera can all be found, among many other interesting places still out of most tourists’ radars. Do you think I should write ’10 Reasons To Visit Basilicata’ next?
| Landscapes and Natural Wonders |
Driving along the coastal roads of Puglia is a true pleasure for the eyes. My favorite drive is from Otranto to Leuca, along the eastern coast of Salento, having endless olive tree fields on one side of the road and the infinit blue of the Ionian Sea on the other. Along the way, pretty towns like Santa Cesarea Terme and Castro can be found, as well as many medieval watch towers and sea caves. My favorite was Grotta Verde, a magical cave with blue-green glowing water in Marina di Andrano, the closest thing to a mermaids movie scenario I have ever seen on my entire life.
Have you ever been in Puglia? Is there any relevant reason missing here?