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The Best of Puglia

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If Italy is a boot, then Puglia is its sun-kissed heel. 
With its beautiful architecture, unspoilt landscapes dotted with olive and lemon trees, green vineyards and beaches on both its Adriatic and Ionian sides, Puglia is one of the most beautiful regions in Italy. 

From north to south there is so much to visit and experience.

Matera, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a spectacular city carved out of rock. It is actually located in the nearby region of Basilicata but this spectacular, historical, almost biblical city called “i Sassi” is definitely worth a visit. Stay in one of its cave hotels, take a tour and learn the history of one of the oldest, still inhabited cities in the world.

One of the most famous spots in Puglia is Polignano a Mare, a coastal town known for its stunning cliffs. You can get lost in the streets and admire the breathtaking views from various vantage points. Delight your palate with the delicacies of the local cuisine at Antiche Mura Restaurant in the heart of Polignano a Mare. If you prefer to grab a quick lunch or snack, don’t miss the typical Apulian panzerotti at La Rotellina which are amazing 

Visit la Valle d’Itria and its famous “trulli” dwellings in towns like Alberobello, Locorotondo, Fasano and Martina Franca. All these towns are within ~20min from each other so you can easily check these off in a single day.

Alberobello, is the symbolic town of Pugliese trulli architecture which is characterized by small dry-stone buildings with conical roofs. For the most authentic and homemade flavors of Puglia, book a table at Gianvito Amatulli's Trattoria "Casa Amatulli". Locorotondo and Martina Franca are less touristic than Alberobello so take a wander through their beautiful little streets and enjoy a meal at Ristorante Garibaldi in Martina Franca.

A visit to Ostuni which shines like a pearly white diadem, spreading over three hills with the magnificent gem of the cathedral as its glittering centerpiece, never disappoints. We highly recommend visiting Ostuni in the late afternoon and staying for dinner as the center of town really comes alive at night. Enjoy a nice dinner at l'Osteria del Tempo Perso, a historic restaurant located in the pulsing heart of the town. And then have gelato and stroll around.

 

In southern Puglia, known as the “Salento” region, you can explore three fascinating coastal towns: Discover Gallipoli, a city divided between a modern center on the mainland and a historic center on an island in the Ionian Sea. Santa Maria di Leuca, with its sheer cliffs, where you can rent a boat at a local marina and explore its many caves. And don’t miss Otranto which is surrounded by walls and filled with hidden glimpses of flower-filled balconies, courtyards and elegant palaces.

Restaurants in southern Puglia worth reserving ahead of time: 

L’Acchiatura in Racale

Masseria Le Stanzie in Supersano

Il Tempo Nuovo a Michelin star restaurant in the beautiful Castello di Ugento in Ugento.

 

Less than 50 km north of Otranto is Lecce, the capital of the province and the cultural center of the Salento. Lecce, in our opinion, is one of the most underrated cities in all of Italy. Known as "the Florence of the South", its ancient Messapian origins and the archaeological remains of Roman rule are mixed with the richness and exuberance of the typically 17th-century Baroque period and the city center is filled with ornate churches and palaces.

For great aperitifs we suggest the Mamma Elvira wine bar and for local dishes, a five minute walk away is La Cucina di Mamma Elvira. For unforgettable dining experience on a beautiful rooftop, we recommend the restaurant Atenze and another favorite is L’Arzilla Furcina.

 

In the Maruggio area, doors open to some of the greatest beaches in Puglia. Hang out, swim and relax at wonderful beach clubs such as Tayga Beach in Maruggio and Samanà Beach at Punta Prosciutto.

And for those interested in some great dining options in nearby Manduria, we recommend the following restaurants: Gusto Primitivo, All'Hostaria, Color Vinaccia and Masseria del Sale.

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