We’ve shared our thoughts on driving in Puglia, about Italy’s currency and changing money before you get here, and the documentation foreign nationals require for entry to Italy.
Here we give some thought about where best to put yourself in our region when you get here.
Puglia - a three part drama
When planning a visit to Puglia think of our region in three parts.
To the north there is Daunia and Gargano. Foggia the major population centre of the former, the later a green and lush mountainous peninsula rising out of the Adriatic.
Rugged limestone cliffs, hidden caves and private coves, sea stacks majestically reaching into an infinity of blue and the trabuchi; wooden fishing platforms, a cross between grotesque spiders and steampunk oil rigs. The Gargano National Park extends across much of Gargano’s interior, within which sits the dark and prehistoric Foresta Umbra. Around the edges are the endless olive groves, making the spur of Italy’s boot as green as it is blue with the sea and sky that frame it.
This is the most overlooked part of our region. Some perceive the drawback of holidaying in the Gargano is that you can’t comfortably day trip to the Valle d’Itria. We suggest this overlooks the diversity of landscape in the Gargano and the beautiful towns and destinations that are easily accessed from Vieste: Peschici, Monte Sant’Angelo (to see the Sanctuary of San Michele Arcangelo)... And it ignores the comparative beach quality and facilities. The Gargano’s exceptional, long sandy beaches are as good as the award-winning beaches of Salento and certainly finer than the Valle d’Itria’s best.
Central Puglia with green olive groves and ferrous-red soil, is contained by white dry stone walls and punctuated by trulli typical of the Valle d’Itria. It may be the least interesting part of the Adriatic coast, but is not without drama, as a visit to Polignano a Mare will confirm.
The Valle d’Itria draws most visitors to Puglia - but that doesn’t necessarily mean it offers the best of Puglia. When it comes to beaches, for example, Puglia’s finest are in Gargano and Salento.
Where the Salento begins exactly is open to interpretation. But geography guides us. It’s the peninsula surrounded by two seas - the Ionian and the Adriatic, each with its own shade of blue and mood, the heel of Italy’s boot.
Most tourism here is domestic. Northern Italians have been coming here on their summer holidays for years, long before Puglia was discovered by the rest of the world. The coast is dramatic - one of our favourite road trips is the drive along the Adriatic from Santa Cesarea Terme to Santa Maria di Leuca - as well as some of the least developed in Italy.