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Why I Love Traveling To Puglia, Italy


by Martie Furr



Welcome to Puglia, a charming and enchanting region located in the southern part of Italy. Known for its rich history, stunning landscapes, delicious cuisine, and warm-hearted people, Puglia has captivated the hearts of travelers from around the world. Whether you are seeking a relaxing beach vacation, a culinary adventure, or a cultural exploration, Puglia offers a myriad of experiences that will leave you in awe.


With its strategic location on the Adriatic coast, Puglia has been influenced by various civilizations throughout history, including the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Normans, and more. This fascinating past is reflected in the region’s architectural marvels and cultural heritage, making it a paradise for history buffs. From the ancient ruins of the Roman town of Egnazia to the impressive UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Alberobello and Matera, Puglia is a treasure trove of historical wonders.


But Puglia is not just about its history; it is also renowned for its pristine beaches and breathtaking coastline. Stretching over 800 kilometers, the Puglian coast offers a diverse range of landscapes, from sandy beaches to dramatic cliffs. Whether you prefer relaxing on the sun-kissed shores of Salento or exploring the hidden coves of the Gargano Peninsula, Puglia promises an unforgettable beach experience.


As you immerse yourself in the beauty of Puglia, you will also have the opportunity to savor its delectable cuisine. Puglian gastronomy is renowned for its simplicity and emphasis on fresh, local ingredients. Indulge in dishes such as orecchiette pasta with broccoli rabe, succulent grilled fish, and creamy burrata cheese. Don’t forget to pair your meal with a glass of Primitivo or Negroamaro, two of the region’s famous wines.


Rich History of Puglia

Puglia’s rich history dates back thousands of years, making it a treasure trove of archaeological sites and historical landmarks. From ancient civilizations to medieval fortresses, the region offers a fascinating glimpse into the past.


One of the most significant historical sites in Puglia is the city of Matera, located just across the border in the neighboring region of Basilicata. Matera is known for its unique cave dwellings, known as sassi, which are believed to be some of the first human settlements in Italy. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Matera’s sassi transport visitors back in time, offering a glimpse into the daily life of its ancient inhabitants.


Another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Puglia is the trulli of Alberobello. These iconic white-washed stone houses with conical roofs are found nowhere else in the world. Stepping into the narrow streets of Alberobello feels like stepping into a fairytale, with over 1,500 trulli scattered throughout the town. Exploring the intricate architecture and learning about the history behind these unique dwellings is a must-do when visiting Puglia.


Puglia is also home to a number of impressive castles, fortresses, and cathedrals that showcase the region’s medieval past. In Bari, the capital of Puglia, you can visit the impressive Castello Svevo, a Norman fortress that dates back to the 12th century. The cathedral of Trani, situated on the scenic waterfront, is a stunning example of Apulian Romanesque architecture. And in Otranto, you can explore the breathtaking Otranto Cathedral with its intricate mosaic floor, which is considered one of the finest in all of Italy.


For history enthusiasts, Puglia is a paradise with its numerous archaeological sites. The ancient town of Egnazia near Fasano boasts well-preserved ruins of a Roman settlement, including a theater, baths, and a necropolis. In Taranto, you can visit the National Archaeological Museum, which houses an impressive collection of artifacts from various civilizations, including the Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines.


Exploring the rich history of Puglia is like unraveling the layers of a captivating story. From ancient civilizations to medieval fortresses, every step you take in this enchanting region will transport you back in time.


Stunning Beaches and Coastline

Puglia is blessed with a mesmerizing coastline that stretches over 800 kilometers, offering a diverse range of beaches and landscapes. Whether you prefer sandy shores, rocky cliffs, or secluded coves, you will find your slice of paradise in Puglia.


One of the most popular beach destinations in Puglia is Salento, located at the southern tip of the region. Here, you’ll find crystal-clear turquoise waters, powdery white sand, and a vibrant beach culture. Explore the renowned beaches of Gallipoli, with its charming historic center overlooking the sea. Or head to the stunning Torre dell’Orso beach, known for its natural rock formations and shallow, calm waters.


If you’re looking for a more rugged and dramatic coastline, the Gargano Peninsula is the place to be. This unique promontory boasts dramatic cliffs, hidden caves, and picturesque bays. Visit the stunning Baia delle Zagare, with its famous towering white cliffs and crystal-clear waters. Or explore the enchanting coastline of the Tremiti Islands, a small archipelago just off the coast of the Gargano Peninsula, where you can snorkel, swim, and soak up the sun.


For those seeking secluded and pristine beaches, the Ionian coast of Puglia is a hidden gem. Head to the coastal town of Porto Cesareo, where you’ll find long stretches of untouched sandy beaches, perfect for a peaceful day of sunbathing and relaxation. Or visit the protected nature reserve of Torre Guaceto, where you can explore unspoiled beaches and admire the diverse marine life.


As you explore Puglia’s beaches, don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in water sports and activities. Whether it’s kayaking along the rugged coastline, windsurfing in the clear waters, or paddleboarding in the calm bays, there are plenty of options to satisfy your adventurous spirit.


With its stunning beaches and breathtaking coastline, Puglia offers a perfect seaside getaway. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or simply a place to soak up the sun, you’ll find it all in this coastal paradise.


Delicious Cuisine and Wine

When it comes to food and wine, Puglia is a gastronomic paradise that will delight your taste buds. The region’s cuisine is characterized by its simplicity, authenticity, and emphasis on fresh, local ingredients.


Puglia is famous for its incredible pasta dishes, with orecchiette being a local specialty. These small, ear-shaped pasta pieces are traditionally served with broccoli rabe, garlic, and chili flakes, creating a flavorful and satisfying meal. Another pasta dish worth trying is the cavatelli, a small shell-shaped pasta often served with a rich tomato sauce and locally sourced seafood.


Seafood plays a prominent role in Puglian cuisine, thanks to the region’s long coastline. Feast on freshly caught fish, such as branzino or sea bass, beautifully cooked and seasoned with local herbs and olive oil. The coastal towns of Monopoli and Polignano a Mare are known for their exceptional seafood restaurants, where you can indulge in the catch of the day.


No visit to Puglia is complete without trying the famous burrata cheese. Soft, creamy, and delicate, burrata is a fresh cheese made from mozzarella filled with cream. Savor it on its own or enjoy it as part of a delicious antipasto platter, accompanied by sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and crusty bread.


Puglia is also renowned for its olive oil production, with the region being one of the largest producers in Italy. Take the opportunity to visit the local masserie, traditional farmhouses, where you can learn about the olive oil-making process and sample the exquisite flavors of Puglian extra virgin olive oil. The verdant countryside is dotted with olive groves, creating a picturesque landscape that is truly a feast for the eyes.


To complement your meal, don’t forget to indulge in the region’s exceptional wines. Puglia is known for its robust and full-bodied red wines, such as Primitivo and Negroamaro. These wines pair perfectly with the rich flavors of Puglian cuisine and will enhance your dining experience.


In Puglia, food and wine are not just sustenance; they are a way of life. Immerse yourself in the region’s culinary pleasures and savor the authentic flavors that have been passed down through generations.


Charming Towns and Villages

Puglia is home to a myriad of charming towns and villages that are sure to captivate you with their authentic beauty and unique character. From historic centers to picturesque coastal towns, each place has its own story to tell.


One of the most iconic towns in Puglia is Alberobello, famous for its enchanting trulli houses. Walking through the narrow streets of Alberobello feels like stepping into a fairytale. These white-washed stone houses with conical roofs are a symbol of the region and are designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the intricate architecture, visit the Trullo Sovrano, a two-story trullo house, or simply get lost in the mesmerizing charm of this magical town.


Located on the Adriatic coast, Polignano a Mare is another gem that will steal your heart. Perched on a cliff overlooking the turquoise sea, this picturesque town is known for its stunning beach coves and crystal-clear waters. Stroll through the charming old town, with its narrow alleys, whitewashed houses, and breathtaking views. Don’t miss the chance to dine at one of the cliffside restaurants and enjoy a meal with a view that will leave you speechless.


Ostuni, often referred to as the “White City,” is another must-visit destination in Puglia. This hilltop town showcases a dazzling display of white-washed buildings, narrow winding streets, and panoramic vistas. Explore the stunning historic center, visit the 15th-century Ostuni Cathedral, and soak in the enchanting atmosphere of this architectural gem.


Lecce, known as the “Florence of the South,” is renowned for its Baroque architecture and exquisite craftsmanship. The city’s historic center is adorned with intricate facades, elegant churches, and ornate palaces. As you wander through the streets, you’ll come across beautiful piazzas, such as Piazza del Duomo and Piazza Sant’Oronzo, where you can relax and soak up the vibrant atmosphere.


These are just a few examples of the many charming towns and villages that await you in Puglia. Each place has its own unique charm and allure, offering a glimpse into the region’s rich history and cultural heritage. Whether you’re exploring its historic centers, admiring the coastal views, or simply embracing the slow pace of life, these towns and villages are sure to leave a lasting impression.


Unique Trulli Houses

One of the most fascinating features of Puglia’s architectural landscape is the presence of trulli houses. These unique stone structures, with their iconic conical roofs, are found nowhere else in the world. Trulli houses are a symbol of the region and are often associated with the town of Alberobello.


Alberobello, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is characterized by its picturesque streets lined with hundreds of trulli houses. These whitewashed dwellings, built using the traditional dry-stone technique, create a mesmerizing sight that transports visitors to another era. Walking through the narrow lanes, you’ll find yourself immersed in a fairytale-like atmosphere, with the conical roofs creating a whimsical and enchanting ambiance.


Trulli houses have a long history that dates back centuries. Originally designed as temporary structures that could be easily dismantled to avoid paying taxes, these dwellings soon became a permanent feature of the Puglian landscape. The conical shape of the roofs is not only an architectural marvel but also serves a practical purpose, allowing rainwater to be collected and stored in underground cisterns.


Today, many trulli houses in Puglia have been restored and converted into unique accommodations, giving travelers the opportunity to experience living in these traditional buildings. Staying in a trullo allows you to fully appreciate the simplicity and charm of Puglian architecture. The interiors are often characterized by stone walls, arched ceilings, and rustic furnishings, creating a cozy and authentic ambiance.


While Alberobello is the most famous destination to see trulli houses, they can also be found scattered throughout the countryside of Puglia. In towns like Locorotondo and Cisternino, you’ll discover clusters of trulli houses that add to the region’s charm and character. Exploring these rural areas gives you a glimpse into the daily life of the locals and allows you to admire the trulli in their natural surroundings.


The unique trulli houses of Puglia are not only architectural marvels but also an integral part of the region’s cultural heritage. They represent a way of life that has endured for centuries and continue to captivate visitors with their distinct charm and beauty.


Vibrant Local Festivals

One of the best ways to experience the vibrant culture and traditions of Puglia is by attending its lively and colorful local festivals. Throughout the year, the region comes alive with festivities that celebrate everything from religious events to historical reenactments and cultural traditions.


One of the most renowned festivals in Puglia is the Festival of Sant’Oronzo in Lecce. Held annually in August, this week-long celebration honors the patron saint of the city, attracting locals and tourists alike. The streets are adorned with lights, music fills the air, and lively processions take place, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the region. The highlight of the festival is the stunning “La Notte della Taranta” concert, where traditional Puglian music, known as pizzica, is performed.


Another festival that shouldn’t be missed is the Farinella Festival in Rutigliano. Taking place in January, this festival commemorates the legend of Farinella, a young woman who saved her village from starvation. The highlight of the festival is the procession of men dressed as Roman soldiers, carrying a giant loaf of bread over their heads. The streets come alive with music, dancing, and theatrical performances, creating a festive and joyous atmosphere.


In Alberobello, the unique town known for its trulli houses, the Feast of Saints Cosmas and Damian is a major event. Celebrated on September 26th, this religious festival includes a procession of the patron saints through the streets of Alberobello, accompanied by traditional music and dance. The town is adorned with lights and decorations, and locals gather to participate in the festivities and pay homage to the saints.


Puglia is also famous for its vibrant carnival celebrations, known as “Carnevale.” One of the most popular Carnevale events takes place in Putignano, where elaborate parades, colorful costumes, and floats fill the streets. The highlight of the Putignano Carnevale is the battle of the three giants, representing the old, the new, and the future, in a symbolic contest of power and renewal.


Whether you’re interested in religious traditions, historical reenactments, or cultural celebrations, Puglia offers a wide range of vibrant festivals to immerse yourself in the local culture. These festivals bring together locals and visitors alike, creating a sense of community and providing a unique glimpse into the traditions and heritage of the region.


Warm and Welcoming People

One of the greatest treasures of Puglia is its warm and welcoming people. Known for their hospitality and genuine friendliness, the locals in Puglia have a way of making visitors feel like part of the family.


As you explore the towns and villages of Puglia, you’ll be met with smiling faces and open arms. The locals take great pride in their region and are eager to share their culture and traditions with visitors. Whether you’re seeking directions, recommendations, or simply engaging in conversation, you’ll find the people of Puglia always ready to help and make you feel at home.


Puglia is a place where community and family ties are strong, and this sense of togetherness extends to visitors as well. It’s not uncommon to be invited into someone’s home for a traditional meal or to partake in a local celebration. Sharing a meal with the locals is a delightful experience, as you’ll not only enjoy delicious food but also have the opportunity to hear stories and learn more about Puglian culture.


The warmth of the people is evident in their vibrant festivals and events. The locals take great pride in organizing and participating in these festivities, and they love to involve visitors in the celebrations. Whether it’s dancing the pizzica at a traditional folk festival or joining in the processions of religious events, being embraced by the locals’ enthusiasm and sense of community is truly heartwarming.


Another aspect that sets the people of Puglia apart is their passion for their land and heritage. They love to share their knowledge about the region’s history, traditions, and culinary delights. From recommending the best local trattorias to guiding you through the winding streets of their hometown, the people of Puglia take joy in showcasing the best that their region has to offer.


Visiting Puglia is not just about seeing the beautiful landscapes and experiencing the mouthwatering cuisine; it’s about connecting with the people who call this region home. Their warmth, genuine smiles, and willingness to share their culture create an unforgettable experience that will make you feel like a part of the Puglian family.


Exploring Puglia’s Olive Groves

Puglia is often referred to as the “Olive Oil Capital” of Italy, and exploring its vast olive groves is a must-do when visiting the region. With over 60 million olive trees scattered across the countryside, Puglia boasts some of the oldest and most extensive olive groves in the world.


Wandering through Puglia’s olive groves is an immersive experience that allows you to connect with the region’s rich agricultural heritage. The rolling hills and gentle slopes are adorned with row after row of ancient twisted trees, their silver-green leaves shimmering in the sunlight. The air is scented with the sweet fragrance of olives, and the tranquility of the groves creates a soothing and peaceful atmosphere.


Many olive groves in Puglia are home to centuries-old trees, some of which are believed to be over 2,000 years old. These majestic trees have witnessed the passage of time and hold within them the stories of generations past. As you walk among them, you can’t help but feel a sense of reverence and awe for their enduring presence.


During your exploration, you may come across traditional masserie, the historic farmhouses that dot the landscape. These beautiful and rustic buildings have been the heart of olive oil production in Puglia for centuries. Some have been converted into agriturismi, offering visitors the opportunity to stay overnight and experience farm life firsthand.


A visit to an olive mill, or frantoio, is a highlight of exploring Puglia’s olive groves. Here, you can witness the production process and learn about the art of olive oil making. From the careful picking and sorting of the olives to the pressing and extraction of the oil, you can observe every step of the process. Tasting the freshly pressed extra virgin olive oil is a delight for the senses, revealing the unique flavors and characteristics that Puglia’s olive oil is renowned for.


The olive groves of Puglia not only produce exceptional olive oil but also contribute to the region’s idyllic landscape. The sheer beauty and serenity of these groves, with their ancient trees and peaceful surroundings, make them a photographer’s dream and a haven for nature lovers.


Exploring Puglia’s olive groves is a journey into the heart and soul of the region. It’s an opportunity to connect with nature, savor the flavors of its renowned olive oil, and appreciate the centuries-old tradition of olive cultivation that has shaped Puglia’s identity.



Puglia, with its rich history, stunning beaches, delicious cuisine, and warm-hearted people, truly has it all. This enchanting region in southern Italy is a destination that captures the hearts of travelers from around the world.


From exploring the intricate trulli houses in Alberobello to basking in the natural beauty of its pristine coastline, Puglia offers a diverse range of experiences. Immerse yourself in the region’s captivating history by visiting ancient ruins, medieval castles, and charming towns like Matera and Ostuni.


Indulge in the region’s mouthwatering cuisine, where every dish is a celebration of fresh, local ingredients. From savoring the traditional pasta dishes of orecchiette and cavatelli to relishing the delectable flavors of seafood and burrata cheese, Puglia’s culinary delights are sure to leave you craving for more.


The vibrant festivals in Puglia bring the region’s culture and traditions to life. From religious processions to historical reenactments and lively carnivals, these celebrations showcase the warm spirit and sense of community that define the people of Puglia.


Exploring Puglia’s olive groves is a magical experience that allows you to connect with the region’s agricultural heritage. The ancient olive trees, historic masserie, and traditional frantoi provide a glimpse into the craftsmanship and artistry of olive oil production.


Beyond its natural and cultural riches, what truly sets Puglia apart is its warm and welcoming people. The locals embrace visitors as if they were long-lost friends, inviting them into their homes, sharing their customs, and making them feel like a part of the Puglian family.


Whether you’re seeking relaxation, cultural immersion, culinary delights, or a combination of all three, Puglia is a destination that will leave a lasting impression. Its unique charm, genuine hospitality, and diverse experiences make it a must-visit region for any traveler seeking an authentic and unforgettable Italian experience.


So pack your bags, immerse yourself in the beauty of Puglia, and let the magic of this captivating region unfold before your eyes. You won’t be disappointed.