Puglia is a food lovers’ dream and the perfect location for a relaxing Pilates retreat or Italian cooking holiday. But what exactly makes the “heel” of Italy so popular? And where should you go if you want to experience great food and cultural highlights? We’ll tell you in our top ten Puglia list!
1. Castel Di Monte in Adria
Castel di Monte was built by the Roman emperor Frederick II in the 13th century and is situated in the southeast of Italy. It is famous for its octagonal towers which have inspired many writers and artists in the past and is arguably one of the most notable castles in Puglia.
2. Castellana Grotte
The Castellana Grotte’s stunning rock formation is one of the highlights of each Puglian trip and a must see for every visitor. The small commune is the perfect location for sightseeing and the network of caves and tunnels are an astonishing natural spectacle.
3. Historic Centre of Lecce
When going on one of our cooking holidays in Puglia you will experience the beautiful baroque city of Lecce. Called the “Florence of the South”, the centre is compact which makes it perfect for a day of sightseeing. The fine restaurants will offer you a wide range of authentic Apulian food which makes the historic city one of the highlights on our Italian cooking courses.
4. Basicilia di Santa Croce in Lecce
Part of the historic centre of Lecce is the Basicilia di Santa Croce. The building impresses its visitors with wonderful architecture and its spectacular façade. As one of the largest Franciscan churches, the Basicilia di Santa Croce is most certainly a must see on your visit to Lecce.
5. Visit the stunning seaside
Puglia is the heel to Italy’s boot and has some of Italy’s finest sand beaches and azure sea. On our Pilates and cooking holidays to the region, you will be able to experience the beauty of the coast line first hand when going to the historic seaside town Otranto. Besides taking in the lovely holiday atmosphere, you will also be able to taste the authentic flavours of the region in its local trattorias.
6. Taste the cheese
What cheese comes to mind when thinking about Italy? Mozzarella? Parmigiano Regiano? Well, there are over 200 different Italian cheeses! On a culinary trip like our cooking holidays you should make sure that you taste at least one of the dozens of varieties. Prefer hard cheese or rather mature? Soft cheeses, spreadable or buttery? It does not matter on your trip to Puglia as it is literally a little piece of paradise for cheese lovers.
7. Santa Maria di Leuca
Santa Maria di Leuca sits on the southernmost tip of the Salento peninsula where the waters of the Adriatic Sea meet the Ionian. With its breathtaking seafront, Leuca is a popular place to visit on our Pilates holiday.
8. Wine tasting at a local winery
Puglia is Italy’s biggest producer of wine and a spectacularly fertile peninsula. No wonder we included a private wine tasting at a local winery to our Puglia itinerary. Trying the wines of the region will be the icing on the cake on your Italian cooking holiday.
Gallipoli comes from the Greek and means beautiful city – and who could possibly argue with the Greeks? The idyllic fishing village is built on a limestone island and linked to the mainland by a 16th century bridge. The pretty port, historic old town and sandy beaches are just a few beautiful sites to mention!
10. … and its famous fish markets!
The Gallipoli fish market is well worth a visit, especially if you like fish and seafood. Whilst walking down the charming little stands, you will be able to taste raw shrimps, fresh shellfish and local oysters.
With warm temperatures but less tourism during autumn September and October are the perfect time to visit Puglia! If you love Italy and want to be part of an authentic culinary experience, you should check our 2015 availability or contact one of our friendly travel experts here and come with us to Puglia this autumn!
Photo credit: Ride to dine