GMT +1 hour
Dotted with sandy bays, pretty coves, hilltop villages and ornate churches, the region of Puglia offers an authentic taste of rural Italy and is the perfect setting for relaxation and exploration.
Just west of Puglia lies Basilicata, a charming region that is home to peaceful beaches, medieval towns, historic churches and remarkable cave dwellings. Hiring a car is a fantastic way to discover the regions' traditional towns, secluded beaches and unspoilt countryside.
Best time to visit Puglia & Basilicata
Puglia has a mild year-round climate. If you want to combine beachside relaxation with city exploration then May and September are ideal. Spring is perfect for hiking while autumn is pleasantly warm and a great time to explore the region by bicycle. Mid-June to late August is very hot and a popular time for Italian tourists to visit so it can get busy. If the beach isn't a priority then winter is a fantastic time to visit. With less tourists around you can fully immerse yourself in Puglia’s culture, mingle with the locals, and see how olives are harvested.
In Basilicata, Matera is best visited in the spring or autumn when it’s warm but not too hot for exploring the city’s steep streets. It's worth visiting during Matera’s annual Madonna Della Bruna festival on the 2nd of July to experience a taste of the local culture, with colourful processions, live music, street markets and a fireworks display.
Puglia & Basilicata holiday highlights
The heel of Italy’s ‘boot’ is a seemingly undiscovered corner of this beautiful country. The farming region of Puglia, or Apulia as it is known locally, is blessed with stunning coastal views, deserted beaches, unspoilt villages and Greek and Roman ruins. While the cuisine here is more simple than in the north, Puglia offers a true taste of traditional Italy with its captivating combination of year-round sunshine, historic towns, rich culture and gorgeous countryside and coast.
Savelletri di Fasano
This traditional fishing village is set in ancient olive groves and has a bustling port and some of the country’s best seafood restaurants. The surrounding coast is dotted with pretty beaches and rocky inlets. Relax in the natural hot springs or explore the pretty town of Fasano – which is just a ten minute drive away – and visit local masserias to buy some full-bodied wine and fresh olive oil.
This beautiful university city is known as the ‘Florence of the South’ due to the magnificent Baroque architecture which complements its maze of narrow streets lined with boutiques, antique shops and charming restaurants. Lecce has a rich history and the central square, Piazza Sant’Oronzo, lies on a Roman amphitheatre. Stroll to the Basilica di Santa Croce, one of the most beautiful examples of southern Baroque buildings and head to the Piazza del Duomo to admire the stunning 12th-Century cathedral which has an ornate facade and 68 metre-tall bell tower.
Perfect for history and culture lovers, this delightful hillside town is known as the ‘White City’ due to its abundance of white-washed houses that dazzle in the sunlight. Surrounded by olive groves, the city has a network of medieval streets, alleys, staircases and arches that give way to far-reaching views. Explore Ostuni’s historic centre with its impressive 15th-Century cathedral before relaxing in one of the excellent restaurants or trendy bars. From here you can easly reach the Puglia coast and countryside by bicycle or car.
This former Venetian trading port is now a popular coastal resort home to ancient ruins, tranquil sandy coves, sea caves, unspoilt countryside and charming hilltop villages. Monopoli’s central piazza is lined with cafés and bars which are ideal for relaxing with a gelato or coffee and watching the world go by. The historic quarter surrounds a 16th-Century castle and you can discover Roman and Bronze Age settlements, visit the nearby fortified abbey of Santo Stefano, or explore the coast which stretches for eight miles and is sprinkled with picturesque beaches.
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, charming Alberobello is home to over 1500 white-washed Trulli, fascinating little circular buildings with conical, white-tipped roofs. These 14th-Century limestone dwellings were originally built in this unique architectural style to avoid the high taxes which were applied to stable buildings. Nowadays they serve as homes, restaurants and shops. Strolling through this enchanting town feels as though you have entered a fairy-tale land. Wander the lanes of Rione Monti, browse the little souvenir shops and enjoy a glass of local wine at one of the Trulli bars. Stay in one of the unique Trulli houses at the Tipico Resort In Trulli.
The beautiful region of Basilicata can be found in the instep of Italy’s ‘boot’ and it is the most mountainous region in Italy. The region is popular with hikers and naturalists as well as history buffs who are drawn to the striking architecture and ancient cave dwellings which evoke a bygone era. The forests and mountains are dotted with traditional villages and tiny churches whilst the coast is home to stylish seaside resorts. Basilicata’s rugged landscape of ravines, forested valleys and caves provides a tranquil and dramatic setting for those in search of a more remote destination away from hoards of tourists.
This pre-historic and UNESCO World Heritage listed city is famous for its eerie 8th-Century cave-dwellings which are carved into the cliff face of a river gorge and are a sight to behold. This extraordinary city transports visitors to another century and its underground labyrinth of streets and churches – where roofs become streets as the dwellings are stacked upon one another – are fascinating to explore. From the Palaeolithic period until the mid-20th Century these troglodyte settlements were inhabited. Today the town’s population live in the modern buildings located on the plateau above the gorge and the majority of the caves or ‘Sassi’ lie abandoned. Please note that this resort is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties. This unique destination is just over an hour's drive from Alberobello and can easily be visited on a day trip.