The Italian region of Puglia is quickly becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy.
With a fantastic climate, delicious cuisine and miles upon miles of sandy beaches, it’s easy to see why. But where exactly is Puglia??
Pronounced Poo-lia, or Apulia in English, this region of Italy covers over 7,469 square miles and has over 4 million inhabitants. It’s located in the south of the country, and pretty much makes up the whole ‘heel’ and ‘spur’ of the boot. Whilst in Puglia, you can find the Adriatic sea to the east, the Ionian sea to the southeast, and the Gulf of Taranto in the south. In land, you can find the region of Molise to the north, Campania to the west and Basilicata to the southwest.
Puglia is the least mountainous region, and has a very dry climate. It’s also one of the richest archaeological regions in Italy and has a number of important sites. But what really draws people to this part of Italy, aside from the great weather and tasty food, is the opportunity to visit one of the fantastic beaches. Puglia is made up of around 800 kilometres of coastline, with enormous stretches of sandy beach, so you really are spoilt for choice if you’re a beach lover! Try the beaches of the Gargano sub-region in the north, or head further south to Salento for some great beach towns like Gallipoli or Otranto.
But aside from the beaches and gorgeous landscape, what about some interesting towns and cities to visit too? The capital of this region is Bari, which is located in the most densely populated part of Puglia. There’s also Foggia in the north, Brindisi, which is a pleasant port town and of course, who could forget Lecce, which has been aptly named ‘the Florence of the south’. With its impressive Baroque structures made of Lecce stone, this laid back city is a true gem.
Other smaller, yet no less noteworthy locations are Ostuni, labelled as the ‘white city’, and Alberobello; a delightful old town with traditional circular stone houses with cone roofs (called ‘trulli’), which were built without using mortar, in order to avoid paying taxes. This area has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and you can even stay in one of the trulli!
And last but not least, what delicious dishes can you try while in Puglia? Well, this region is known for its simple and natural food, and these qualities are what make it so darn tasty! Puglia produces around 40% of the countries olive oil, and this is definitely best enjoyed drizzled over some local, homemade bread. As well as tasty pasta and sauces, roast meat and mozzarella, the people of Puglia love digging into some delicious dolce. Here, almonds, honey and ricotta are widely used in desserts, and let’s not forget the yummy gelato!