Puglia, Italy: travel guide and places to visit
The many resorts and the scenery of the Gargano region to the north of Apulia make it a very popular attraction with visitors, along with many other seaside resorts along the Adriatic coast.
Apulia travel guide and places to visit
For a summary of the most popular sights in the region see also Puglia places to visit.
The Apulia region (also known as Puglia) is the 'heel' of Italy - that is, the south-eastern part of the country, facing the Adriatic Sea to the east and the Ionian Sea to the south.
Apulia is a relatively undiscovered region despite having some lovely beaches and impressive architecture. Highlights include its unusual trulli buildings with their conical roofs, some excellent baroque architecture and the Gargano peninsula.
Puglia is also famous for its excellent olive oils and wines and hearty cuisine. Though it is largely unknown to foreign tourists it is a popular spot with Italians in July and August.
At the northern tip of Puglia is the very attractive Garano Peninsula known as Gargano.
Continuing along the peninsula are the pretty seaside towns of Rodi Garganico, Ischitella, and Peschici. Perhaps the best of all the coastal villages is Vieste with its whitewashed buildings hugging the white cliffs below. Visitors should also take a trip to the islands off the coast, the Isole Tremiti which can be accessed from Peschici and Vieste.
Inland on the Gargano Peninsula are popular pilgrim town of Monte Sant'Angelo which enjoys a stunning hilltop location overlooking the sea, and the towns of San Nicandro Garganico, San Marco in Lamis, Rignano Garganico and Carpino. The shrine at San Giovanni Rotondo is the second most visited Catholic shrine in the world.
Other historical highlights of the region include the ancient ruins at Lucera and the town of Troia - above all for its cathedral. Nearby Alberona is classified as one of the "most beautiful villages of Italy".
Inland are Ruvo di Puglia and especially the important town of Bari with its interesting old town. As well as its historic monuments Bari has some good shops and restaurants. Close to here is the intriguing castle of Castel del Monte. This is one of many built by Frederic II in the area but is a particularly fine example an has UNESCO World Heritage status.
The town of Bitonto (well known for its olives) has a very impressive range of museums and historical sites to explore.
Further inland the historically important town of Altamura, famous for its bread and home to "Altamura Man", a rare prehistoric skeleton of a Homo sapien man with some Neanderthal features.
Continue south into the 'heel' of Italy to discover the fascinating local architectural style - the 'trulli' villages - of Alberobello and Locorotondo, with their cone-shaped roofs and whitewashed walls.
Southern Puglia has the interesting geographical feature of having some towns on the Adriatic Sea and others on the Ionian Sea. Ostuni is a beautiful hill town on the Adriatic coast whilst Gallipoli is a popular resort on the Ionian Sea. The 'heel' of Italy is not very wide and so it is possible to visit both seas during your visit.
The main city is at Lecce, where there are lots of impressive 16th century buildings. It is known as the "Florence of the South" for its abundant Baroque architecture. The town of Galatina also has some excellent Baroque architecture.
Specchia in the very south of the 'heel' is one of Italy's most beautiful villages and you can visit some ancient underground olive mills.
There are some picturesque and interesting historical aspects to admire in Taranto, whose ancient city sits on an island in the Ionian Sea and linked to the mainland by a bridge.
Apulia highlights - a photo gallery
Most Beautiful Villages - Apulia
The following Italian towns and villages in Apulia are listed among the 'most beautiful villages in Italy':
Orange Flag Tourism towns in
The following Italian towns and villages in Puglia are listed among the 'Orange flag towns in Italy'(a national tourist award):
Alberona, Sant'Agata di Puglia