Holiday guide to Puglia, southern Italy: the best towns, restaurants and hotels

Beyond Puglia’s crowded hotspots, there are nature reserves, dramatic caves, medieval quarters and several hundred miles of coastline to enjoy, not to mention the region’s star attraction: fantastic food

Poor Puglia. For centuries rampaging armies used this heel of Italy as a convenient motorway en route to richer pickings further afield. Nowadays, tourists treat a large part of the region in much the same way – barely touching the ground at Brindisi or Bari before speeding south to newly trendy Salento, Puglia’s far southern tip (which we’ve covered in a separate guide).

What they’re missing as they charge pell-mell for Lecce, Gallipoli et al is a profusion of medieval hilltop towns, olive groves, a coastline peppered with interesting towns, more olive groves, restaurant menus stuffed with local speciality dishes, two national parks, vineyards, yet more olive groves, and enough castelli, cattedrali and palazzi to keep even the most demanding of history buffs content. Oh, and Europe’s largest colony of pink flamingos.

Continue reading…