Puglia, with its 800 km of coastline and a sublime climate, is the most eastern region of Italy. Its paradisiacal beaches and unspoilt nature, together with its unquestioned beauty make it a place to visit at least once in a lifetime.
Destination desired by young people for the numerous attractions it offers, by families for the dreamy beaches with shallow waters, by poets, writers for its countless stories that intertwine between myth and art and by scholars for the variety of its landscapes and its precious past and by couples for being so incredibly romantic, Puglia is one of the pearls of Italy.
Ten days in Puglia are certainly not enough to visit the beauties that this extraordinary region offers, but they are certainly a beginning to be able to see at least its most characteristic places.
The best way to see Puglia is by car, either by renting it, or by hiring a driver. Given the short distance between one city and another, a car represents the ideal means of transport to enjoy the beauties of this region.
Bari can represent the start of a trip in Puglia, with its Swabian Castle, the Basilica of San Nicola and the fascinating heritage hidden underground, such as the ancient hypogea dug into the tuff and the rock churches. The historic center of Bari is a real pearl and worth a visit.
Stroll along the winding streets, admire the magnificent castle on the edge of the historic center, the numerous churches, and historic buildings. Or admire views of the sea, and wander among the numerous cafés and shops that line the streets and squares.
Going towards south, Alberobello and Polignano are two unmissable stops. Alberobello, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996, is universally known for its “Trulli”, unique architectural constructions in the world and an extraordinary example of how the apparently simplest structures also turn out to be the most ingenious. Over time, this town nestled in the heart of the Itria valley has experienced an extraordinary transformation, from a peasant center to a world tourist hub. Polignano, recently recognized as “the friendliest city in the world” according to Booking users, is mostly famous for its Cala Porto beach: it is the most beautiful of the beaches of Polignano a Mare, an inlet made of small white pebbles and bathed by a crystalline sea that fades from turquoise to blue.
Continuing along the wonderful scenarios of Puglia, there is Monopoli, a jewel of popular architecture mixed with sumptuous religious buildings and splendid noble palaces. A dream sea and a historic center full of art and history make Monopoli one of the most beautiful towns on the Adriatic.
Another town which deserves to be seen is Ostuni, known in Italian as the “White City” for its blinding white stone buildings, whitewashed houses and cobbled alleyways. It is considered one of the most fascinating destinations in all of Puglia and finally, it is only a few kilometres from the magnificent Adriatic Sea.
Continuing south, there is Brindisi: a city with a maritime charm, it is characterized by a coast that fascinates and attracts many visitors. Brindisi preserves some Roman relics, but the most important historical places to visit are those from the Middle Ages, first of all, the Castle of Federico II, also called Castello di terra or Swabian-Aragonese Castle. A tour of the most beautiful and renowned churches, the Churches of San Benedetto, Santa Lucia and San Giovanni al Sepolcro and the Church of Santa Maria del Casale is a must!
After Brindisi, in just 30 minutes by car, you will reach Lecce.
The city of Lecce represents the triumph of the Baroque style, of the scents of the Mediterranean and of great beauty. An open-air museum among the most fascinating in Italy and the pearl of Puglia. Scenic and welcoming, rich in history and art, Lecce reached its heyday in the Renaissance. The center of the city is the spectacular Piazza Sant’Oronzo, a symbol of the millenary history of Lecce.
Together with the “she-wolf” depicted on the oval of the square, the Roman Amphitheatre represents the ancient heart of the city, dated between the Augustan and Hadrian ages, and in the large auditorium in front of the Baroque church of Santa Maria della Grazia today outdoor events and shows take place.
One of the many reasons to visit the splendid Puglia is linked to food. When we think about Puglia from a culinary point of view, the typical Apulian products are the ones that first come to mind: orecchiette, friselle and taralli.
Pane di Altamura
Let’s not forget the extraordinary bread of Altamura, centuries-old Italian bread appreciated all over the world. Loaf – shaped with a crunchy crust, Altamura bread is distinguished by a soft, yellow and slightly honeycombed dough. Once you taste it, you will never forget its flavour!
Another delicious Apulian food is represented by “Focaccia”, made with a simple dough based on water, yeast, flour, re-milled semolina and boiled potatoes that make it incredibly soft, while the famous “Panzerotto” was born in Puglia probably from an anonymous baker or an unknown housewife who transforms some leftover bread dough into a small pizza, fills it with tomato and mozzarella and closes it in a crescent shape.
Appreciated throughout Italy, it is offered in the most bizarre variations. Swollen, pot-bellied, golden on the surface, with a soft texture and a stringy interior, it represents an irresistible delicacy !
Arguably the most famous is the orecchiette (little ear) pasta, typically served with a simple sauce made from olive oil, garlic, and broccoli rabe, or with tomato-based sauces. It is also a popular ingredient in pasta salads, and can be found in many traditional dishes such as “orecchiette con cime di rapa” (orecchiette with turnip greens) and “orecchiette con le polpette” (orecchiette with meatballs).
Italians adore orecchiette pasta for its unique shape, which allows it to hold sauces and other ingredients particularly well. Additionally, the pasta is made with just flour and water, which gives it a distinct flavor and texture. When visiting Puglia, trying a plate of orecchiette pasta is a must for anyone who loves Italian cuisine.
In some villages you can still find women gathering on the porch engaging in the age-old tradition of making this pasta with their thumbs, adding to the authenticity.
For all the reasons listed above, Puglia deserves to be visited at least once in a lifetime. Not for nothing, it has been declared for two consecutive times by National Geographic “the most beautiful region in the world”.
Classic Puglia can design you a tour around your tastes and preferences. Get in touch with our Puglia travel experts to start planning. Visit our tours page to view our predesigned Puglia itineraries.