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Overview

Puglia (Apulia in English) occupies the heel of Italy’s boot, and control of its high coastal promontories meant control of the Adriatic and Ionian seas, as well as shipping lanes between the western and eastern Mediterranean. Small wonder that the land has been conquered in turn by Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Normans and Spanish. Enchanting reminders of these and other cultures, including Arabic, blend here today. The contrasts from town to town are surprising for a region that is only about 20 miles wide at any point. Lecce is filled with Baroque buildings, Martina Franca has a distinctly Moorish flavor, Taranto is unmistakably Greek, ...

Puglia (Apulia in English) occupies the heel of Italy’s boot, and control of its high coastal promontories meant control of the Adriatic and Ionian seas, as well as shipping lanes between the western and eastern Mediterranean. Small wonder that the land has been conquered in turn by Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Normans and Spanish. Enchanting reminders of these and other cultures, including Arabic, blend here today. The contrasts from town to town are surprising for a region that is only about 20 miles wide at any point. Lecce is filled with Baroque buildings, Martina Franca has a distinctly Moorish flavor, Taranto is unmistakably Greek, Ostuni is topped by a medieval German castle, and in Bari and Gioia del Colle are 13th-century Byzantine-Arab castles. Also in Bari are two outstanding churches of different styles and eras, the Norman Basilica of San Nicola (Saint Nicholas) and the Cathedral of San Sabino, built between 1035 and 1171 in the Byzantine style. Landscapes are just as varied, from the low interior to the Gargano Promontory, a headland capped by old-growth forests of mixed pine and hardwood. Perhaps the most iconic images of Puglia are the trulli, round white-washed buildings with thick walls that were reputedly constructed with roofs that could be disassembled quickly to appear abandoned at the news of approaching tax assessors. They recently became the hot “discovery” as vacation lodgings.

Stillman Rogers
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Stillman Rogers has written more than two dozen guidebooks, including Adventure Guide to Canada's Atlantic Provinces, Guide to Eastern Canada, and Adventure Guide to the Chesapeake.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Southeastern Italy, on the Adriatic, the heel of the boot
  • Language: Italian
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Apulia | Apulia
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Year-round. No place is far from the coast, where ocean breezes keep the temperatures pleasant even in the blazing summer sun.