We are pleased to be able to present a collection of high quality Puglia holiday villas for rent. Italians have been keeping quiet about their "heel" for years - and for good reason - sun-filled, brightly coloured, a region of olive trees, wheatfields and vineyards, almost biblical in their multitudes, a singular finger of level land, pointing benevolently at Greece, that juts out into the southern Adriatic.
From the green three-sided promontory that is the Gargano National Park in the north, to the flatter central area dotted with conical-roofed "trulli", topped off by the region’s capital Bari, to the southern Ionian-Salento tip and gateway to the Balkans, Puglia is the perfect place for an uncrowded holiday.
Vibrant sunlit colours are Puglia’s trademark look - the deep blue of its vast skies, the dark silvery green of its olive groves and vineyards, stitched alongside patchwork gold wheatfields, the rich burnt terracotta orange of the earth and the bright white of ever-present dry-stone walls, whitewashed villages and the ubiquitous ’trulli’, especially populous between Alberobello and Martina Franca.
One is never more than 30 miles from Puglia’s coasts. Interlaced by lively fishing villages, they have something for everyone: dramatic limestone cliffs plunging into a turquoise sea, as in the northern forested Gargano area, referred to by the Greek hero, Diomed, as "the happy land"; or they can be bustling, yet beautiful, as at walled Molfetta and Giovinazzo in the central section, where gaily-painted fishing boats land the day’s exotic catches; or at the Ionian-Salento peninsula where the coast does a u-turn and reverts to a rocky grandeur. But nowhere is one far from a tranquil gold-white sandy beach, reminiscent of the Caribbean, the cleanest waters in the Mediterranean and just made for relaxing. Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Normans, Saracens and Emperor Frederick II, who studded the region with so many castles and towers, they all left their mark on the people, the cuisine and architecture. Numerous flat-topped whitewashed houses are more typical of Greece or North Africa than Italy. The Normans graced most towns with delightful Romanesque cathedrals, at Trani overlooking the sea, and the ’must-see’ prime example at Bitonto, with its fine pulpit dating from 1229.
Pugliese food and wine is so good that most of Italy buys it and the rest of Europe consumes it. For tasty morsels of what to expect on your Italian villa holiday in Puglia, see the Local Food and Wine sections below.
"Many things about Puglia are slightly biblical - square white flat-topped houses resembling the Middle East, the multitudes of parade-ground olive trees, heavenly pugliese food and wine, and the spiritually uplifting colours of vast seas, skies and land... I’ve had a revelation, now is the time to go!" Claudio Magoni
If you are considering renting one of the many beautiful Puglia villas, Cottages to Castles are pleased to offer a selection of privately owned and superbly presented properties. Choose your dream holiday home in Puglia here.
| PUGLIESE FOOD || || SHOPPING IN PUGLIA|| ||PUGLIESE WINE || || ART AND ARCHITECTURE |
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Puglia boasts an array of foody records: much of Italy’s fish is caught off Puglia’s coast, 70% of Italy’s olive oil is produced here, and the region supplies 80% of Europe’s pasta. Impressive statistics indeed but where does the freshest tastiest produce go? Nowhere of course - it is jealously reserved for locals and visitors! The cuisine alone is a good enough reason to take a Puglia villa holiday.
For starters try "orechietti", little pasta ears, or ’cavatieddi alla ruca’ with rocket, tomato and pecorino cheese. Followed by "tortiera", a casserole whose ingredients are gratineed with breadcrumbs. The Adriatic and Ionian Seas provide a wealth of seafood especially oysters and mussels from the Gulf of Taranto though sardines and octopus are highly-prized too. ’Orata alla barese’ is bream roasted with potatoes, garlic and pecorino. Lamb and kid are the most popular meats and ’agnello al cartoccio’ are lamb chops baked in foil with lampasciuoli and olives.
| ||We always recommend outdoor markets to guests at our Puglia Villas as the best way to experience real Italian food shopping. In the case of Puglia it is even more relevant due to the huge agricultural importance this region is known for. On the coast the fish markets reign supreme for noise, colour, fresh fish caught that morning and the cheapest prices.|| ||Previously known for supplying one-tenth of Europe’s wine consumption, Puglia’s wines now concentrate more on quality than quantity. Red wines tend to derive from the Uva di Troia, Bombino Nero, Montepulciano and Sangiovese. Rosso Canosa and Rosso Barletta are good DOCs. Excellent white wines come from the Itria Valley near Locorotondo and Martina Franca and various local Chardonnays and Sauvignons are to be depended on. The Salento peninsula is known for its flowery rosés that rank with Italy’s finest. || |
The heel of Italy’s boot kicks up a whole host of art and architecture from pre-history to Magna Graecia, from the Imperial Age to the Renaissance and Baroque.
A visit to Puglia is not complete without experiencing the town of Alberobello, the home of the ‘trulli’. These strange little houses with a conical roof and constructed without mortar now appears as part of the UNESCO World Heritage site. Puglia also offers another UNESCO site in the town of Andria. The Castel del Monte is definitely for those with a superstitious nature; a spectacular masterpiece of medieval architecture was commissioned by Fredrick II in the 13th Century with the number 8 as the motif of the castle, there are 8 rooms on the ground floor, 8 rooms on the first floor and the layout of the castle itself is of an octagon design.
Bari has a whole range of imposing castles and Cathedrals, Lecce has some most interesting examples of 17th Century Italian architecture and a trip to San Giovanni Rotondo in Foggia to see the monastery of the Capuchin friars is also a must-do during your visit.