Still relatively undiscovered, Puglia (Apulia), Italy, in the heel of the boot, is a fascinating destination. With so much to offer, it is a wonder it still remains comparatively tourist free. Offering Beaches, Pugliese Food, Wine, History and an abundance of quaint towns with friendly people, it is no wonder it is a place I keep going back to!
Probably Puglia is most famously recognized for it’s limestone Trulli and the Trulli boroughs. A trullo (single form) is a small stone house (mortar free) with a cone roof. The most notorious towns for this architecture are Alberobello and Locorotondo.
Ostuni also known as La Città Bianca (The White Town), like the nickname suggests, is a predominantly white town perched high on a hill. The original ancient walls which protected it still surround the town!
Cultural Lecce is an amazingly beautiful city with a small town atmosphere. Rich in history, affordable accommodations, friendly people, fabulous restaurants and an exciting nightlife makes this a stop I never pass up. I absolutely love Lecce!
Gallipoli, divided into the new and the old, is strikingly beautiful. Tourists have found their way here, filling the old town streets in high season, which typically runs from May to September. Gallipoli boasts beautiful vistas and great beaches where the party never stops in peak months. The new city also offers chic shopping and fine dining.
The country town of Manduria holds the key to my heart. This close-knit community is famous for it’s Negroamaro and Primitivo Wine (Primitivo di Manduria), which I can attest to the fact, is exceptional. There is always lots to do here, including museums, archaeological parks, wine tastings, nearby beaches and fabulous Pugliese food.
Beaches are never far in Puglia; you can drive from the east to the west coast in around 1 hour! Endless stretches of sandy beaches mixed with rocky vistas and turquoise blue water line the heel of Puglia.
The area is full of history, archaeological ruins, and marvellous architecture. The aforementioned warrant a trip here all on their own.
Traditional Pugliese Food is a delectable delight. Drawing from local ingredients, the food is fresh, simple and tasty. Typical ingredients include seafood, olives, and beans. Think cozze (mussels) on pasta, fritto misto di mare (fried seafood), pure di fave con cicoria (pureed broad beans with boiled chicory), and orecchiette (ear shaped pasta).
What brought me to wonderful Puglia in the first place? The wine! With numerous vineyards and cantinas to visit, an entire trip can be dedicated to wine touring. The dominant wines are Negroamaro and Primitivo; each cantina (winery) has it’s own secrets.
My recommendations and personal favourites when in Puglia (not paid advertising):
Manduria – Where to eat:
La Locanda di Antonvito – serves delicious traditional lunches and dinners daily, no menu, just homemade goodness.
La Laternella – fabulous Pizza, also platters (cheese and meats), meat dishes and pastas in a dining atmosphere
B & B Il Pino – Great hosts, beautiful lodging
Fun place to eat at the beach (San Pietro in Bevagna):
Ristorante Tutti Frutti – Beach restaurant with bright, fun atmosphere, swim then eat and drink!
Lecce – Where to eat:
A’Roma – Try the menu from top to bottom – it’s all incredibly good – reservations necessary
Nautilus – Higher end pricing, but worth it. A must! – reservations necessary
400 Gradi – You will be surprised!
Pizza & Co – The place to eat pizza! Not fancy, no tables, just great pizza and friendly owners.
Hotel Zenit – quite simple, but fantastic prices, friendly and clean, great location
Gallipoli – Where to Eat: (note: I do not recommend the old town)
Trattoria Pizzeria Carpe Diem – more than just pizza, tasty food with fair prices
Palazzo Zacheo – Charming place in the heart of old town.