(age at the date of return)

Puglia

Puglia is a region steeped in white-gold beaches, walled clifftop cities and swathes of ancient olive groves – and yet it’s largely untouched by tourism.

This sleepy region is the rising star of the Italian south. The south-eastern stripe of Italy is where you’ll find some of the best examples of southern baroque architecture. Gold-hued Lecce is nicknamed the Florence of the South. An ivory-white cathedral watches over the harbour in Trani. And Gallipoli pairs beach clubs with renowned seafood ristorantes (the local lobster is a must-try). Just don’t forget the town of Alberobello – a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a distinctive skyline of conical-roofed trulli.

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Polignano a Mare

The centre of this large region is characterised by the fertile Murgia plateau which forms a gently rolling landscape dotted with olive groves.

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City of Lecce

Salento is the name given to the southernmost peninsula of Puglia where the Itria Valley ends and is home to some pretty whitewashed towns such as Gallipoli and Ostuni.

Puglia is a fantastic region to explore by car, driving past the olive groves and hidden beach clubs before stopping for a bit to eat in a seaside restaurant. Here are our top places to visit while in Puglia:

Bari

This busy port town is steeped in history and full of culture. Gaze out at the sea and watch the fishermen bring in their catch, walk through the old town past artisan workshops and nonnas making orecchiette pasta, and enjoy lunch in an unfussy trattoria.

Locorotondo

This is one of Puglia’s prettiest towns, with whitewashed buildings clustered around little piazzas and streets that give way to panoramic views over the Valle d’Itria.

Polignano a Mare

Polignano a Mare is a lively seaside town built into the cliffside with superb sea views, some of the best gelaterias in Puglia and tucked-away coves that are perfect for sunbathing.

Castellana Caves

Take a guided tour through these impressive limestone caves. The journey spans three kilometres through extraordinary sights of stalactite and stalacmite formations.

Lecce

Known as the ‘Florence of the South’, Lecce is filled with stunning baroque architecture and over 2,000 years of history to explore.

Alberobello

A UNESCO-protected site, Alberobello’s unique landscape of trulli houses makes it a popular tourist attraction. This pretty town is a pleasure to wander around, ducking in and out of the conical-roofed buildings that have been turned into bars, cafés and shops.

Puglia is predominately an agricultural region, with its countryside of rolling hills producing wine, olive oil and durum wheat used to make pasta. The warm Mediterranean climate and miles of coastline mean you’ll find simple yet tasty cuisine everywhere you go. Must-try foods include orecchiette served with fresh vegetables, burrata (an incredibly soft type of mozzarella) and just-caught fish in towns like Otranto and Gallipoli.

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