According to Smarter Computing, Puglia or Apulia is a region in southeastern Italy, the part known as the “Heel of the Boot”. Puglia borders the Adriatic Sea and the Ionian Sea, off the coast are the Tremiti Islands. The region is known for its excellent wine and is the largest producer of olives in Italy. The most famous wines from Puglia are the Primitivo and the Negroamaro.
Central to the region is the Valle d’Itria, one of the best known and most beautiful regions of Italy. This part of Puglia is known for the trulli, round white houses with slate roofs, which can be found on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Baris is the capital of the region and the most popular city for a city trip is baroque Lecce. Many of the tourists who spend a holiday in Puglia stay in the immediate vicinity of the beach. The most beautiful can be found in the tip of the heel around Otrento and in the northern part near the Gardano peninsula. The most special building is the Castel del Monte, an octagonal castle from the thirteenth century.
Top 10 things to do in Puglia
Bari is the capital of the Puglia region and the largest city in this part of Italy. It is an ancient city that is said to have been founded as early as the fifteenth century BC. Walking through the historic center of Bari you will come across sights from different time periods. For example, there are still memories of the Roman era, but the Byzantines and the Arabs have also left their traces. The city’s most famous landmark is the Basilica of Saint Nicholas. The remains of the bishop of Myra are kept in this basilica. There are also several palazzi and museums in the city that are worth a visit.
Lecce is a beautiful baroque city in the heart of Apulia. It is an ancient city that was founded by the Greeks as early as the seventh century BC. Reminders of Roman rule can still be found in the city. Thus is Roman amphitheatre, one of the main attractions. It is remarkable that so much of the baroque center of Lecce is still completely intact, with the highlights being the Palace of the Celestines, the Basilica of Santa Croce and the Oiazza del Duomo. Large parts of the original city walls are still standing and still form the border between the historic center and the rest of the city.
#3. Castel del Montea
The Castel del Monte is one of the most beautiful and special structures in the entire region. The castle is built in a typical octagonal shape on top of a hill. It is a perfect octagon, with eight identical halls and eight towers. Not much has survived of the original decoration, but in some places some of the former wealth of the castle can still be found. From the tower of the castle you have a beautiful view of the area. The Castel del Monte has been on the Unesco World Heritage List since 1996.
The town of Locorotondo is centrally located in the Valle d’Itria, the most beautiful part of Puglia, a stone’s throw from Alberobello. The white village is built on top of a hill overlooking the valley and the Adriatic sea. Due to the higher location of the village, Locorotondo dominates the face of the Valle d’Itria. The narrow streets with whitewashed houses are ideal to get lost in during the summer months. The shady streets of the village are a lot cooler than other parts of the region. Main attractions are the Chiesa Madra San Giorgio and the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele.
The village of Alberobello is the most famous village in Apulia. The village is known for the trulli. Within the boundaries of the village there are two large neighborhoods that consist exclusively of these typical round houses; Rione Monti and Aia Piccola. Like the other trulli in Apulia, these neighborhoods can be found on the Unesco World Heritage List. Because there are so many of these round houses in Alberobello, it is usually very busy with tourists. If you want to enjoy the beauty of the village in peace, it is best to visit the village early in the day.
Gallipoli is a town and an island off the coast of Puglia, in the Ionian Sea. The historic part of the town can be found on the island, which is connected to the mainland by a bridge. Due to the isolated location of this part of Gallipoli, it still has the same appearance as it used to be. Large parts of the historic city are car-free, there is only a perimeter road around the historic part. The Via Antonietta de Pace is the main road of the village, with its fair share of sights. At the bridge that connects Gallipoli to the mainland is the castle of Gallipolo.
#7. Martin Franca
Martina Franca is a beautiful baroque town in the center of Apulia, in the province of Taranto. The city is located in the Valle d’Itria, the most touristic part of the region. This has everything to do with the many trulli in this valley. On the edge of Martina Franca, you can still find some of these typical round houses. The compact center of Martina Franca dates back to the eighteenth century. Highlights of the town are Piazza Plebiscito with its cathedral, Piazza Roma and the historic city walls, which have a total of twenty-four towers. Most of the houses in the center of the city are painted white, so that all the streets look alike and you will get lost several times.
#8. Cathedral of Trani
Trani Cathedral is one of the most beautiful Romanesque buildings in Puglia. The location of the cathedral directly on the sea in an empty square makes the imposing cathedral appear even larger. Bari Cathedral is open to the public, but unfortunately photos are not allowed once inside. The current eleventh-century cathedral was built on the remains of a much older church, the oldest parts of which date from the fourth century. The entire cathedral has recently been restored and can now be admired in its full glory. Below the church is the crypt of Saint Nicholas the Pilgrim.
Otranto is a small town in the extreme southeast of the Puglia region. The most famous sight of the town is the Castle of Otranto, also known as the Castello Aragonese. This castle, together with the city walls of Otranto, once formed the city’s defense line. Yet Otranto did not manage to escape the plundering urge of the Ottomans, after the city was reconquered, the city walls and the castle were also restored. Otranto Cathedral is the largest in the region and dates back to the eleventh century.
The Gargano Peninsula is found in the northern part of the Puglia region. This peninsula is the only truly mountainous part of the region and, together with the Tremiti Islands, forms the Gargano National Park. Together with some other wooded regions in Europe, Gargano forms the Unesco World Heritage Ancient and Prehistoric Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other European Regions. On the Gragano peninsula are the popular tourist resorts of Vieste, Peschici and Mattinata. The hills of Gargano rise in some places more than a thousand meters above sea level, the highest peak of the region is Monte Calvo with 1055 meters.