Are you daring enough to take the road less traveled? Apulia, or Puglia in Italian, is a little-known region tucked in the southern part of the country. Most people recognize it as the “heel” of Italy’s boot, but on your luxury holiday in Apulia, you’ll soon discover that the region has so much more to offer.
An in-depth guide to making the most of your luxury holiday in Apulia
Puglia can be found on the Mediterranean side of Italy, with a coastline stretching across 19,000 square kilometers—longer than any other coast in the country.
Because of its geography, Apulia has a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild winters. If you want to relax on a warm and sunny beach, the best time to visit this region would be between June to October. But if you prefer cooler weather, January sees an average low of 7°C.
But, regardless of when you decide to visit, these are some of the activities you must experience in Apulia:
- Visit the historical sites
Puglia is one of the most archaeological regions in Italy. This is because it was once a settlement for the Mycenaean Greeks, a colony of the Muslim Saracens, and a part of the Kingdom of Naples.
Thanks to its rich and diverse history, Apulia boasts some of the oldest and most unique archaeological wonders. For instance, in Andria, you’ll find the Castel del Monte, a 13th-century castle that was once part of a citadel built by Emperor Frederick II. It is one of Italy’s many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, even appearing on the Italian one-cent coin.
You can never go wrong with visiting a museum if you want to learn more about a region’s history. In Puglia, you have several options: the Salvatore Faldetta Archaeological Museum, the National Archaeology Museum of Taranto, and Museo Archeo Egnazia. These museums are home to ancient artifacts dating back to the Bronze Age, rich reminders of Apulia’s past.
And for those who want to go further back, even before history, you can explore prehistoric sites like the Dolmen of Chianca and Montalbano. These stone structures are representations of the Neolithic period, built around 5000 years ago.
- Take a trip to Bari.
It’s only right to visit the capital when you’re in an unfamiliar land. Bari is Apulia’s capital city, and it’s also the second-largest economic center in southern Italy. Like most of Puglia, Bari has a rich history heavily influenced by Roman culture.
Take the Basilica of San Nicola, for instance. Built in the late 1100s, this Romanesque church is an incredibly important site of pilgrimage for Roman Catholics. The church of San Sabino is also a must-see, lying in the center of Bari’s old town.
What’s Bari Old Town, you may ask? This ancient town center is a historical relic in the middle of a modern city, known for its charming cobbled streets and ancient buildings. It’s the perfect getaway for anyone who needs a little peace and time away from the hustle and bustle of a city.
- Spend a relaxing day on the beach
Of course, visiting mainland Italy’s longest coastline would be a waste if you didn’t take a trip to the beach. And luckily, thanks to Apulia’s unique geography, beaches can be found whichever way you turn.
For instance, to the north of Puglia is the Gargano peninsula, featuring waters ranging from shallow green to deep blue. There’s a beach for almost any traveler, whether visiting Italy with your children or looking for a new adventure with your fellow thrill-seekers.
It’s no secret that Apulia is a top destination for visitors who want a taste of something new. In fact, the region isn’t just about once-in-a-lifetime experiences and unique historical wonders—it is also a great place to try authentic Italian cuisine.
During your stay, make sure to order a plate of Orecchiette con le Cime di Rapa, a classic Apulian dish made with fresh, ear-shaped pasta and turnip tops. You should also try Riso patate e cozze, prepared with a delectable combination of rice, potatoes, and mussels.
For dessert, you can have a bite of pasticciotto— small tarts filled with cream and black cherry. In addition, Cartellate is a popular option, typically served during Christmas and made with honey and crunchy dough.
But wait—there’s more. The highlight of your luxury holiday in Apulia is yet to come, in the form of something you never expected: wine. Apulian wine is often overlooked for its more popular cousins in Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna, but you won’t be disappointed.
Here are some of the wines you must try during your Apulian vacation:
- Nero di Troia
Nero is the Italian word for black, and the name couldn’t be more appropriate for this dark red wine. It has a deep, ruby-red color that suits its rich taste, often described as fruity with notes of vanilla, spices, and tobacco. Moreover, it has high but supple acidity that pairs wonderfully with beef ragu, barbeque dishes, and pasta with meat sauce.
- Moscato di Trani
Not a big fan of red wine? Don’t worry—Apulia has something for white wine lovers as well. Moscato di Trani is one of the best options in the region, popular for its natural sweetness and golden color. It’s a perfect dessert wine to cap your night off in style.
- Primitivo Rosato
What if you want the best of both red and white wine? Then, why not try some of Puglia’s rosé? Primitivo Rosato is a classic option, a fragrant wine made with 100% Primitivo grapes and ideal for dishes with fish and tomato.
Apulia is a fantastic region to visit if you’re looking for a place with warmth, comfort, and a unique charm. Plus, the best thing is that you can visit Puglia without stressing over the planning. A luxury tour operator will do the heavy work for you, from booking accommodations to hiring professional guides.
Additionally, experienced tour operators can also help you plan an efficient and easy-to-follow day-to-day itinerary. So book your luxury holiday in Apulia now with a certified provider!