5 Beautiful towns in Puglia
The beautiful region of Puglia sits on the heel of Italy’s boot and boasts an array of beautiful, unique towns full of traditional Italian charm. From winding streets and extensive architecture to smiling locals and indulgent delicacies, this area of Italy is not to be missed off the bucket list and has something for the whole family to enjoy. The only thing that can tempt you away from the luxurious coastline is the undeniable allure of the traditional Italian towns. We’ve listed a few of our favourite settlements below, but if we’ve missed any, feel free to let us know via our social media channels!
Commonly known as the gateway to Puglia thanks to its transport links, Bari is often overlooked. However, the narrow and cobbled streets of the old town provide an authentic taste of Italian lifestyle as families upon families take to the streets for socialising, games, food and drinks. In the mornings, women sit outside to create the typical Puglian pasta, known as orecchiette, or less formally as ‘little ears’. The town also boasts the Castello Svevo, a 12th-century castle which is certainly worth exploring. Escape the crowds with a trip to Bari and be sure to sample a taste of quintessentially Italian cuisine in this town, trying some ciambotta, a local fish-based stew.
A picturesque and unique destination, which has increased in popularity with both tour operators and individual travellers alike. The town is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as a result of its unusual districts of trulli; the white-washed conical-roofed houses that are so common within the area. Once you have finished admiring the trulli districts, you are able to explore a couple of museums that are open to the public throughout the day, or visit the more touristy quarters for a souvenir. Appreciate the diverse range of architecture on offer in this is town that is truly one of a kind, and don’t be afraid to explore further afield; authentic trulli houses that are inhabited exist in the less touristy areas of town.
A seaside town and port on the Adriatic coast of southern Italy, which is bursting with history, and has a lovely atmosphere to be enjoyed by visitors. The sparkly blue waters, sheer white buildings and jagged rocks make for truly spectacular pictures, the likes of which can often be found on maps, travel guides, books and postcards. The setting is perfect for your holiday snaps, and on a clear day you can see across the strait all the way to Albania. The town has suffered several invasions throughout its turbulent history, including the execution of 800 locals who refused to convert to Islam, when ordered to by the Turks in 1480. The remains of these martyrs can be found at the cathedral, but the town hosts lots more to explore, including beaches, a castle, churches and a plethora of winding lanes.
This stunning town in southern Italy is often described as the ‘Florence of the Baroque’ or the ‘Rome of the South’, but it is undeniably a spectacle within its own right. The town is surrounded by beautiful countryside, diverse sea shores and other, equally charming small towns in the area. The history of the town is extensive, ranging over hundreds of years; the remains of a Roman theatre and amphitheatre can still be seen even now. That said, a successful period in the 17th century led to magnificent developments in architecture, with buildings tending to adapt the fashionable Baroque style, to the soft local stone. The town offers plenty of opportunities to explore, including the focal points of the Piazza Sant’Oronzoa, a big civic in the heart of town and the Piazza del Duomo, are interpretations of the familiar Italian cathedral square.
This spectacular town is famed for its whitewashed houses and demonstrates a fine example of Mediterranean architecture. Hints of history can be found throughout an exploration of the narrow and winding cobbled streets, with a particular focus on what little remains of the Middle Ages. The views of the city alone should be enough to persuade you to visit, as a trip to the Archbishop’s palace, and highest point of the city, can demonstrate. Get lost in the maze of winding streets, little passages and flights of steps that all seem all too familiar, as you adopt a more Italian approach to getting lost and make the most of a new adventure. The town hosts The Cavalcata di Sant’Oronzo, which is a celebration of the town’s patron saint between the 24th and 27th of August each year and a knightly, costumed procession on horseback takes place in the middle of the festive period. Foodies flock to the town on the 15th of August, where visitors are given the opportunity to try some to the area’s most traditional dishes.
Whether you decide to visit just one, two, or all five of these fantastic towns in Puglia, we’re sure your Puglia villas holiday, won’t be forgotten any time soon. The beauty of the architecture combined with stunning surroundings and a rich historical context makes for an interesting visit that everyone can enjoy, regardless of individual preferences. Be open to try new things during your time in Puglia, tasting new cuisines and throwing yourself into the Italian culture wherever possible for a fantastic holiday for all!
Image credit: Alfonso Minervino