Holidays in the heel
A fabulous summer in Puglia
Puglia, a region of Italy located at the arch of the boot, is fascinating for a mix of nature and people, modern and ancient. The trulli, conical prehistoric structures often located on vast, rocky lands with centuries-old olive trees look like they have been there forever, and many of them have.
It's certainly an experience to stay in a restored trullo in the famed 'valle d'Itria', an area dotted on one hand with these structures, on the other with small towns that offer modern conveniences.
In the Summertime, Puglia is a great beach destination, offering crystalline seas that provide respite from the torrid weather. Between beaches, or in the evenings when the air cools down and dinners are eaten late, you can visit towns like Martina Franca, Alberobello or Polignano al Mare
Polignano al Mare is actually a beach town, but if you're not staying here, it's worth a visit for its spectacular cliffs that plunge down into the turquoise sea. A pebble beach right in town offers direct access to this water, but local kids jump off the cliffs. Walk around the historic center of the city and you'll keep finding surprising terraces giving on to the water, cooled by the sea breeze.
Martina Franca is a popular destination for the evening passeggiata or stroll before dinner, usually around 8 or 9pm, before heading to one of the town's many excellent restaurants (you'll eat good fish or grilled meat here). The town itself is nicely maintained with white stone pavements and colourful buildings, many of which are from the Baroque period, when this town was very wealthy.
Don't miss the Ducal Palace on the town's main square, which was designed by none other than Bernini himself.
Alberobello is perhaps the best known destination in Puglia: a UNESCO heritage town made up entirely of trulli. As local tourism has been centered here for some time, there is an unfortunate abundance of shops selling souvenirs, and too many signs around that detract from the essential architecture and its silhouette against the cerulean blue sky. Nonetheless, it's a unique town that's unquestionably worth a visit.
If you're planning a trip to Puglia at any time of the year, this one week itinerary in Puglia will help you decide where to go, including suggestions about what and where to eat!
Our Insider is Alexandra Korey
Alexandra Korey lives in Florence has been writing the blog http://www.arttrav.com/ArtTrav about culture and travel in Italy and Europe since 2004.
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Hotels in the area
Savelletri di Fasano
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Savelletri di Fasano
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