Italy is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world. It just goes without saying that some of its cities such as Rome, Florence and Venice among many others, are also ever popular with tourists. If you are one to avoid the crowd as much as possible, but also cannot get enough of what Italy has to offer, then all you have to do is to go head south to Puglia.
Puglia offers almost everything that makes Italy a big hit. Whether it is the picturesque, romantic countryside, stunning beaches, outstanding ancient architecture or scrumptious cuisine you are in love with, you can find all these and more in the heel of Italy’s boot. On top of all this, you will not have to navigate your way around the busy tourist area because the region remains pretty much undiscovered.
A word of caution though, Puglia is not for those looking for an exciting night life scene and touristy locales If, however, you are looking for some peace and quiet while you immerse yourself in culture and history, with magnificent landscapes to boot, then this place is a perfect fit for you.
Pugliaís six provinces, Bari, Brindisi, Foggia, Lecce, Taranto and Barletta-Andria-Trani provide visitors with a vast stunning playground of olive groves, vineyards, stunning beaches, picturesque villages and medieval cities to explore and discover. One of the region’s biggest attractions are the trulli villages scattered around the Valle d’Itria located within the triangle between Bari, Taranto and Brindisi. A trullo is essentially a small whitewashed house of limestone slabs and domed roof shaped like a cone. Imagine hundreds or thousands of them scattered around rolling hills and you have a good picture of how remarkably scenic these villages are. The biggest of these trulli villages, with about 1,400 huddled together, can be found in Alberobello.
Other picturesque villages that are likewise must-visits include the white city of Locorotondo. Everything in the village is white except for the colorful blooms of flowers embellishing its wrought-iron balconies.
Other cities worth exploring on foot for their sheer beauty are the whitewashed baroque villages of Ostuni as well as the gorgeous golden limestone churches and palaces of Lecce. The town of Bari, albeit a bit visually somber, is also worth taking a look at for its 12th century Basilica di San Nichola. If you want to see more medieval gems in the region, there is the mysterious Castel del Monte built by Emperor Frederick II in the early 13th century in the eastern coast and the Romanesque cathedrals of Trani and Otranto in the south.
Finally, a perfect ending to your Puglia trip is to take advantage of the region’s sun, sand and sea. There is the scenic seaside resort of Otranto with its crystalline waters and interesting old town. There is also the national park of Gargano Peninsula with its rocky shores and the nearby small islands of Tremiti. Of course, do not forget to indulge in the region’s mouthwatering cuisine while you are out and about. The best of Italy without the crowds awaits you in Puglia.