Whilst Italians have regularly visited Puglia (pronounced poo-lia) in the height of summer for their annual holiday, the advent of low cost flights to both Bari and Brindisi from all over Europe has led to more travellers coming from further afield.
Puglia has much to offer – from its glorious beaches on both the Adriatic and Ionian coasts; typical conical trullis best seen in Locorontondo, the gleaming white fort town of Ostuni built on a hill or baroque Lecce; festivals throughout the year; bursts of wild flowers during spring; archeological remains; historical churches; to its authentic food. Villa Ashyana is a great base from which to explore the region.
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From Condé Nast Traveller
There are some very good reasons why everyone seems to be going to Puglia in southern Italy right now. The remote heel of Italy’s boot dramatically combines fairytale cottages, Baroque architecture and some of the best sandy beaches in mainland Italy. Italian families head for the coast every year in July and August. But handsome Baroque towns such as Martina Franca and the emerging Lecce see only a handful of visitors each day. And if you decide to explore some of Puglia’s remote Basilian chapels or prehistoric dolmens, you will be gloriously alone. But the most recent attraction of the region is the food scene – a combination of top-quality local produce and authentic Italian home cooking.
From the Lonely Planet
Puglia is Italy’s ascendant region, a place where savvy travellers bored or worn down by the crowds of Campania and Tuscany escape for something a bit less frenetic and manicured. Top of the list for prospective newcomers is the food. Puglia’s cucina povera is about as earthy as Italian cuisine gets without eating it straight out of the soil. Then there’s the exuberant architecture, best summarised by the word ‘baroque’ and exhibited in all its finery in the glittering ‘Florence of the South’, Lecce, and its smaller sibling, Gallipoli.
With the longest coastline of any region in mainlandItaly, Puglia is larger than many people realise. In the north, the spur of land sticking out into the Adriatic is occupied by the balmy micro climates of the Gargano peninsula, a kind of miniature Amalfi with fewer poseurs. The Italian boot’s ‘stiletto’ hosts the land of Salento, a dry scrubby region famous for its wines, and bloodthirsty Greek and Turkish history. In between lies the Valle d’Itria, a karstic depression populated by vastly contrasting medieval towns that have little in common apart from their haunting beauty.
Of the larger cities, Brindisi, an erstwhile Roman settlement, is one of the major departure points for Greece (by ferry), while Puglia’s largest metropolis, Bari has a university and trendier inclinations.
The complete guide to Puglia, The Independent: