It’s Largely Rural
Here you can visit small towns nestled in the hills for centuries, drink in the views of surrounding farmlands and orchards, ramble along the country roads find that next cultural gem. There’s no rush here so be prepared for a laid-back visit. Shops close over the heat of the midday, old men play cards and chess in the town squares, and vespas scoot along the narrow streets.
Did you know that olive oil is a major crop? Almost half of Italy’s crop is harvested, and the oil produced here. Historically, bread and pasta were also prevalent products giving Puglia the nickname of the “bread basket of Italy”. There are still many wheat farms to be seen which may be an unexpected sight.
And then there is the wine. Believe it or not, the Puglia region is one of Italy’s largest producers of wine. Its grapes have a very distinctive and fruity flavor.
But There’s Cities Too
Leece can’t be missed. With origins back to the 3rd century, it is best known for its distinctive baroque architecture. Known as the “Florence of the South”, Leece’s best example of this architectural style is in the Basilica di Santa Croce. It’s stunning limestone stone façade of everything from sheep to cherubs contributed to its very lengthy two-hundred-year build. As well visit the Piazza del Duomo with its 230-foot (70 metre) bell tower. If you want even older historical architecture, there’s always the remains of the Roman amphitheatre in the Piazza Sant’Oronzo. Be sure to purchase a papier-mâché figurine as a souvenir. Leece is renowned for this craft which started in the seventh century and has been passed on now for many, many generations.
Bari is Puglia’s capital city in the province or commune of the same name, one of six making up the region of Puglia. It is an important economic center and university city. It lies on a jut of land between two busy harbors. Here also you will find one of the two major airports for Puglia. Visit Castello Normanno-Svevo, a twelfth-century structure and currently an exhibition center or the Bari Cathedral of the same vintage for your history fix.The Teatro Margherita (now a museum) where Pavarotti and Nureyev have performed is another suggested stop. Photograph the colorful small boats in the old harbor or enjoy the many delicacies on offer from street vendors.There’s fashionable shops and a busy nightlife.