Puglia is located in the south east of Italy, approximately 500 km from Rome, and is the region that forms the heel of Italy's boot. For years it was mainly an agricultural area, but it is now developing as a tourist destination as international and internal Italian flights are making more use of the three airports of the region (Bari, Brindisi and Foggia) and the international cruise market continues to boom. Puglia is known as the "bread basket" of Italy because most of the country's pasta is produced from the wheatfields of the region. It also has a large sun dried tomato harvest, excellent olive oil and wines that are becoming better known worldwide. Puglias coastal waters provide much of Italy's fish, and nearly every town hosts a weekly food market so any vacation in the region is sure to be a food lover's delight.
In addition to the many Roman remains, Medieval towns and Baroque churches, there are two UNESCO heritage sites in Puglia; the closest and most famous being Alberobello (35km from Ostuni) which has the largest concentration of Trulli houses. Trullo are rough circular buildings built from rocks using a method similar to dry stone walling. The walls are very thick and insulate the house in the winter months, but remain cool in the summer months. The roofs are conical in shape and are usually whitewashed; many have ancient symbols painted onto them which are believed to bring good fortune
The second UNESCO site is Castel del Monte built by Frederick II who built many castles in the Puglia region but none as unique as this one (90km from Ostuni). The entire structure is octagonal, there are eight towers and eight rooms on each floor and the internal courtyard is also an octagon.
Puglias best beach is the nature reserve of Torre Guaceto - because of its nature reserve status, there is no development or commercialisation leaving it as pristine as possible. Just 20km from Ostuni you can enjoy kite surfing (lessons available), snorkelling and bike riding as well as various outdoor theatre events during the summer and organised star-gazing evenings.
The striking cave formations of the Castellana Grotte are 50km away from Ostuni and are Italys most visited show caves with a quarter of a million visitors yearly. 70m deep and explored as far as 700 metres in length, they are definitely worth a detour to visit. Different levels of tours are available according to time and capability.
Where to stay in Puglia:
To Tuscany has on its website one property in Puglia with others in the pipeline that will appear over the winter months.
Paradiso is a typical villa of the area and is made up of 3 trullo houses now joined together. There is one double bedroom with the opportunity to sleep a further 2 people on the double sofabed in the lounge area. As well as a seating area directly outside the villa, you have access to the rooftop terrace with its magnificent view across to the coast just 6km away. This pretty villa is located in the Ostuni area of Puglia with excellent access to the major places of interest in the area.
Prices start from 125 Euros per person per week, and high season (school holiday) dates at the villa are just 200 Euros per person per week (based on 4 people sharing at 2009 prices).
For details of and to book this beautiful villa, click here.