Since we discovered the South of Italy, we fell in love with this county, its typical pasta dishes, beautiful baroque cities and poetic white villages. Everywhere you look you will see olive trees and vineyards which produces the most elegant and tasteful wines. Let us take you on our trip to Puglia in the heel of the Booth of Italy.
We decided to travel to Puglia as our first contact with Italy to discover the real Italy. As beautiful the North may be, we wanted a more authentic experience and discover Italy in its most real form possible. To do this we had to avoid the major cities so we searched for an area that was not too touristic and still has some interesting sights. We booked our flight and three local accommodations on Air BNB and off we went. Puglia didn’t disappoint us at all and we fell in love with the Italians and their amazing food.
Puglia or Apulia, in the South of Italy, is part of the gardens of Italy because of all the olive trees which produce a sweet and lemony olive oil (really tasty). It produces 40% of Italy’s Olive oil and it is one of the best quality oils you can get around the Mediterranian. You will see Olive trees everywhere you look especially when you drive through the county side.
It is also one of the hottest and driest regions of Italy and in the summertime, the temperature can rise up to 40 degrees. Luckily the coast is always nearby and will give you a cool windy breeze from the sea. Because of the location between the Ionic and the Adriatic Sea, there are two different wind currents which can have a bit of a strange effect on the weather. It can happen you are enjoying a drink in your bathing suit along the Ionic Sea whilst around the Adriatic sea, you will need a sweater.
Puglia is also great for archaeological building and sightseeing. Picturesque cities, old castles and many archaeological sites are a reminder of the colonization of the old greeks and the many other nations because of the strategic location. One even more elegant than the other. Lecce is one of the biggest cities of Puglia, built in baroque architecture and has over 40 churches. It is also known as Florance of the South. Also, a must-see is the impressive town of Matera and the Sassi (cave houses) which are UNESCO world heritage. The Trulli houses are typical for the area and you can even spend a night in one of these pretty stone huts with a pointy roof. The city of Alberobello is famous for the Trulli’s and it one of the touristic sights of Puglia.
The South of Italy is not as touristic as the more well-known North where you will find the cities Rome and Milan. It is not the most obvious area to visit when in Italy, but it is definitely worth it. The area has traditionally more poverty than the North of Italy and that is why the ‘Cucina Povera’ the ‘Poor peoples food’ still is a big tradition. Many say that these dishes are the origin of the Italian kitchen, and it is based on the rule to waste as little food as possible. There were little ingredients available and that is why they have to use the available resources the best they could. We enjoyed every dish we had. The fresh Buratta which is a creamy and milky mozzarella that is not fully cured tasted heavenly. We still dream about the fresh handmade pasta by the nonna we had in Ostuni and the tastiest and biggest pizzas in Otranto.
Maybe you are familiar with the South of Italy for another reason and that is the Italian Mafia or the Camorra as the series is quite popular on Netflix. It may still be true, but as a tourist you hardly notice anything. This part of Italy, unfortunately, has the name to be unsafe and unfriendly but that is not what we experienced. Our trip started in the most annoying way (by our own mistake) and ended up to be the most fantastic journey through the south of Italy. The scenery could definitely be used in a film set as you wander through the little streets where the pasta is made freshly and dried outside on the streets. It feels like the Italy of the old days and it gives it a special charm.
These upcoming weeks we will blog about our trip and show you this beautiful part of Italy to inspire you. We started our trip in the city of Bari. Most people will only use the airport of Bari as this is the second largest airport in the South of Italy, but it is much more. We stayed for four days and discovered the flourishing coastal city which has many hidden treasures. We continued our travelling to Ostuni also known as the white citadel, where we stayed in a sweet little white apartment and experienced a local tradition. The last days of our trip we travelled all the way to the point of the heel on the east coast to picturesque Otranto to enjoy the beach and the beautiful turquoise water with some historical features.
We hope you enjoyed reading. Maybe you noticed that we were a little inconsistent with our blogs and social media these last weeks. It is sometimes a real challenge to keep track of everything. We had to conclude that blogging twice a week is a little too challenging for us right now. We are still exploring and learning our way into blogging and need a little time to create a flow where we can put in the love and effort that we think it deserves. Blogging is all about the fun and therefore we decided to change the schedule to a blog every Sunday.
Till our next blog about Bari.
Lots of love Angelique and Carlo.