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Puglia is a charming region in the South of Italy and is a true gem that travelers often miss when in search of the more common tourist destinations. If you are planning to travel to Italy, you should include Puglia on your itinerary, and here are just a few reasons why.
This beautiful village near Bari is not to be missed. International travelers often overlook Polignano a Mare, but it is truly charming, with old buildings, excellent restaurants and a beautiful beach near the historical centre.
Lecce, one of the most important towns in Puglia, is often called the Florence of the South. It is known for its beauty (as is Tuscany’s capital city) with baroque buildings, medieval streets and archaeological sites.
Spain has Ibiza, Greece has Mykonos, and Italy has Gallipoli. If you are looking for fun, there is no better place than this town. The old city centre is charming, with narrow streets and colored palaces, and it is surrounded by pristine waters perfect for a swim.
The most picturesque town in Puglia is arguably Alberobello. It’s here you’ll find the trulli, white drywall buildings that were declared a UNESCO World Heritage site because of the prehistoric building technique. Some advice: Alberobello has many tourists, so get in town as early as possible to enjoy its charm and avoid the crowds.
Locorotondo, another beautiful village in Puglia, is the perfect place to spend some time relaxing and wondering the cobblestone streets, which resemble a labyrinth. Contrary to Alberobello, Locorotondo is generally devoid of tourists, so you’ll not find hordes of people here, even in the peak of the season.
Ostuni looks like a fairy-tale town: it sits on three hills, and it is completely white. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Puglia, but it is worth a look, even to just enjoy the lively atmosphere.
For stunning and peaceful beaches, Puglia is the ultimate destination. If possible, avoid August when the region becomes crowded with many young people who spend their holidays here. One of the best sites to swim is Porto Selvaggio, a popular beach lapped by pristine waters.
Foodies need not worry—similar to every other Italian city, Puglia is an excellent culinary destination. There are many amazing dishes made with fresh seasonal ingredients, but the best is the orecchiette, a type of pasta typical of Puglia that looks like a small ear. Be sure to also taste the focaccia Pugliese and burrata cheese.
If you have extra time, consider adding Matera to your travel itinerary. The city is in the Basilicata region, but it is near the border, so many travelers visit it in one day. Matera has been declared a European Capital of Culture for 2019.
Obviously, when you travel to Italy, you can’t forget to taste the wine. Puglia is one of the largest wine producers in Europe. Once here, order a bottle of Primitivo Rosato, which goes well with seafood.
One of the best delicacies of Puglia is olive oil. The olive is the main character of the inland landscapes in this region: you’ll see thousands of olive trees while traveling here. So, the best thing you can do is to buy a bottle of organic olive oil from Puglia to remember your journey.
Tuscany has agriturismo, Puglia has masseria, a working farm that also functions as a bed-and-breakfast or hotel. The best ones are those located inside the trulli, the typical cone-shaped house of Alberobello.
It’s not officially a trip to Italy until you’ve participated in a cooking class. In Puglia, there are plenty of chances to make homemade orecchiette with local women and learn their old recipes. Through the old town, you’ll often see old ladies committed to creating homemade pasta. It is like an ancient ritual.
The last reason you should visit Puglia is for the terrific views. Did you know that on sunny days in Puglia, you can see to the mountains of Albania? The coastal region has plenty of spectacular places to admire the amazing panoramas.