The most beautiful villages of Puglia
Enchanting whitewashed enclaves, picturesque fishing villages that stretch out towards the sea and ancient hillside settlements surrounded by protective walls, the charming cities of Puglia deserve to let go in their mazes to fully enjoy the pure and relaxed beauty. The heel of the Italian boot shines with sparkling turquoise seas, green-silver olive groves and captivating white towns where life still revolves around the main square and the seasons. Hidden in the extreme south-eastern tip of the country, this is a region of simple charm, renowned above all for its abundance of agricultural and delicious rustic cuisine, but its landscapes dotted with extravagant trulli and the spectacular coast lapped by the Adriatic Sea, could truly hit Tuscany as a mecca of Italian tourism. From Lecce, rich in art, to the sparkling white towns of the Valle d’Itria, here are a list of the most beautiful villages of Puglia:
With its labyrinth of hilly pebbles flanked by charming trulli with conical roofs, the white town of Alberobello (picture on top), in the province of Bari, seems to have emerged from a children’s book of fairy tales. Created from local limestone, these ancient and unique UNESCO-protected structures are home to bars, boutiques, churches, museums and Bed and Breakfast, giving the city’s historic center an extravagant fairy-tale look. Needless to say, this typical Apulian town, with its harmonious architecture, enriched by small squares and panoramic views of the countryside, is just as picturesque outside the districts of Monti and Aia Piccola.
Polignano a Mare
Perched on the edge of a rocky gorge on the Adriatic coast of Puglia, Polignano a Mare is more beautiful than a postcard. This seaside resort embraces a small beach sheltered by two cliffs, and its historic center, a labyrinth of winding streets, sun-bleached buildings and ancient churches, reveals corners and views overlooking the sparkling blue sea. Thanks to its spectacular setting, surrounded by crystal clear waters and semi-submerged marine caves, Polignano a Mare is famous for the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, which takes place here every summer.
One of the most fascinating cities of southern Italy, Ostuni is a glittering white houses, churches and charming squares scattered on a hill surrounded by picturesque countryside and endless olive groves. The White City, as it is known locally, is home to a fascinating old town full of medieval architectural treasures and views of the Adriatic coast. And while the charm of the old world is what mainly attracts visitors to Ostuni, this town is no stranger to chic hotels, trendy cafes and excellent restaurants.
Hidden in the heel of Italy, in the province of Lecce, the picturesque seaside town of Otranto means different things for different travelers. Art and history lovers come here to admire the beautiful 12th century mosaic floors in the Romanesque cathedral; gourmets for the seafood restaurants that line the scenic walks along the seafront; while the romantic people choose Otranto to get lost in its historical center, typical of a postcard, crossed by narrow lanes paved with travertine. In the peak of summer, however, everyone fights for beach space along its beautiful 10 km long coastline, kissed by aquamarine waters.
Masterpieces of Baroque architecture stand next to delightfully crumbling balconies in Lecce, one of the most beautiful cities in Italy, not to mention Puglia. In the heart of the “Florence of the South”, as it is often nicknamed, there is a 2nd century Roman amphitheater buried in half and everywhere, elaborately decorated churches and palaces built of honey-colored local stone, all form a beautiful backdrop for the evening walk. Apart from the beauty, this baroque pearl in the Salento peninsula in Puglia is a pleasantly relaxed university town with a pleasant nightlife, trendy shops and countless restaurants serving traditional cuisine.
Although less known than Alberobello and Ostuni nearby, Monopoli is a delightful coastal town full of ancient churches and winding alleys, flanked by whitewashed facades. In addition to the charm of its tangled medieval old town, there is a beautiful cathedral, an old fishing port, and a series of fortified walls on the seafront. A bay of golden sand with crystal clear waters, make the beach of Monopoli, one of the most famous, along the Apulian coast.
The easternmost city of the Gargano peninsula, Vieste enjoys a stunning position on a promontory that juts out into the azure waters of the Adriatic Sea. The whitewashed limestone walls surround the city, and there is a wide sandy beach that extends on each side of its 25 meter limestone monolith, known as Pizzomunno. The beautiful coast of Vieste is flanked by sea caves and sunny inlets just waiting to be explored. Otherwise, the town has the typical historic core with cobblestone streets, colorful squares and whitewashed buildings with wrought-iron balconies full of flowers.
Trani, 40 km at north from Bari, stands out for its elegant cosmopolitan atmosphere and its marvelous pink-colored cathedral. Colorful fishing boats share space with sparkling white yachts standing in the well-equipped harbor, while medieval palaces decorate the elegant limestone streets of its elegant old town. The charming coastal town also features beautiful waterfront bars, restaurants and public gardens, as well as elegant boutiques and numerous outdoor festivals.
Ranked as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, Locorotondo is famous above all for its white and slightly sparkling wines. However, the humble hilltop town in the heart of the Valle d’Itria is a delightful place to visit, with its historic center with rounded shapes and quiet ivory streets and typical white houses decorated with vases of fuchsia geraniums and intricate work in iron. An equally enchanting view is the countryside surrounding Locorotondo, dotted with peaceful vineyards, olive groves and trulli houses.
One of the most beautiful cities in Puglia, Martina Franca in the province of Taranto is full of elegant baroque architecture and delightful trattorias specializing in exquisite salami. Surrounded by defensive stone walls and striking baroque and Renaissance doors, its historic center is a fascinating mix of narrow winding alleys and dazzling white houses combined with sunny open squares, centuries-old palaces and gorgeous ornate basilicas.