Puglia Italy, top 10 points of interest
(don't miss them out!)
There are so many points of interest in Puglia (one of the top destination of Italy in the latest years) because for a long time the history and nature coexisted creating an unusual interweaving. It is possible to discover places rich of traditions, of art and local culture.
Making excursions in Puglia means to bathe in its environment that will give you emotions and fun, not only simple walks but also so much adventure! Take a look at this 8 days itinerary between Puglia and Basilicata!
If you are not interested in Basilicata then I suggest you to read this one: one week in Puglia.
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What is Puglia famous for?
1) The Natural Park "Terra delle Gravine"
This place is unknown to many (even to many local citizens!), but it represents one of the most extraordinary masterpieces of the nature of Puglia, and without exaggerating, of Europe.
The Gravine are canyons dug in the calcareous rock by ancient and impetuous streams that drifted across the territory of the Highland of the Murge million of years ago.
Their erosive action has created steep and narrow throats, from few meters of height to more than one hundred meters, and in some cases also 200 meters.
The Gravine are located in the province of Bari, and Brindisi, but it is in the province of Taranto that you'll see all of their greatness, there are more than 150 that constitute the Regional Park Terra delle Gravine.
It's waiting for you an Arizona scenery and adventure at pure state, open caves on the walls, inhabited since the Neolithic and up to the Middle Ages, that have given origin to the Rupestrian Civilization.
Bed of ancient rivers where to practice trekking between big rocks and luxuriant vegetation, breathtaking panoramas, with reptiles, amphibians, rapacious.
I'll cite you the most imposing:
Gravina of Laterza (the second greatest canyon of Europe)
Gravina of Castellaneta
Gravina of Leucaspide
Gravina of Petruscio
Gravina of Madonna della Scala
Gravina of Palagianello
Gravina of Ginosa
Gravina in Puglia
2) Caves Of Castellana
Here a must see! It is about a karstic complex of inestimable value, with a development of over 3 km and a maximum depth of 122 meters.
Formed around 90 million years ago after the water erosion, these caves are among the most beautiful of Italy, a maze of galleries, monumental stalactites and stalagmites, burrows and finally the White Cave, so called because of the whiteness of its stalactites.
An excursion among the most exciting in absolute, in the heart of the earth.
3) The city and the territory of Monopoli
Located in the province of Bari on the Adriatic coastal, Monopoli is a city of great charm, already existing in the V century A.C.
Whoever visit its historical center remain captured by its beauty, the high medieval walls at the edge of the cliff, Carlo V castle, the impressive Cathedral richly decorated in a Romanesque style and the numerous smaller churches of the ancient suburb, the narrow and tortuous paths with the houses plastered with mortar and the delicious cuisine typical of the local restaurants.
But the beauty of this town is given from its numerous Contrade (almost 100) where is possible to take cycle-walks among the country full of olive trees and carob, almond tree and Mediterranean stain or just relax and practice snorkeling on the rocky coast, that hosts numerous suggestive caves.
On the hill, the woods of oaks of the Murgia are ideal to do panoramic trekking.
4) Lecce, Capital of the baroque
Also known as the "Florence of the South." Its attractive charm makes every driven tour unbelievable in this magnificent place.
A place to be seen and seen again. It will delight you with its works of art of the Baroque period, that adorn the historical center enriched by numerous churches, historical buildings, squares and Roman Amphitheaters!
Are all to admire the entry doors to the ancient city as Porta Rudiae and Porta Napoli.
Surely, it will excite you the churches of Santa Maria della Provvidenza, of Addolorata and the Basilica of Santa Croce.
One of the characteristics of Lecce is its typical stone, said "Pietra Leccese", used to build during the centuries big part of the buildings of the historical center.
Lecce is also a sought-after destination for its delicacies.
It is also a dynamic city, an active University center, rich in events and cultural demonstrations that increase the pleasure to walk along its streets.
5) The Valley Of Itria
This picturesque valley is located in the heart of central Puglia and it extends to the South of Bari, in the district of the town of Martina Franca, Cisternino, Locorotondo, Alberobello and in smaller measure, Ostuni, and Ceglie Messapica.
It is characterized by its "red earth", a ground rich of ferrous minerals typical of these zones of Puglia, that confer to the ground a notable fertility.
This characteristic has been exploited since the past, so much that the valley appears to the visitor as an expanse of olive-trees, vineyards, alternate to oaks and pastures.
A symbol of the Valley of Itria is the Trullo, a unique conic structure made with a local stone, declared Patrimony of Unesco.
There are a lot of farms too, typical rural residences, where the agricultural activities and still predominate, where the visitors can enjoy some hospitality and taste local products.
6) Ostuni, the white city
In a dominant position on the Salento's hills, Ostuni is also called "White City" due to its typical houses made with calcareous rocks that constitute the narrow streets of the historical center.
The stairways are also singular, surrounded by an ancient charm, that will bring you toward the numerous places that animate the nightlife and the beautiful evenings in summer.
The country is rich of farms, ancient agricultural houses going up again to the XV-XVIII century.
For the lovers of the trekking, the hills that surround the inhabited center are rich in woods and allow to admire the lowlands plain, populated by enormous olive trees some of which with over 2000 years of age.
7) The National Park of Gargano
This spectacular promontory is one of the more beautiful and amazing ecological-natural zones of Italy.
The Gargano extends as a "spur" in the Adriatic sea, providing suggestive natural sights. The hinterland is covered by the Foresta Umbra, that with his almost 15.000 hectares of extension it is one of the greatest of Italy, an ancient forest with immense trees and rich in biodiversity.
Along the coast, there are beautiful gilded beaches and small historical villages, alternated to rocky cliffs with Pine forests.
Vieste, one of the more popular summer destinations in Puglia, it is one of these towns in this scenery, as also Peschici and Mattinata.
Equally suggestive are the lakes of Lesina and Varano, the two greater coastal lakes of Italy, and for who of you that loves the mystical places the hermitages of Monte Sant'Angelo, of San Marco in Lamis or of Madonna di Pulsano, they'll give you intense emotions that will compensate for the exhausting walk to reach them.
8) The peninsula Salentina
The Salento extends to the south-east of Puglia, this factor has determined the meeting and the fusion with the oriental populations and their cultures.
It most famous towns are Gallipoli, Otranto and Santa Maria di Leuca (with a fascinating historical center).
Some of the more photographed Italian beaches are located in the Salento. Over the Adriatic Sea, with its high and rocky coasts, with marvelous sea caves as the cave "Zinzulusa" and the cave "dei Cervi", this last rich of rocky art on its walls, in fact, are represented Neolithic scenes of hunting and daily life.
An ideal place for a coastal trekking, that allows reaching wild and little-crowded places as "La Costa dei Turchi".
On the Ionian Sea, instead, the coast is mainly sandy, and characterized by crystalline waters, preserved by numerous protected areas, where you can taste nature, sea, and local folklore: Porto Cesareo, Torre Lapillo, Porto Selvaggio, Torre dell’Orso, La Riserva Naturale del Litorale Tarantino Orientale, and the splendid "Maldive of Salento."
Unique places where the snorkeling is absolutely recommended, to discover the beauties of the sea backdrop.
9)The Murgia of Trulli
This area, located on the south-west highland of Murgia (central Puglia), takes the name from the thousands of Trulli disseminated in the countries.
It is an earth of sweets hills, sometimes alternated by carsick depressions, called "Doline", and by Gravine (small canyons), among the villages of Alberobello, Monopoli, Fasano, Locorotondo, Noci, Castellana Grotte.
It is a place where the wise hand of the agriculturists and breeders have known how to harmonize the nature with their works: a mix of farms, Trulli, endless nets of little walls, all realized with the calcareous stone that abounds in these places.
These elements coexist with woods of oaks, Mediterranean stain, pastures, and orchards, that create a mosaic landscape where is impossible to be annoyed.
Here you can practice everything, trekking, orienteering, speleology, horseriding, bikes, quad tour and so much other. Numerous are the paths to cross, many of which lean out on the spectacular crest of hills under Ostuni, Cisternino, Fasano, and Monopoli.
In this context, the hidden pearl is the Channel of Pirro, a carsick valley with woody slopes where anciently it flowed a river mysteriously buried a few centuries ago, that end in the carsick subsoil rich of caves, some of which deep more than 300 meters.
An unusual place that still reserves a lot of surprises.
10) Lame and rupestrian Parks
In the territory in the province of Brindisi, there are numerous Lame (carsick grooves). One of the most beautiful is "Lama d'Antico", rich of small caves inside which the inhabitants of the ancient coastal city of Egnazia found shelter, to escape the raids of the Gothic in the Middle Ages.
Doing so they gave life to a flourishing Rocky Civilization, that is possible to admire with some thrilling archaeological and naturalistic walks: the ancient Chiesa Madre, the crypt of St. Lorenzo and the crypt of St. Giovanni, all dig in the rock and decorated by Byzantine frescos, the old mill, the apiary, the tannery and the house-caves.
For the most adventurous, a narrow passage in the rock conducts to an ancient Palmento for the production of the wine.
Nothing better of the Lama d'Antico testify the depth bond between the earth and the ancient man.
Best 7 beaches in Puglia (map)
The Salento in the last years has become a frequented tourist destinations. South Puglia offers spectacular beaches that don't have anything to envy to the most famous Maldives.
Expanses of white sand and rocky beaches, a really crystalline sea, are waiting for.
Today I want to give you a mini-guide on the most famous beaches of the Salento that will leave you without breath. Among sea, evenings, relax and excellent culinary specialty your stay in Salento will be a dream.
1. Baia Verde (Green Bay)
Baia Verde is a beach of sand and rocks with an emerald sea, located at one kilometer from Gallipoli.
Other than making long baths, and enjoy the sun, you can also have a good time here with open foam party, famous DJ, and good music.
At just a few footsteps, you will find the Samsara, one of the most famous clubs of the Salento.
If the day has not been too much tiresome, wait until the sunset, that begins with a red hot sun above the Castle of the old Gallipoli for then move on the sea. It is a spectacular view.
In the evening you can make a walk in the historical center through the streets full of shops and stop to eat some tasting "Orecchiette".
2. Punta della Suina
Again in the proximities of Gallipoli, immersed in a vast Pine forest, Punta della Suina is an exclusive tourist place. With, mainly, a sandy backdrop but a jagged coast in an alternation of rock-cliffs and sand, this beach deserves one visit too.
Prepare a mask, fins, a GoPro and your swim it will become an experience to tell.
3. Baia dei Turchi
At the north of Otranto, after a walk among the maritime pines, it will appear to you, as in a postcard, the magnificent beach of the Baia dei Turchi.
Almost superfluous to describe it, it needs a visit. Together with the others already described above, the Bay of the Turks contributes increasing every year the number of the visitors in Salento.
You will find it a little wild, and to reach it you must do a brief walk, but it will worth. White sand touched by a sea that will leave you without breath.
In the evening make a stop at Otranto. An enchanting town inside the boundaries of the Aragonese Castle. Shops always open, good ice cream parlors and a constant party atmosphere, especially in the squares.
4. Porto Badisco
Between Otranto and Santa Cesarea Terme, I recommend you to go visit another stupendous beach, Porto Badisco. Born as a fishermen town, today has become a tourist destination.
Here the sea and nature are still intact and rich of flora and wild fauna. The coast is mainly rocky and there are also coves and ravines.
The bay is really small, around 500m, but of rare beauty!
5. The Salento's Maldives, Pescoluse
Have you ever heard of the Salento's Maldives? In one of the south points of Puglia, in the town of Salve, in the province of Lecce, nature has been very generous.
Pescoluse, known also as "Maldive of the Salento", a beach of white sand and an emerald sea will surprise you!
For lunch bring with you some "Pucce", typical sandwiches that you can stuff at your liking, and then give you a day of relax on this paradisiacal beach doing some long swims among its crystalline waters and admiring the clear colors of the sand.
The beach is equipped and they present various beach cafe, but there are also free areas for who desires more quite.
6. Punta Prosciutto
Moving more to the north you will find other beaches, among these, Punta Prosciutto will satisfy your expectations.
The beach is long and of white sand with dunes covered by the typical Mediterranean vegetation, the sea is transparent with intense colors.
I sound repetitive in the descriptions, but trust me, these are all words that are perfectly suitable to each of these angles of heaven!
A big part of the beach is free, but there are also equipped areas and cafes.
7. Torre dell'Orso
Are you curious to discover the legend of the cliffs called "The two sisters" near this place?
Torre dell'Orso will fascinate you. Numerous pines, wild rocks, and a turquoise sea! You cannot withstand so much beauty.
You'll find this beach at Marina di Melendugno, in the province of Lecce. The adjacent beach is of white sand with a clear sea, of around one kilometer with various bathing establishments.
Best beach resort, Puglia
Here a selection of the best beach resort in Puglia