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Alberobello

Alberobello is without doubt one of the most fascinating places to discover in Puglia and is the capital town of the ‘Trulli’. Hundreds of unique whitewashed dry stone houses, with conical shaped roofs, huddle together in an almost purposeful disarray to create the ‘fairy tale’ town.

Lining the wonderful meandering and winding streets each tiny door opens, with a Disney-like touch of magic, to reveal a bar, restaurant, shop or house that you couldn’t imagine would fit. A series of nooks and crannies, little rooms, courtyards and gardens provide a perfect place to relax whatever the season or time of day.

It’s spectacular and there’s nothing like it in the world.

Throughout the year the town takes on many guises with the change of seasons and festivals, decorating itself beautifully with lights, flowers, live bands, orchestras and markets. Erecting huge stages and bandstands in the main Piazza where you can freely sit and enjoy the atmosphere whilst supping on a glass of wine.

Locorotondo

Sitting high over the Valle D’Itria with a wonderful view looking over Alberobello and Martina Franca, this picturesque town seems to be made up of brilliant white marble, shining down as you arrive at its feet. The beautiful whitewashed interconnected buildings and streets are built circular (hence ‘tondo’ - meaning round) on top of a hill and surround the church of Madonna Della Greca in the towns’ core.

As you round each corner there are huge beautifully carved wooden doors that open up to little courtyards and marble steps leading to the individual apartments, their balconies flowing with flowers.

The spectacular firework display ending the towns’ festival is not to be missed. Starting at midnight, three huge displays span over an hour. Find a spot and enjoy some wine, olives, roasted nuts and mozzarella with all the locals to really experience a true Italian feel.

Martina Franca

On the hill opposite Locorotondo, the bigger town of ‘Martina’ (as it’s more lovingly known to its’ locals) offers beautiful architecture with its Baroque style buildings, villas and mansions.

The elegant streets are lined with boutiques to quell any fashion guru’s hunger with an abundance of handmade shoes, popular named clothes and bags galore. Antique shops, flowers, perfume, furniture, watches, sunglasses and much more to make it worth an evenings shop. The main Piazza is a beautiful place to relax, enjoy icecream and watch the locals gather to wile the moments away. Each year it boasts one of Italy’s most prestigious Opera festivals drawing visitors from all parts of the world.

Polignano Al Mare

A favourite for young Italian lovers on their first dates, the romantic Polignano is built upon the cliffs of the Apulian shores overlooking the Adriatic ocean. It’s perfect for al fresco dining with wandering alleys and stylish tucked away restaurants and bars. An atmospheric dining experience takes you to the restaurant within the caves themselves.

As with all of Puglia you are never far away from an impressive history. Within the wandering narrow streets and piazzas you’ll discover the Church of Matrice dell Assunta, which boasts a renaissance portal.

local towns puglia

Monopoli

Moving away from the countryside and heading towards the sea, you will discover various pretty coves and inlets, along with expansive private beaches. The quaint little fishing town of Monopoli delivers a harbour and fish market offering a variety of freshly caught seafood at amazing prices. Buy some to cook back at the trullo or sample some traditional cooking in the warm breeze of the Adriatic at the various restaurants dotted along the coastline.

Ostuni

This little town set in the hills of Murgia offers spectacular views over the Adriatic coatline. Its’ narrow cobblestone streets, some no more than arched stairways between the houses, are lined with various antique shops, trattorias and bars. The white walls dazzle in sun and doorways blossom with colourful and exotic flowers. The 15th-century Gothic cathedral with distinctive cupolas, covered in green, yellow and white slate tiles, only adds to the feeling that you have literally stepped back in time. Italians say that when viewed from a distance, Ostuni resembles a large tiered wedding cake – the wonderful and creative imagination of the Italians…

Lecce

Rising up from the rich red earth and lush green fields, reflecting dustings of pink against the deep blue Mediterranean Sea, arrives the charming city of Lecce.

Towards the tip of the heel, the citta d’arte (the city of art) is famous throughout Italy for its Baroque architecture, carved from the soft local stone. The open markets filled with a bounty of fresh produce freshly plucked from the earth, offer a colourful surrounding within the peaceful piazzas.

Elegantly awash with extremely ornate barocco leccese, covering entire surfaces of Churches and buildings, Lecce has more than earned its’ self named Italian title ‘The Florence of the South’.