[Calabria and Basilicata (including Matera) now have their own pages!]

Also known in English as "Apulia," Puglia forms the "heel" of Italy's boot, and is known for its wild landscape, the Castel del Monte (a 13th Century octagonal fortress that appears on Italian 1-euro-cent coins), interesting trulli houses in Alberobello, and the town of Lecce (the "Florence of the South" due to its splendid Baroque architecture).  Bari and Brindisi are also frequent departure points for Greece and other Eastern Mediterranean destinations.

Puglia features pristine beaches, including the most amazing at the "tip of the heel" in Santa Maria di Leuca.  The region produces some of the best olive oil in Italy, and does excellent things with seafood.  Consider staying at a masseria, a fortified country farmhouse (similar to an agriturismo; see this Frommer's article on masserie).  Also try out the excellent wines such as Primitivo di Manduria, the region's flagship red wine,  Nero di Troia, a rich red wine, and others such as Negroamaro, Salice Salentino, and Malvasia.

Trulli Country

The Valle d'Itria (Itria Valley) between Putignano and Martina Franca has a number of conical-shaped buildings known as trulli.  You will see them throughout the valley, in particular along a scenic drive through the farmland (punctuated by various trulli along the way) recommended by Frommer's: Alberobello on Hwy 604 to Locorotondo, then Hwy 172 to Martina Franca, then Cisternino, then Ostuni.  Also check out the Valle d'Itria Music Festival each summer.


This town has the most trulli, packed densely onto a hillside.  The main trullo part of the town has become over-run with tourists, but some more residential areas are quieter and more characteristic:  for example, Frommer's recommends crossing Largo Martellotta to check out the more residential area near Piazza M. Pagano...behind Piazza 27 Maggio through Piazza Plebiscito to the Aia Piccola district.


Whitewashed city known for its wine (at the Cantina del Locorotondo, via Madonna della Catena 99, 080-431-1644, 080-431-1298, ask for Oronzo Mastro).

Martina Franca

Medieval and baroque hilltown, rec'd by Fred Plotkin as the "classic town" for Puglia


Between Locorotondo and Ostuni, less touristy than the other trullo towns, but which was selected as one of the "most beautiful small towns in Italy has a beautiful centro storico (historic center) which is fun to walk around.

Where to Stay

Where to Eat


 "The white city" just east of Alberobello (Gondor was mostly based on Mont Saint Michel but it does remind me of that city in the Lord of the Rings!)...ancient olive trees are in Torre Guaceto, a little ways east.

Where to Stay

Where to Eat

Adriatic Coast


Nice town on the coast near Andria (NW of Bari).  Let's Go rec's Tre Re, via Casale 58, 088-340-3328, good location, clean rooms as cheap as 16 euro and Centro Storico, via Leopardi 29, 088-350-6176, an inexpensive B&B with nice garden, which has been used in films.  Barletta, a little ways north, offers up Ristorante Antica Cucina 1983, via Milano 73, 088-352-1718, closed Mon/Tues, a highly recommended spot (rec'd by Mangiarozzo).

Where to Eat

Things to See

Nearby places to eat

Castellana Grotte

A town just north of Alberobello, not far from Monopoli (see below), which features a huge cave.


Don't pass Go; instead stop off in this seaport east of Alberobello with a nice historic district, between Bari and Brindisi.

Polignano a Mare

Just north of Monopoli, is a beautiful seaside town perched on cliffs that has good gelato such as Il Super Mago del Gelo. At peak times, it has apparently gotten a bit over-run with folks thirsty for Instagram snaps though...


Major town, embarkation point for many cruises.  A basilica in town contains the remains of San Nicola (Saint Nicholas, aka Santa Claus). Elizabeth Minchilli lives here part time (her husband's family is from there) and has a lot of great notes.


S of Monopoli, famous for the ZooSafari e Fasanolandia, which Americans call the "Bari Safari"


The next major town south of Bari, see Jeff in Puglia's guide to gelato in Brindisi.

Gargano Peninsula

This "spur" to Italy's boot once was part of Croatia, which split off due to seismic shifts; it thus features a different look from the rest of Puglia (including lush forests).  Among its riches are San Giovanni Rotondo, a pilgrimage site for followers of Padre Pio, a relatively modern saint famous for having the stigmata.

Southern Puglia/Salento

The "Salento" region encompasses the very southern tip of the "heel", and includes some of the region's best beaches and serves up some of the best seafood.  While northern Puglia speaks a dialect similar to Neapolitan, in Salento the local dialect is "Salentino", more closely related to Sicilian (see this Salentino-Italian dictionary for a flavor).  The Greek influence in this region is also strong; there's even still a small community who speak a Greek dialect called Griko.


Provincial capital, famous for its extravagant baroque sandstone architecture.

Where to Eat

Where to Stay


Somewhat touristy seaside town; cool cathedral and so close to Albania you can see it on a clear day. Beautiful, shallow beach.


On the western coast, site of a famous WWI battle

Other Salento Towns



Taranto once was an important Greek colony, forming part of Magna Grecia (Greater Greece) along with towns such as Naples and Paestum.  It later waxed and waned in importance, and gave the "tarantula" its name (luckily, local spiders are not as big!).  Now Taranto is home to Italy's submarine fleet and various other parts of the marina militare (Navy).  The town is divided into the Città Vecchia (Old City) on an island, connected to the Città Moderna (New City) via a bridge that opens to let the Navy ships out.

Where to Eat

Things to do/see/eat near Taranto