REGIONAL CAPITAL: Bari
PROVINCIAL CAPITALS: Brindisi, Lecce, Taranto, Foggia
OTHER INTERESTING PLACES : Promontorio del Gargano: Foresta Umbra and Monte Sant’Angelo; Vieste; Trani; Castel del Monte; the Trulli area: Alberobello, Locorotondo, Martina Franca, Grotte di Castellana; Otranto; Gallipoli; Santa Maria di Leuca; Tremiti Islands.
Puglia is bordered by two seas, the Adriatic to the east and the Ionian to the south. The ancient Greeks founded Magna Grecia, a string of settlements along the Ionian coast with its greatest city-state in Taranto. Apulia’s beauties are many and much varied: the Trulli area, the wonderful beaches of the Salentine Peninsula, the unspoiled Isole Tremiti etc.
PLACES TO SEE:
Near Foggia: the patchwork landscape of the broad Tavoliere Plain.
Promontorio del Gargano: here there are limestone mountains, ancient forests and beautiful beaches with popular beach resorts especially around Vieste and Peschici.
Foresta Umbra:one of the last remaining original forests in Italy with its ancient beeches and oaks.
Monte Sant’Angelo: for centuries this isolated mountain village has been the last stop on a gruelling pilgrimage: the object of devotion is the Santuario di San Michele Arcangelo, who is said to be appeared in a grotto.
Castel del Monte: this is one of Puglia’s most prominent landmarks, visibile for miles around. It is in the Murge, a long limestone plateau stretching west and south of Bari. It was built by Fredrick II in the mid-13th century.
Bari: Bari Vecchia:Basilica di San Nicola; the cathedral; the Sedile (medieval headquarters of Bari’s council of nobles);Colonna della Giustizia; Castello Svevo.
Trulli are circular, conical-roofed white houses built of stone. Their roofs, topped with pinnacles, are tiled with concentric rows of grey slate and then painted with astrological or religious symbols. Their origin is obscure but they date back more thsn a couple of centuries. The greatest concentration of Trulli is an and near Alberobello.
Grotte di Castellana:spectacular limestone caves, Italy’s longest natural subterranean network.
Lecce: here the style is so refined and particolar to the city that the Italians call it barocco leccese. Basilica di Santa Croce; Piazza del Duomo; remains of the Roman Amphitheatre; Colonna di Sant’Oronzo.
Otranto: the cathedral; the Aragonese Castle; Chiesa di San Pietro.
Taranto: Città Vecchia: Castello Aragonese,Via del Duomo, the ancient cathedral, Via Cariati’s fish markets, Museo Archeologico Nazionale.
Puglia is a food and wine lover’s paradise because of the high quality of the fresh produce ( fish, olive oil, grapes, tomatoes, pasta etc.). typical dishes are: agnello (lamb) and capretto (kid) roasted or grilled with aromatic herbs or in tomato sauce; cozze (mussels) that are prepared in a variety of ways, for example baked with rice and potatoes; orecchiette: small ear-shaped pasta often served with turnip tops (cime di rapa) or tomato sauce; other common types of pasta are cavatelli and capunti; don’t forget to taste the delicious cheeses such as burrata, stracciatella, mozzarella di bufala and cacioricotta; other typical food are fegatini e salsiccia( meat and sausage), dried tomatoes, aubergines in oil and friselle, the most famous speciality of Puglia. Try the Primitivo di Manduria and Salice Salentino among the wines.
In Barletta on the last sunday in July the Disfida re-enacts a duel between 13 Italian and \3 French knights in 1503 when the town was besieged by the French.
In Bari the Festa di San Nicola (city’s patron saint) is celebrated with a procession of citizens al dressed in Norman costume and then with a statue of the saint in pride of place;in the end a fleet of boats sets sail along the coast.
In Galatina, 18km south of Lecce, the Greek language and customs were sustained until the early 20th century. This is one of the few places where the ritual of Tarantulism-a frenzied dance meant to rid the body of the poison from a tarantula bite-is still practised. The pizzica folk dance evolved from it and now is performed in many little villages,especially near Lecce( Melpignano, Ruffano etc.)during the summer season.
In Taranto the Holy Week is celebrated with the Procession of the Addolorata and of the Mysteries,when statues representing the passion of Christ are carried around the town’s streets.
Apulia, Italy - map