This week I’d like to give you all some background information about our “Dreaming of Puglia” series.
Out of the five weeks that we will be travelling around the world in June-July, we’ve decided to stay in the Italian region of Puglia for a whole ten days. Why are we dreaming of Puglia, you might ask, and not of the more famous Tuscany, Umbria, Sicily or any other of the 20 fantastic regions that make up this unique, stunning country? Well, there are a couple of reasons…
One side of my family comes from Puglia. Along with many of their contemporaries in southern Italy, after the Second World War they were forced to move to the North to chase work, which at the time was plentiful in the factories of the big cities in Piedmont and Lombardy but virtually non-existent where they lived. They settled in Turin, where the FIAT car factory was expanding and making lots and lots of cars (think FIAT 500, first edition) during the economic boom of those years.
This is where I grew up and where I spent time with my grandparents. While living in Turin, they told me a bit about Puglia, the things they did there, the food they ate and about some of their relatives, but I wasn’t very interested at the time. It didn’t help that the animosity between Northerners and Southerners was still very strong and that all ‘meridionali’, the Italian term for Southerners, were viewed with suspicion and contempt.
Growing up in such an intolerant climate I didn’t want to focus too much on the part of my family that came from that area. Not that I didn’t like my grandparents. I loved both dearly and I enjoyed very much going to their place to meet them and play cards or watch TV. I just chose not to delve into the provenance of half my genes. When I look back at those years, I wish that I had asked so many questions and get to learn heaps more than what I did.
With these thoughts in my mind, I’m still quite ashamed that I’ve never visited the birth region of my grandparents. Things will change soon though, and I feel better already. I feel like I will be re-discovering where I am from, why I am who I am. It’s a bit like getting your DNA tested, I suppose, just more fun.
It is THE Upcoming Destination
The second reason, which I hope will have a bearing on all of you, is that Puglia is an amazing region and fully deserves a place on its own in the absolutely-must-visit destinations of Italy. It calls for exploration and to be enjoyed at a relaxed pace, taking in all the stunning scenery, its miles and miles of unspoiled beaches, its culture and its jovial and generous people. So far, it’s not been overly discovered by hordes of tourists yet, but Italians have been holidaying in Puglia for a very long time.
And no wonder: how could you not like a beach like the one at Polignano a Mare? Or the sea view at Baia dei Turchi, near Otranto? Have you ever heard of Gargano? You will, soon enough, when it becomes a world destination, because it’s simply idyllic!
Or what about the Grotta della Poesia, a natural pool that has been classified among the 10 best natural pools in the world?
Do you want to see pink flamingos? You can do that too, in Puglia. Just head to Saline dei Monaci in the province of Taranto and you’ll be among these colourful birds.
Are you a history buff? Puglia will be your dream then! With numerous diverse people inhabiting the area throughout the ages, Puglia is a treasure trove of artifacts, ruins, castles, abbeys, cathedrals, ancient Roman roads, and much, much more.
Perhaps you consider yourself a foodie. Well, here words escape me really: may I entertain your fancy with seafood, pasta, sweets, wine and cheese galore for you to taste and indulge in? The coffee that will make you stop and realise you’ve never had a real coffee before? What about a sumptuous multi-flavoured gelato? Yeah, I thought you’d like that.
So, there you have it. That’s why we’ve started the Dreaming of Puglia series and why we have decided to spend ten days discovering this unique region.
Below you will find some useful links to accommodation and things to do in the towns of Puglia that we will visit. You will notice that many activities revolve around food and drinks as this is the Italian way of life. Happy to oblige, if you ask me.
I hope that you have enjoyed this post and that you too, will soon be dreaming of Puglia!!
Stay at a luxurious apartment with wellness centre!
Spend less but still in the historic town centre
Lecce Things to do
Stay inside one of the Trulli!!
Alberobello Things to do
Learn to make Orecchiette, the typical Pugliese pasta
Or what about a vineyard tour and wine tasting in a trullo for mum and dad?
Stay at this B&B, simple, but clean and in a great position
Something fancy in the middle of the city
Bari Things to do
Visit the caves of Polignano a Mare by boat
Buy, eat and cook like a Barese
Unforgettable views at this accommodation
A bit of luxury with nearby beach
Vieste Things to do
Trekking to an old farmhouse while tasting cheese and wine
Wine tasting with a young and passionate sommellier
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