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Reasons to visit Puglia

Puglia, otherwise known as Apulia, is the south-eastern corner of Italy, including the peninsula that forms the heel of Italy’s “boot”. Long and slender with an extensive coastline, it’s hardly surprising that life, culture and tourism all centre around the sea.

Unlike other parts of Italy, Puglia doesn’t offer many great Roman structures or fabulous Renaissance architecture. Instead it is a simple country area with a slow pace of life and a warm comfortable climate. History is by no means lacking though as the Greeks, Phoenicians, Romans and Byzantines have all come here and made their mark. Before them, Stone Age and Bronze Age people left archaeological remains to keep every budding archaeologist excited.

Puglia has everything that a tourist might want: the flat lands are perfect for biking or walking, the warm, dry climate makes the season a long one, and the miles of Adriatic and Ionian coastline are a haven for swimmers and holiday makers. For visitors looking for inland scenery, the Gargano peninsula and the Foresta Umbra are a must. For visitors who want to stroll through quaint narrow streets, well, they’re almost everywhere, but it’s worth mentioning the circular dwellings called trulli that are found in the town of Alberobello.

With such a long coastline, it’s hardly surprising that seafood is good and plentiful and features highly in the Apulian cuisine. For the best and freshest of fish dishes, find a family-run village restaurant where the owners catch their own fish on the traditional trabucchi. Puglia is also sheep country so you’ll find fantastic sheep cheeses. Then there are the fruits and vegetables: tomatoes, artichokes, fava beans, rocket, courgettes, beans, fennel, peppers, onions, and table grapes are all produced in abundance here. Citrus fruits feature too, and oranges can show up on your plate in unexpected ways, as in a salad that consists of anchovies, olive oil, pepper and orange slices. Finally of course, this is the Mediterranean so there are the distinctively local varieties if wine and olive oil.

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