Introduction to Puglia
Puglia, also known as Apulia, is a popular destination for tourists visiting Italy, particularly in the summer months. Steeped in Mediterranean history, bathed in sunshine, rich in culture and with its own uniquely delicious cuisine as well as some of the best wines Italy can offer, Puglia can provides visitors to the region with a truly memorable holiday. Puglia has two coastlines, and between them you will find a fascinating variety of landscapes, architecture and culture.
The Ionian Coast of Puglia
To the west, the Ionian coast is unrivaled. Starting from Taranto in the north, with its spectacular Aragonese castle, travelling past the stunning white-sand beaches of Porto Cesareo, to Gallipoli, where the old town stands on it’s own island, linked to the new town by a bridge, and then on to the lighthouse at Santa Maria di Leuca, which marks the southern tip of the region, the visitor is treated to an endless array of beautiful beaches, historic buildings and fascinating towns linked by roads lined with olive trees over two hundred years old.
The Adriatic Coast of Puglia
From the southern tip, the journey up the Adriatic coast is equally rewarding. The first stretch of coast leads to Otranto, a city with centuries of fascinating history. San Cataldo, a little further up the coast, is the favourite beach resort for the inhabitants of the nearby city of Lecce. On to Brindisi, another historic city which is the capital of the province of Brindisi, one of the main tourist areas of Puglia and home to one of the two airports that service the region. It is close to the marine nature reserve of Torre Gauceto. Further north, the visitor will pass the white city of Ostuni, Monopoli and the spectacular Polignano a Mare, before arriving at Bari, the capital of the region, and the location of the main airport in Puglia. To the north of Bari is Trani and the Gargano National Park.
In the centre of Puglia, lies the beautiful Itria Valley, with it’s uniquely fascinating towns, such as Alberobello, Cisternino, Locorotondo, Martina Franca and Ostuni.
History of Puglia
Puglia is an ancient, fertile land of startling contrasts. The region has been inhabited since prehistoric times and, over the centuries, has been occupied by the Greeks, Romans, Turks, Normans, Spanish and the French, as well as Napoleon Bonaparte!
Archaeological Treasures of Puglia
Canosa, just inland from Barletta, features ancient burial tombs and Greco-Roman ruins. Nearby, Canne della Battaglia Archaeological Park is the site of an epic battle between the Romans and Carthaginians during the Second Punic War in 216 BC. Lecce’s Roman Amphitheatre and Theatre were constructed between 27 BC and 14 AD and are located right in the heart of the city, in the central piazza Sant’Oronzo Square.
Puglia is a wonderful place for a holiday. This beautiful region has something for everyone: Clear blue sea, wall-to-wall sunshine, fascinating history, rich culture, delicious food and wine, as well as all the unmistakable charm of Italy.