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Puglia - Idyllic coastlines and traditional appeal

Nestled on the peninsula between the sapphire waters of the Adriatic and Ionian seas, Puglia forms the ‘heel’ of the Italian boot. This tranquil, undeveloped corner of Italy offers you the chance to step back in time and explore the true Mediterranean, with its miles of unspoilt sandy beaches and sheer, dramatic rocks and cliffs. You’ll find yourself absorbed by the rich history and culture of the region and the warm welcome you will receive from local people. Puglia is the perfect destination to experience a relatively undiscovered region of Italy, packed with culture, history and natural beauty.

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Cisternino

Tranquil Cisternino is a beautiful hilltop town surrounded by vast plains of beautiful olive groves. The picturesque town centre itself is full of historic buildings and closed off to all traffic, making it perfect for exploring. The town features a choice of bars and restaurants in which to spend a warm evening eating and chatting. Try out one of the town’s Osterias – traditional restaurants where you can sample the local speciality of delicious grilled steak – and then walk it off by joining the locals for the traditional evening stroll around the town.

  • 55mins fromBrindisi

Ceglie Messapica

The name of this historic hilltop town recalls some of the earliest inhabitants of Puglia, the Messapi. Settlers in prehistoric times, the name Messapi means “between two seas” and this is in fact one of Ceglie Messapica’s many charms. Situated right in the heart of the countryside, it is almost exactly equidistant from both the Adriatic and Ionian coasts. Therefore, as the locals delight in telling you, you can pick which ever coast has the best wind when you want to go to the beach. Ceglie Messapica has a picturesque historical centre, built in the white stone typical of this area. But it is perhaps most well known for its excellent gastronomic tradition. The Gambero Rosso Guide – Italy’s equivalent of the Michelin ratings, highly recommends the gourmet restaurant “Cibus” and there are several other superb restaurants, as well as a selection of rustic “Osterias” serving delicious home-cooked food at very reasonable prices.

  • 1hr 20mins fromBrindisi

Locorotondo

Locorotondo occupies a stunning position with amazing views over the Valle d’Itria, scattered with olive groves and Trulli houses. This traditional town is typical of the region, characterised by winding narrow streets and quaint buildings. Stay here and you may even be lucky enough to catch one of the colourful local festivals including the popular event in honour of the town’s patron saint, San Rocco, as well as a number of food festivals. Locorotondo is well-known in Puglia for its excellent wine making, with the fantastic Bianco Locorotondo produced in the area.

  • 1hr fromBari

Ostuni

Fortified with imposing white ramparts that enclose a maze of winding streets, captivating Ostuni is known as La Citta Bianca – the ‘White City’. Said to resemble a town in Greece more than the typical Italian style architecture, the city towers sit atop a hill overlooking the plains of the Valle d’Itria – boasting spectacular views towards the Adriatic Coast. You’ll love strolling around the picturesque streets of the town centre, perhaps stopping at one of the charming cafes or browsing the tiny artisan’s shops that spill out onto the cobbled alleyways. You will also find several excellent restaurants in Ostuni, offering the chance to taste delicious local cuisine.

  • 40mins fromBrindisi

Alberobello

Alberobello is one of the most visited towns in Italy and was granted Unesco World Heritage site status in 1966. The old part of town, Monti, is filled with hundreds of the typical Puglian Trulli - the conical stone houses that can be found scattered throughout the Puglian countryside. Many of the Trulli have been converted to gift shops and restaurants and in high season the town becomes a very popular attraction for day trippers. The newer, more modern part of the town, Aia Piccola, has also been granted protected status and more restaurants and shops can be found here with slightly less bustling crowds.

  • 1hr 10mins fromBari

Carovigno

The white cobbled streets and historic buildings of Carovigno nestle on a hill, below the majestic Norman castle at its summit. This traditional town is a maze of old streets and alleyways with rustic, picture-postcard scenes around every corner. Carovigno has a rich and varied history, having been ruled by many different people over the years including Romans, Bourbons and Byzantines, all of whom have left their mark on the town. The Adriatic coast is just a short drive from Carovigno, making it the perfect base from which to explore the many beautiful coves and beaches nearby.

  • 30mins fromBrindisi

Noci

Noci is a relatively undiscovered town in the picturesque Itria Valley area of central Puglia. Sitting on a hilltop, high above sea level, this quaint Puglian town has a small, historical centre, characterised by the typical white-washed roofs of local limestone, winding cobbled streets, pretty balconies and small courtyards, with the distinctive clock tower at the heart. Sample some traditional Pugliese and Italian delights, in the small but appetising selection of restaurants dotted around the town, with one restaurant even being mentioned in the Michelin guide.

  • 1hr fromBari

Your Puglia Villa holiday

Local cuisine in Puglia Image

Local cuisine in Puglia

The mouth-watering dishes of Puglia are produced from the wonderful and abundant local produce for which the region is renowned. From delicious red meats such as lamb, veal and rabbit, to seafood like mussels, prawns and clams, you are sure to find a local dish on the menu that takes your fancy. Eighty percent of Italy’s olive oil is also produced in the region and is known for its distinctive flavour and exceptional quality. Italians love to have a bottle of wine that complements their food, and in Puglia there is no shortage of excellent local wines that fit the bill.

Hints of history in Puglia Image

Hints of history in Puglia

Puglia boasts an extremely rich and diverse history having been ruled by many different peoples including the Romans, Byzantines, Normans and Bourbons. You will also notice architecture that has been heavily influenced by Greek and Arabic cultures, especially within the picturesque hilltop towns scattered all over the region. The most well-known symbols of Puglia are the historic and fascinating “Trulli” – traditional dry stone houses with conical roofs, sometimes decorated with mystic symbols, and largely concentrated around the UNESCO World Heritage town of Alberobello. Even some of our villas in the region are renovated Trulli houses, offering you a unique opportunity to experience living in one of these curious buildings.

On the beach in Puglia Image

On the beach in Puglia

Set between two seas and boasting more than 750 kilometres of coastline, Puglia is well known for having some of the most stunning beaches in Italy. The dramatic and undulating Adriatic coast has small sandy beaches and rocky coves, dramatic cliffs and sweeping dunes. The more popular beaches offer facilities such as beach bars, and there are also plenty of quieter beaches on which to simply sit back and relax. Cross the peninsula to the west side of Puglia, and you will find miles and miles of white sand that make up the Ionian coastline, perfect for packing a picnic and spending the day relaxing, often with just yourself for company.

Discover local charm in Puglia Image

Discover local charm in Puglia

The Puglian summer calendar is packed with a seemingly endless stream of fascinating and fun festivals and events from small village get-togethers to huge regional celebrations. Festivals in Puglia are very much a family affair with adults and children alike having loads of fun, often well into the early hours. You will be warmly welcomed to join in with the festivities. Popular events include open air concerts, opera and live music including anything from jazz to traditional Italian. Religious festivals are also well-attended including the festival of San Nicola held in Bari during May, and the many events dedicated to the patron saints of each village throughout the region.

Weather Guide

For the Puglia holiday season.

Average monthly temperature and rainfall for the Puglia holiday season

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Not to be missed...

  • The awe-inspiring Baroque architecture in Lecce, one of Italy’s most beautiful cities, is simply unmissable during your holiday to Puglia
  • Encounter the unique Trulli houses that dominate the skyline of beautiful Alberobello (and perhaps even stay in one!)
  • Pack a picnic and leave the car behind for a day to spend some time exploring Puglia’s gentle, rolling farmland and beautiful olive groves by bicycle.
  • For a superb day out for the whole family, visit the exciting rides and exotic animals at the famous Zoo Safari animal and theme park in Fasano
  • Discover an amazing array of bird and marine life amid the pristine coastline and countryside within the coastal nature reserve of Torre Guacato

Puglia reviews verified by reevooReevoo

Sights / Places to go
8.8
Night life
7.1
Overall rating
8.8
Scores 8.8 out of 10 based on 28 reviews
Reviews and scores from the last 12 months.
Views and opinions in these reviews are solely of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of James Villa Holidays (JVH). JVH provides no assurances regarding the accuracy of the information and cannot accept liability for complaints, loss or damage resulting from the article. It does not form part of the contract made when a holiday is booked with JVH and the information provided is not intended to be a rider or replacement to the booking conditions. Reference to the service or product of a third party, is not an endorsement or recommendation and JVH accepts no liability as a result of complaints, loss or damage arising from their use.
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