The heel of Italy’s boot is a sun-soaked region famous for pristine beaches, architectural wonders, glorious national parks and a love for earthy comfort food.
Puglia, also called Apulia, blends the rustic beauty of Italian countryside with Baroque cities, medieval hilltop towns and elegant beach resorts. This delightful tourist region stretches along southeastern Italy. Its coastlines along the Adriatic Sea and Ionian Sea have about 300 days of sunshine. Puglia also has centuries of winemaking heritage and simple cucina povera cuisine.
Admire ancient churches and the Norman Castle while wandering along Bari’s cobblestone streets. Find innumerable churches, palaces and plazas in Foggia and explore the grandiose fortress of Lucera. View Baroque architectural masterpieces in Lecce. Tour the hilltop towns of the olive grove-covered Itria Valley, revered for medieval whitewashed trulli houses. Alberobello, Cisternino and Martina Franca are also worth visiting.
The white sandy beaches, crystalline water and rugged bays of Puglia’s coastlines showcase an infectious Mediterranean charm. Trani, Polignano a Mare and Monopoli decorate the Adriatic shoreline and are just a short drive from Bari. Go biking, snorkeling and scuba diving at Torre Guaceto Nature Reserve, near Marina di Ostuni. Secluded coves and sea caves characterize the Ionian shores of the Salento Peninsula. Enjoy the beauty of Santa Maria di Leuca, Marina di Ugento and the Gulf of Gallipoli.
Get active on bike, foot or horseback in Gargano National Park, where dense woodland spills down to lively beach resorts. Catch a ferry to the idyllic Tremiti Islands. Discover deep gorges, rocky villages and Byzantine-era relics in Terra delle Gravine Regional Park. Escape the crowds in Alta Murgia National Park.
Satisfy your appetite with hearty cucina povera meals, a concept based on age-old peasant principles of turning simple ingredients into culinary art. Popular dishes include melanzane ripiene (stuffed eggplant), polpi in umido (stewed octopus) and orecchiette pasta. Accompany it with Puglia’s fruity, full-bodied offerings from wineries such as the 17th-century Leone de Castris.
Reach Puglia by flying to Bari or Brindisi from major European cities. Rent a car and travel around this scenic region via meandering coastal and country roads.