Italy is famous the world over for its cuisine and the Puglia region, in the sunny heel of Italy’s ‘boot’, is one of the country’s most exciting gourmet destinations.
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With its fertile soil, olive groves and tradition of fishing, Puglia produces some of the freshest and most delicious produce imaginable, all of which can elevate even the simplest of dishes into something exceptional. The region is also steeped in history with ancient architecture and buildings lining the streets.
Here’s our pick of the top things to do in Puglia, so you can start planning the ultimate Italian escape.
This small UNESCO World Heritage-listed town is famous for its Trulli: white, cone-roofed houses. If you’re planning a trip to Puglia then Alberobello has to be on your list of things to do. Visitors can simply wander the narrow lanes tasting local produce from streetside vendors or enjoying a wine or two with a unique view.
Top tip: Head to Rione Monti, a sloped district that offers the best views of the rooftops and plenty of tiny bars where you can sample local wines.
Known as the ‘garden of Italy’, it’s no surprise that Puglia’s landscape is dotted with hundreds of vineyards and wineries, some with fine-dining restaurants, others with rustic cellar doors and some with stables for horse riding through the vines.
Top tip: Book a table (well in advance) for dinner at Origano at Menhir Salento where chef Vito Gaballo serves the finest Italian fare in an enchanting garden. The wine list is also to die for!
Image courtesy of Le Febriche
No one makes pasta like Nonna does and in Bari you can taste the very best Puglia has to offer. There’s plenty to do in this maze-like old town, but we recommend joining a food tour or exploring the narrow streets on your own popping into local delis, wineries and pasta shops to try the delicious produce of Puglia along the way.
Top tip: Sign up for a pasta-making cooking class. We recommend booking one through a tour company for an authentic experience, cooking Italy’s most popular dish in a local’s home.
Otranto is an undiscovered coastal gem that sits on the shores of the Adriatic Sea, regarded as one of the most beautiful bodies of water in the world. The town’s harbour is lined with chic restaurants and cocktail bars, where you can park yourself for hours while watching the small fishing boats sail in and out of the dock.
Top tip: See the 800-year-old Tree of Life mosaic in the Otranto Cathedral. Filling the entire floor of the nave and choir, it is arranged like a standard family tree with the trunk resting on two elephants.
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