Want to add value to your vacation in Puglia? Then holiday like a local. Our top 5 tips will immerse you in local culture to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of everyday life in Puglia.
1. Buy something from the local panificio, caseificio or pastificio and say “buongiorno”.
In Puglia people are friendly and polite. When someone of any age enters the local baker, cheeseshop, pasta shop – even the doctor’s waiting room – they will typically greet everyone, wishing them a good day. The shopkeeper and other patrons will say “buongiorno” back.
This one comes with the added bonus of purchasing a tasty treat – guaranteed.
2. Wake up and smell the tomatoes.
Buying from any of the many daily fruit and veg stalls on the streets will leave you in awe not only of the variety of tomatoes on offer (each has its purpose) but also the incredible scent that they have.
These aren’t just any tomatoes, these are Pugliese tomatoes.
3. Go to “il bar” and order a coffee.
Ask for un caffè. As a non-local you will probably be asked if you want an americano or espresso. Look them in the eye. With a smile, as if surprised, say “normale”.
You’ll be given a shorter, blacker and stronger than your usual espresso. Offered with some water, still or sparkling, which you should drink before your coffee.
Most Italians drink their coffee standing at the bar. Feel free to do the same, even if you don’t understand their conversation. It’s not because your Italian is bad but because they will normally be speaking in dialect.
Insider tip | many guides suggest that drinking a coffee at the bar is better value. It is true that sitting down for a coffee (we recommend you have it with a typical pastry, try a pasticciotto or cornetto – a croissant – with la crema. Cornetto ‘vuoto’ means empty, i.e. plain) will cost a little more. But really it is very little more, perhaps 0,35€ an item taking your 2 coffees and 2 pastries from 2,30€ to 3,00€ for example. We wouldn’t loose any sleep over this!
4. The evening starts early…
In Puglia we usually say “buongiorno” (good day) until around 2pm, but from then you are likely to be greeted with good evening – “buona sera”, and you should say the same.
5. …but dinner starts late!
Most restaurants don’t start their dinner service until 8pm. If you want to blend in like a local don’t think about eating out until at least 9pm. The only people to be found eating out at before then are typically British and Northern European visitors.