Forget about the crystal-clear waters and scorching sun of summer, Puglia is said to be best explored in winter. The streets are empty of tourists, prices are lower and the food is to die for. The colder weather also provides you with a chance to explore the area’s inland charms. Book one of our villas in Puglia to see why the region is a winner in winter.
The off-season runs all the way up to April so you can journey there in winter or early spring and enjoy a relaxing holiday without any of the hustle and bustle of the summer months. But don’t worry; you will still be astounded by the beauty of the place and friendliness of the locals. Still need a little more convincing? Have a look below at why Puglia is great for visiting in the off-season.
Puglia’s star attraction is the food, and in winter the food is said to be better. Famous for its seafood due to the long stretch of coastline, it is during winter that the fish is fresher. Pasta is also a firm favourite with the locals, and it is the heel of Italy where the pasta dishes are the best, stuffed full of tomatoes, courgette, olive oil and beans, the rich flavours are make for a remarkable eating experience. Traditional dishes can be found at every eatery and much of the food produced in Puglia is prized all over the country. Try bread from Altamura which is baked in wooden ovens to a recipe that has not changed since the Middle Ages.
Along with the wine and food, Puglia is also home to a wealth of architectural gems. The region was a place where pilgrims stopped as they made their way to the Holy Land and as such, there are a series of Romanesque churches, some of which date back to the 11th century. Various towns and cities like Bari, Troia, Trani, Molfetta and Manfredonia contain one or more churches that have a unique style, combining elements from Western and Eastern architectural traditions. You should also take the time to visit Lecce to experience its fanciful Baroque architecture.
Another architectural highlight you are sure to see is Puglia’s trulli. These small beehive-live stone dwellings make the landscape look like it has been scattered with upturned ice-cream cones. The town of Alberobello has 1,400 trulli in its maze of narrow streets. The ancient settlement is so well preserved it has been given UNESCO World Heritage status.
While in the summer, the beaches are covered with lounge chairs, in the winter months the beaches are deserted, and the colder weather keeps you from enjoying them as much. It is better to turn around and head inland to explore the mountains. Journey along the mountain roads, navigating the hairpin bends and exploring the beautiful woods and forests of Gargano National Park. On frosty mornings in the winter, this area feels like something out of a fairy-tale.
It is not just the scenery and food that should draw you to Puglia during the winter months, as the many local events are also experiences you don’t want to miss:
Until January 20, the town of Novoli in Puglia is painted red and a huge bonfire, measuring 20 metres wide is lit on January 16 in celebration of St Anthony the Abbot. It is one of the regions’ most popular winter events attracting tens of thousands of people, filled with folklore and religiosity and provides attendees with a marvellous atmosphere of music, art and entertainment.
Carnival of Putignano
If you are heading to our luxury villas in February, don’t miss out on the Carnival of Putignano held from 12th February to the 28th February. One of the oldest and longest-lasting carnivals in Europe, with 2017 being the 623rd edition. A folk festival of carnival characters and masked groups, with floats and giant papier-mâché works of art providing laughter and entertainment. The whole event is a great opportunity to experience the hospitality of the locals and the centuries-old traditions of beautiful Puglia.
Image by: Ra Boe