A view of Ostuni

I left my heart in Puglia where it will remain until further notice.

At first beautiful glance Puglia is a land of ancient whitewashed cities, prickly pear cacti, olive trees as far as the eye can see, and 800 kilometers of coastline. It is also home to enchanting Trulli dwellings and centuries-old farms called masserias.

Coast of Puglia from Above

The coast of Puglia from the plane

Prickly Pear in Puglia

Prickly pear at Borgo Canonica

Stay a moment and you will quickly learn that Puglia is also warm smiles, incredible hospitality, and delicious local cuisine. It is, in fact, the origin of Burrata cheese! 


Aperitivo in Ostuni

Ostuni is the perfect place to stay if you want to enjoy dinner and drinks just walking distance from your hotel. Many of the alleys and steep steps of Ostuni turn into cocktail bars just in time for aperitivo and after dinner drinks. Bean bags and other creative seating options are spread out with tables and candles making for a beautiful atmosphere.

Stone walls at Borgo Canonica

Dry-stacked stone walls at Borgo Canonica

Dry-stacked stone walls separate one-lane roads from farmlands, olive groves, and vineyards. It is from here that local cheeses, olive oil, vegetables, and wines are produced. We loved visiting a family vineyard for an evening wine tasting paired with local cured meats, cheeses, and other regional dishes. 

Vineyard in Puglia

Vineyard in Martina Franca

Our favorite meal was at Zio Pietro in Cisternino where you choose your meat straight from the butcher's counter before you are shown to your table. You then have the choice of ordering different sides and beverages when you are seated. Once your meat is ready, it is delivered straight off the grill and it is time to enjoy.

Zio Pietro

Zio Pietro in Cisternino

Puglia is famous for its seafood, and you can be certain that it will be impossibly fresh. I ordered a few pasta dishes in Ostuni that came with tiny, raw shrimp sprinkled on top. The shrimp tasted exactly as I would describe the sea that I could see from my table.

As far as desserts go, gelato (everywhere!) and Pasticciotto from Lecce are not to be missed.

Basilica di Santa Croce

Basilica di Santa Croce, Lecce

Puglia's architecture is a dreamscape of whitewashed stone, Baroque fantasies, and magical Trulli. The local limestone is soft and therefore the perfect canvas for Baroque flourishes which can be seen in all their glory in Lecce and Martina Franca.

We made the most of our time, arranging tours with local guides in several cities that spanned topics such as archaeology, architecture, history, food and wine, and even tidbits from Madonna's visit the week prior.

Trulli in Alberobello

A row of Trulli in Alberobello 

The coast near Grotta della Poesia

The coast near Grotta della Poesia

Having access to a car is a must in Puglia, and the views do not disappoint. I loved marveling at the seaside, tiny white cities, and Trulli emerging from olive trees and prickly pear at every turn. 

Many of the masserias and Trulli dotting the countryside also double as incredible places to stay. I have posted the hotels we stayed at on my Instagram if you would like to see more about what our accommodations were like. We wanted to experience staying in Trulli at Borgo Canonica and staying at the storied Palazzo Rosso called Paragon 700 in Ostuni. Both hotels had flexible policies and great amenities including pools. We enjoyed spending a few hours at the pool during the hottest hours of our afternoons to relax and regroup before we hit the ground running again.

Pool at Paragon 700

The pool at Paragon 700

Trulli at Borgo Canonica

Our Trulli at Borgo Canonica

At Borgo Canonica near Cisternino, the pool, restaurant, and most of all the staff were just perfect. At night there is complete silence in this rural area and the Trulli are outfitted with private outdoor seating areas in case you would like to relax and enjoy some time with your travel mates or partner before retiring.

Another option is to stay at a masseria. Many of these farmhouses have been renovated with pools, restaurants, activities, and working olive oil and other productions. A one week reservation minimum is usually required. I can now attest that this is absolutely worthwhile as you will want every minute of that week (even two), to enjoy all that Puglia has to offer.

Stay tuned as I have much more to share about Puglia.