Puglia is such a wonderful region of Italy; far enough off the beaten track for it to feel like a real Italian adventure, but yet established enough for it to cater wonderfully for the tourists who do make it there. Located in the south of Italy, you’ll find beautiful weather for most of the year — and a fantastic coastline just begging for afternoon walks.
Go on a bike tour
Most of the major towns and cities across Italy offer bike tours, and Puglia is no different. Grab two wheels in Bari or Lecce and explore the streets you might not normally wander down, and head further out of the city to the neighbourhoods which you might otherwise overlook.
Admire the Tree of Life
In Otranto’s Norman cathedral, you’ll find the 800 year old ‘Tree of Life’ mosaic, embedded into the floor. A sprawling beauty, the design is arranged like a regular family tree — only perched on two elephants. Spread throughout the branches you’ll find an array of images depicting Biblical scenes, as well as mythological stories such as King Arthur and Norse Gods.
Go trulli hunting
Small stone huts with conical roofs, trullo are found along the Itria valley — but you’ll find the most in Alberobello (where they have been a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996). Characterised by their whitewashed stone walls, cone roofs and freestanding construction, many trullo have symbols painted on the roofs, usually with religious or astrological connotations. If you’re travelling with kids, they make a fun treasure map activity.
Explore the Castellana Caves
These spectacular caves have taken shape over the past 90 million years — and you can take a 3km guided tour through them to view the stalactites, stalagmites and fossils all contained within. They’re one of the most awe-inspiring natural wonders of Puglia — if not the whole of Italy. If you’re heading there in July/August, you’ll also find an astronomy observatory located in the same complex.
Taste locally produced olive oil
The region of Puglia produces more olive oil than any other, and accounts for around 40% of Italy’s total olive oil production. Many of the local olive oil farms open their doors to tourists, offering tours, tastings and lunches made from their homegrown olives.
Wander the Old Town of Polignano
Polignano is one of those picture-perfect towns you’ll have definitely seen cropping up on social media or travel guides. From whitewashed buildings to an incredibly picturesque harbour, it’s an area you’ll want to get lost in for half a day or so.
Go dolphin watching
Dolphin watching is a fantastic family-friendly experience, and from Taranto you can head out with a crew of scientific researchers as part of the Jonian Dolphin Conservation. You’ll get to experience what its like to be a marine researcher, and help the team monitor the dolphins and sea conditions as part of their incredible research programme.
Jo Mackay is Owner of Bookings For You. Bookings For You is a company offering apartment and villa rentals in Italy and France.
Article source: Aluxurytravelblog.com