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5 minutes guide to Puglia

Puglia, a captivating region in southern Italy, has entranced travellers for centuries. With its stunning coastline, charming towns, and rich cultural heritage, Puglia offers a unique blend of history, natural beauty, and authentic experiences. Step into the mesmerising allure of Puglia, where the warm caress of the sun and the rich history create an enchanting ambiance enriched by the presence of many luxury villa to rent from where to start exploring.

Puglia boasts a rich history shaped by ancient civilizations, including the Greeks, Romans, Normans, and Byzantines. After the fall of the Roman Empire, it became an independent duchy until 1130 when its duke ascended to the throne of Sicily, later becoming part of the Kingdom of Naples. Influenced by the Crown of Aragon and the Spanish Empire until 1714, Puglia's coastal regions have witnessed occupations by the Ottoman Turks and Venetians, each leaving an enduring imprint on its captivating landscape. Today, Puglia reflects a unique cultural blend in architecture and gastronomy, infused with Arabic and Eastern Mediterranean influences from its past under Muslim Saracens and the Islamic Emirate of Bari.

Base yourself in one of our luxury villas and hotels in the region, then begin your exploration in Bari, the regional capital. Wander through the charming streets of Bari Vecchia, exploring the revered Basilica of Saint Nicholas, a pilgrimage site with the saint's relics. Immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture at the bustling markets, indulging in Apulian delicacies. Continue southward, passing castles built by the brilliant polymath and Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, known as 'Stupor Mundi' (the wonder of the world). Renowned for his medieval Renaissance pursuits, he was a patron of science and the arts, outlawing trial by ordeal and promoting tolerance among Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Don't miss the medieval marvel, Castel del Monte, known as 'the Crown of Apulia.'

Head south along the Adriatic coast to the picturesque UNESCO town of Alberobello, renowned for its unique trulli houses: traditional limestone dwellings with conical roofs, creating a fairy-tale like ambiance. Nearby is the beautiful city of Lecce, “the Florence of the South”. Marvel at the exquisite architecture, ornate facades, intricate sculptures, and elegant palaces of the city. Travellers will be hard-pressed to miss the stunning Basilica di Santa Croce, a masterpiece of Baroque art or the beautiful Piazza del Duomo. No visit is complete without exploring Apulia’s stunning natural wonders, such as the Gargano Peninsula, a natural paradise of dramatic cliffs, pristine beaches and hidden coves and overlooked by the charming seaside town of Vieste, with its whitewashed houses. Gargano National Park is a haven for nature lovers, with ancient caves, lush forests, and breath-taking coastal views.

Finally, conclude your Apulian adventure by venturing inland to the town of Matera, in the neughbouring region of Basilicata. Explore the fascinating rock-hewn churches, labyrinthine streets, and otherworldly landscape of this ancient city of cave dwellings. Travellers are enjoined to indulge in Apulian cuisine, famed for its orecchiette pasta, fresh seafood and burrata cheese.

Further Reading


Italian Culinary Symphony

Essenza's guide to gastronomic adventures and dining etiquette


Florence's "Wine Windows"

A Whimsical Tale of Tuscany's Vinous Legacy


5 minutes guide to Sicily

Sicily is a captivating island nestled in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea offering a magnificent historical heritage, diverse blend of cultures and breath-taking landscapes.