Visiting Puglia is an experience that will allow you to discover fascinating places towns, villages beautiful, olive groves, historic farms e beaches heavenly.
This region indeed boasts 800 kilometers of coastline, 4 UNESCO sites and a millenary history that has its roots in theancient peasant and marine civilizations of this territory.
Inhabited since prehistoric times, as can be seen from the numerous dolmens and caves rich in archaeological finds, in the first millennium BC Puglia was the land of Japigi, a people coming from Illiriam divided into 3 tribes: Dauni (in the north), Peuceti and Massapi in the south who coexisted, not without conflicts, with the Greek inhabitants of colonial cities such as Taras, today's Taranto.
Subsequently Puglia became part of the Roman Empire and its history has gone on to intertwine with that of southern Italy, with Byzantine, Longobard, Saracen and Swabian dominations and influences.
Today Puglia is one of the most visited regions of Italy, thanks to its beaches, its architectural beauties and natural parks, such as that of the Gargano.
The Apulian cuisine is also appreciated, simple but full of flavour, where seafood dishes alternate with land dishes, with theextra virgin olive oil to act as a guiding thread.
Let's see what to visit in Puglia from the Gargano to Salento, passing through Puglia Imperiale, Bari and the Valle d'Itria.
Places to see in Puglia
Gargano and Capitanata, the northern part of Puglia
Il Gargano it's a mountainous promontory to the north of the region and ideally represents the "spur" of the "heel" of the "Italian boot". Very popular in summer for its long ones beaches and the coast rich in sea caves, the Gargano offers the most attentive visitors precious cultural and naturalistic sides. On the one hand we find i seafaring villages di Vieste, Peschici e Rhodes Garganico, on the other side of the perched villages formerly dedicated to the transformation of raw materials from the hilly pastures and the table of Puglia, the second largest plain in Italy. In the center is the Umbra Forest which with its beech woods has become a UNESCO heritage site, as well as the Sanctuary of San Michele in Monte Sant'Angelo, a splendid medieval town, a destination for pilgrims like the nearby one San Giovanni Rotondo, the city of Padre Pio. Not far from the coasts of the Gargano there is the small archipelago of Tremiti Islands, a protected marine reserve.
The Dauni mountains with their characteristic fortified villages mark the border of Puglia with Campania and Molise. Very interesting are the traditions and religious festivals, such as the Festa del Soccorso in San Severo and the Dauno carnival in Manfredonia.
This part of Puglia is so named for the traces left by the Emperor Frederick II, starting with Castel del Monte, one of the symbols of the region, UNESCO site.
In addition to the Castle, on an isolated hill, the village of Trani, with the Swabian Castle and the Cathedral on the sea, Barletta with its colossus and its castle, Canosa with its archaeological finds and Margherita di Savoia, where a surreal landscape awaits you crossing thin strips of land surrounded by water, sea and salt marshes.
Bari, the Murge, the cathedrals and the Valle d'Itria
The central part of Puglia is very rich in points of interest, starting from the big ones Romanesque cathedrals such as those of Bitonto, Altamura and obviously the basilica of San Nicola in the heart of old Bari, up to the white agricultural villages of the Valle d'Itria such as Ostuni, Locorotondo, Martina Franca and Cisternino, passing through the beautiful seaside villages such as Monopoly and Polignano a Mare.
Among the main destinations are the Unesco site Alberobello, which owes its notoriety above all to the ancient rural buildings called trulli.
In addition to the center of Alberobello, the trulli are present in all the countryside of the Itria valley, which with olive groves, the typical dry stone walls and white perched villages offer us spectacular landscapes unique landscapes.
Other attractions are the Fasano safari zoo with the annexed Fasanolandia amusement park and the Castellana caves, a spectacular complex of underground cavities of karstic originrock architecture of Gravina and nearby Matera (in Basilicata) as well as obviously the Mediterranean landscapes of Polignano a Mare, Monopoli and Giovinazzo.
Salento, the southern end of Puglia
Lu sule, lu mare, lu ientu… but not only:
A baroque city called the Florence of the South, a spectacular coast full of beaches, ancient farmhouses hidden among olive groves: the southernmost part of Puglia has so much to offer.
Among the most visited places are the Beach resorts of Ugento, Otranto, Gallipoli, Santa Maria di Leuca and Pescoluse, with beautiful beaches and charming historic centres.
Among the cities it certainly stands out Lecce, with Piazza del Duomo, full of Baroque buildings and Piazza Sant'Oronzo, where there is still an amphitheater from the Roman era.
In the hinterland a typical rural landscape awaits you, with olive groves, vineyards and beautiful farms.
As we have seen, Puglia is a truly fascinating region, rich in natural beauty, history and culture. Don't forget to also explore the small towns and villages of Puglia, where you can taste the real local cuisine and learn about the history and culture of this extraordinary land. Whether you prefer the beaches or excursions in nature, the tranquility of a farmhouse among the olive trees or a night walk through the narrow alleys of a village teeming with life, Puglia is ready to be discovered.