People say that Italy looks like a boot. Well, then Puglia is the heel!
Puglia is one of the most popular tourist destinations for both Italians and foreigners. There is plenty of cities and towns, castles and the typical trulli buildings, natural parks and — of course — wonderful beaches. Not to mention the fascinating cultural traditions and excellent local cuisine.
As you can immagine there are so many places that deserve to be visited. We tried to make a selection and we ended up focusing on the cities. We eventually chose 4 that you should absolutely visit during a holiday in Puglia, especially if it’s your first time. Of course, the list could be much longer!
Bari is the regional county seat of Puglia and is an enchanting city by the sea.
For a long time its geographical position made Bari a hub in the international mercantile trade.
Visiting Bari means first of all visiting Bari Vecchia, the oldest area of the city, with its narrow streets and its folklore. Another interesting area is the Murat district, the second oldest district.
Absolutely not to be missed is a walk along the seafront promenade. In the evening you will find many young people, while in the morning this area belongs to the fishermen and the stands selling delicious food.
Among the numerous historic buildings of Bari, two are unmissable. The Swabian-Norman Castle is one of the most important Romanesque monuments in Italy, and the Church of San Nicola is where the remains of the saint who gave rise to the legend of Santa Claus are kept.
During your holiday in Puglia you should plan a day trip to Lecce.
Lecce is famous for the Baroque style of its buildings, which has peculiar features that cannot be found elsewhere.
The churches and the palaces of its historic center are characterized by warm colored facades and elaborate decorations.
The heart of the city is certainly Piazza Oronzo, but Piazza del Duomo with its sumptuous Cathedral and its tall tower bell is also worth visiting.
The churches are undoubtedly the most fascinating buildings in Lecce. If the Basilica of Santa Croce is the symbol of the city, the Church of Santa Maria della Provvidenza and the Church of Santa Maria di Costantinopoli are also notable.
It is also worth taking a look at the sixteenth-century Palazzo Adorno, and if you love gardens go to Villa Comunale.
In Lecce there is also an important Roman remains. It is an amphitheater built in the 2nd century AD where shows and games were held. It could accommodate around 20,000 people.
Otranto is the easternmost city in Italy. On clear days it is possible to glimpse the mountains of Albania beyond the sea, about 70 miles away.
The same crystal clear sea laps the ancient ramparts that still enclose the historic center of the city.
The center of Otranto is a labyrinth of narrow streets, white houses that seem to be built on top of each other and craft shops.
It is worth seeing the Aragonese Castle and the Cathedral of Otranto, built in 1088, whose beautiful mosaic floor recalls the oriental influence on this city.
Near Otranto is the small village of Porto Badisco, where the legend says that Aeneas landed. Here are some trattorias where you can taste typical food.
Then there is the Baia dei Turchi, which got its name because apparently is where the Turks landed to invade the area. The bay has fine white sand and blue water.
Noteworthy are some caves which preserve post-paleolithic finds and paintings. Grotta dei Cervi is the most popular.
While Bari, Lecce and Otranto are cities and also quite famous, Polignano a Mare is a small town that really deserves to be visited during your holiday in Puglia. There’re at least three reasons.
The first one is that it is the city of Domenico Modugno, the singer who made the Italian song Volare famous all over the world.
The second one is that the oldest part of this town stands on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Adriatic Sea. From which it is possible to enjoy an amazing panorama.
The third one are the countless coves where you can enjoy the sun and the crystal clear water of the sea.