Explore the heel of the Italian boot
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What to see and do in Puglia? No site can cover everything, but we'll give you plenty to think about.
Apulia or Apulia is the least mountainous region of Italy. It has everything a tourist could wish for: flat areas are ideal for cycling or walking, a hot, dry climate makes the season long and miles of Adriatic and Ionian coastline beckon bathers and tourists alike.
Apulia is rich in cultural layers left by passers-by over the centuries. First tribalMespiansspeaking Messapian, then Mycenaean Greeks. The ancient Greeks arrived around Taranto in the 8th century BC, and there is still a group of small towns in southern Apulia calledSalento Greecein which the Greek dialect is spoken and still taught in schools.
The ancient Romans of course surpassed them all and soon they were building roads in the area, such asPreco Traiana, a coastal alternative to the Via Appia built by the emperor Trajan in 109 AD.
Suffice it to say that there are many archaeological remains in the area that novice archaeologists can visit, especially those interested in the cultural layers of a long-settled site.
But let's stop here and get our bearings. We'll start with the provinces.
Map: Provinces of Apulia and historical areas
As you can see, the five provinces are located around the major cities of Apulia, Foggia, Bari, Taranto, Brindisi andLeche.Barryit is considered the capital of Apulia itself. There are two more markers on the map, the purple blobs pointingthe forest of Umbria, a tall forest at the top of the boot called Gargano promontory, for which we have prepared a tourist itinerary:Gargano route.
North of the Taranto sign is the area characterized by circular houses, the so-calledTrullycentered on the cityAlberobello. The city's popularity among tourists has led to the evolution of its cuisine, which you can read about:In Alberobello, Cucina Povera is being upgraded.
You've no doubt heard of towns like Alberobello in the province of Bari, famous for its trulli, many of which are still inhabited today. The Trulli are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. TheSalento Peninsulais the southeastern part of Puglia, which includes the province of Lecce as well as most of the provinces of Brindisi and Taranto.
Map: Cities and attractions in Puglia
Click or tap the map markers below to display descriptions and links to content about the city or place. On this map, you'll find many of our discoveries, from hidden monasteries to outstanding cities and attractions.
The map is not a complete guide to every attraction in Puglia. this is what we have found interesting over the years that we have traveled in the area. Explore the possibilities - there are too many to cram into a map this size.
Unique attractions in Puglia
Trabucchithey are fishing machines mounted on headlands. A series of nets set with long poles made of native Aleppo pine can be used to catch fish that feed in the area. It is believed that the idea came from the Phoenicians, who made fishing safer with small, primitive boats.
Family thugs are no longer as profitable as they used to be. Modern fishing boats clean the sea much more efficiently and rid it of internal life. Today the thugs are protected as historical monuments. They still fish and families often have restaurants on site. If you like fish, don't miss the experience. You probably won't eat fresher fish than you will at trabucca. I see:Trabucco from Monte Pucci - Where to eat fish in Gargano.
Monasteries and monasteries hidden in hidden spaces that reflect Greek and Byzantine spirituality are another rather unique feature of Apulia.Opatija Santa Maria di Pulsanoit was founded in the 6th century and destroyed in 952 by the Saracens, but rose again and again to become one of the most powerful monasteries in Italy.
Many have heard of Sassi, the cave dwellingsMotherin the Basilicata region, but they may not know that the architecture is not limited to Matera or Basilicata. Cave churches are a feature of this wonderful cityGravina in Puglia, which is half an hour's drive or bus from Matera and about twenty minutes by car or bus from Altamura, where Italy's onlyDOP breadcomes from. You will eat well for a while in Gravina, which is an excellent base in the Bari countryside from which to explore these attractive tourist destinations.
A little further south we will find a special Salento dance, theHe stung Salento, which is a special subset of the tarantella dances of the south and especially of Sicily.
Plateau of Murge je naziv visoravni Murge, tzvmurgia or connection, which includes the towns just mentioned, Gravina, Altamura, and Castello de Monte. In the area bounded by these cities, there is a higher or Alta Murgia, which since 2004 has been transformed intoAlta Murgia National Park. Dinosaur fossils dating from 70 to 80 million years ago have been found here.
Alta Murgia tourist cardit gives you 72 hours of access to some of the national park attractions.
With it, you can walk through the caves inhabited for centuries in the Ethnological and Underground Museum of Cavato San Marco and admire the rosette-shaped wooden ceiling in the Chiesa, Convento e Chiostro di Santa Sofia. You can even go under the Gravina and see its ancient, underground network. Top it off with a local treat with free coffee in the beautiful town of Gravina in Puglia.
There are also some unique places to stay in Puglia, with sometimes established OPGs, so-calledCottages, many of which have been renovated into beautiful places to stay, in austere domed houses, the so-calledTrullyfound around Alberobello.
Instead of what you might call a "villa" in Tuscany, Puglia offersVacation house. Owners have renovated large properties to make them stylish again, this time with the bathrooms people expect.
All these accommodation options give you the opportunity to become part of the social environment of Puglia, which will be friendly and open. Although you could choose a hotel in the city, you should not miss the rural side of Puglia. See below the special accommodation proposals for Apulia.
Roman route in Apulia
Get in your car and leave quicklyPreco Traiana, an alternative to the Via Appia built by the emperor Trajan in 109 AD.
Apulia in photos
If you're one of those who choose their destinations visually, you might find this Pinterest page interesting. Here are some of our favorite places to visit in Puglia:Destinations of Apulia.
Weather and climate
Puglia's Mediterranean climate means spring comes early - and the wildflowers in April can be stunning. In early May, the weather starts to warm enough to feel comfortable in short sleeves during the day.
Don't avoid "bad" weather altogether. Sometimes the rain cleans andamazing things happen in light.
Summers are hot, but not too hot. And all that beach access and the warmth of the water make summer a great time to come to Puglia. The package is completed by mild winters with little rain. To see how it all fits together, check out our pages on the best destinations in Puglia:
Lecce Climate and weather Climate and weather in Foggia Climate and weather in Bari
In case you don't know what season to travel, here's an argument for spring: wildflowers can be spectacular, especially after a wet winter.
The kitchen -Apulian cuisine
Apulia is a harsh agricultural region. Of course, there is a lot of coastline and you know the seafood is good and plentiful. But if you want citrus fruits and vegetables, Puglia is also the place to come. The sun is kind to the things we like to eat: tomatoes, artichokes, fava beans, arugula, courgettes, beans, fennel, peppers, onions and table grapes are produced here in abundance.Citrus fruits, citrus fruits, were once a huge industry, especially around the Gargano peninsula. the climate there allows for two harvests each year.
Citrus fruits for sale
Oranges can appear on the plate in unexpected ways, such as a salad consisting of anchovies, olive oil, pepper and orange slices. And do you want something different? Then you should tryLampassioni-- pickled wild hyacinth bulbs that were once the food of the very poor, who sought them out. Now on trend and sold in markets, the bitter taste is not liked by many Americans - but I think it is one of the most perfect "appetizer" foods ever made.
Puglia is a region for sheep. You will find fantastic sheep cheeses. An exception to the dominance of sheep in the Gargano peninsula you will find in the local communityPodolicacattle, robust animals that can graze on bushes, reeds and thickets and withstand the harsh climate to produce the very rich milk used to produce the local classiccaciocavallocheese. Cheese has only a small bearinga horsein its name, the cheese pairs harmoniously with a rope, making it easy to transport. the name refers to bags.
The most common form of pasta you will come across isorecchiette, small ears produced by hand from durum wheat and water. Eggs were a luxury, that's rightpoor cuisineprefer pasta without eggs, but it's easy to make by hand.
Apulia has one of the best breads in Italy. That's what I miss most when I'm away. The only DOP bread in Italy is in Altamura, marked on the map.
The charcuterie that excited me in Puglia was a Valle d'Itria product called Cappocollo di Martina Franca. It melts on the tongue. Meat lovers, don't miss it.
Need rustic and stick to your ribs? When you are in a restaurant that serves traditional food, try the so-calledPeas and radicchio, fava beans and potatoes cooked together, drizzled with olive oil and served with bitter greens.
Vegetables and oil? Not. Bread!
There is of course olive oil and wine, now renowned for its quality. It wasn't always like that. Twenty-five years ago, we carried out a very extensive archaeological survey of Salento, and under the olive trees we encountered, the ground was usually coiled like a Zen garden. The process of harvesting the olive was as follows: the olives simply fell from the tree and were picked occasionally. Although this method of production was easy, contact with soil not only damaged the olives, but also caused fermentation, producing an inferior oil. Recently, production methods have been modernized, so now the olives are plucked from the trees in nets and immediately stored in boxes connected to the press. It is an excellent oil, one of the best in Italy. If you are used to the "extra virgin" olive oil from the American supermarket, you are in for a real surprise.
The wine was also inferior at the time. Apulia produced a deep colored and fairly sharp wine with a high alcohol content that northerners used for mugs, especially in years when their own grapes had difficulty ripening. Today, Salento produces one of my favorite wines,A primitive man from Manduria. If you visit the small town of Manduria, don't forget to visit the small wine museum. If you're lucky enough to stay a while, you can buy wine in bulk by the pint. Then switch to a compactArchaeological Museumand ring the bell to see if they will let you in.
The picture above left shows a specialty bread made from yeast, olive oil and whatever vegetables are in season. It's a favorite of everyone who takes a cooking classMasseria Provenzanijust north of itLeche.
Puglia, like other regions of Italy, has many festivals and music events. Puglia has a fantastic site where you can check what events might be happening when you're in Puglia:events of Apulia.it.
In case they missed something, it's best to ask your hotel or place of stay - or the barista.
Disclosure: The content in the following sections contains affiliate links, from which we receive a small fee that allows us to offer you this free content.
Tour of Apulia and southern Italy
If you are not familiar with Puglia and would like someone else to plan it for you, we recommend some tours that will rate you well and take you to interesting parts of the south.
From the Amalfi Coast to Puglia: a complete tour of southern Italyit takes you to the extremely popular Amalfi Coast in the Puglia region, where you can cycle the Itria Valley on an e-bike or eat street food in Naples, a culinary wonderland.
A cycling tour of Puglia is perfect for those lazy people like me who are not interested in riding through mountain passes. Puglia is mostly flat, so manual labor isn't a big selling point. Cyclists would prefer an independent tour, and this one,Cycling Puglia (8 days), gets a rating of 4.9 out of ten.
Arrival in Puglia
There are two main airports in Puglia, Brindisi and Bari, with Bari having the larger airport but also a more interesting destination. There are no flights to Bari from the US, but you can fly in while in Italy. See the booking box below to check the prices of flights to Bari.
Traveling by train
TheFoggia u Leccerailway line (seeRailway map of Apulia) takes you from north to south in Puglio in 2 1/2 to three hours, depending on the speed of the train. The ride costs about 10 euros. There are many attractive seaside towns where you can stop along the way. There are a few private railway lines in Puglia, such as Ferrovie Sud Est, which serves small towns on the peninsula and has a station in Lecce.
You can check all the options for a tour of Puglia using the box below and entering the start and end points. In return, they'll give you information about rail, airlines, buses and even public transport - and you can buy tickets in advance if you want them.
Where should I stay?
We love the idea of staying at the Masseria. Some are working farms, others are set up entirely for accommodation, such as hotels or B&Bs. We have a few suggestions for ourselvesSuggested self-service page.
Tenuta del Barco is a massage with a chef, and if you like good food, you might like the little apartment there. There is a new winery on the property, and the wineries get a lot of water for irrigation, especially during harvest, and the owner has come up with a very clever way to filter the rainwater collected from the winery's roof and parking lot -- using papyrus. I see:Water into wine - ancient Egyptian solutions to the water problem in Apulia.
For those of you who would like to stay in a holiday apartment or beach house,of the province of Leccehas the highest availability on the popular site VRBO. A good percentage of them are located in one of our favorite cities,Gallipoli.
If you want to live like an Italian, even for a few days,Pizzicato Echo B&BuVico del Gargano, is a good choice. The mastermind behind the operation is Giuseppe Romondia, who speaks fluent English and will very kindly attend to your needs. The idea is a kind of "vacation cottages and apartments".spreads out," places to stay all over the city and center around the best bar in Puglia, Pizzicata. The "Eco" in the name refers to the organic products produced by the family farm, which is not far from Vico public beach. Recommended .
Masseria Posta Santa Croceit's the perfect place to stay for those of you interested in cooking while visiting the areaCastel del Monte, or search for avillage paradisewith easy access to the sea. The kitchen is stocked with food for a traditional dinner on the first night if you arrive late and just need something to eat and some local wine.
An interesting selection of accommodation in a trullo comes fromTrullo Cicero. The hosts seem to be quite interesting people. she is an archaeologist who cooks ancient Roman cuisine and her husband is a former photographer. In the summer you can stay in a yurt.
I'm planning a trip;
Here are some trip planning tools that are especially helpful if you're planning your first or second trip to Italy.
- Travel planning schedule: Learn what to schedule when.
- How much will a holiday in Italy cost?: Tools for planning your vacation in Italy.
- Unscheduled attractions: Save time for the good life in Italy.