The ‘Heel’ of Italy has a rich history and over the years has played host to the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Normans and Spanish and, as a result, has many archaeological sites, castles and historic towns. Many of the hotels are converted masserias – fortified, walled farmhouses that were built to defend against invading forces. The region is highly fertile and vegetables are the cornerstone of the cuisine. Wherever you are, you will find simple restaurants serving delicious, rustic dishes at low prices. For those who prefer not to hire a car, we can recommend a tailor-made holiday using a combination of private transfers and local trains – further details on request. Central Puglia The UNESCO protected Valle d’Itria is a verdant region of vineyards, vegetable farms and olive groves and is characterised by the trulli; the distinctive, bee-hive shaped houses that are unique to central Puglia. As well as archaeological sites such as Egnatia and the spectacular limestone Castellana Caves, there are many exquisite, white-washed hill towns to explore including Alberobello, Ostuni and Locorotondo. Martina Franca The region’s main town since the Middle Ages, Martina Franca lies at the heart of the Valle d’Itria and has a beautifully preserved old town encircled by its ramparts. With over 20 palaces and 15 churches there is much fine architecture to admire in both Baroque and Rococo styles. The villages of Alberobello and Locorotondo are close by and the drive to both the Adriatic and Ionian coasts takes just 30 minutes. Locorotondo Taking its names from the alleyways which wind in concentric circles up the hill to the central piazza, Locorotondo is a pretty town in the heart of the Valle d’Itria. Unspoilt, friendly and laidback, it is completely white-washed save for the odd brightly coloured letter box or the elaborate façade of a Baroque palace. Often overlooked in favour of Alberobello, its more famous neighbour, this is a wonderful place to spend a few days and experience the traditional lifestyle of the region. Southern Puglia With the Adriatic Sea to the east and the Ionian Sea to the west, the Salentine Peninsula is home to many of Italy’s best sandy beaches and clearest waters. The region also has some beautifully preserved towns such as Taranto, Otranto, Gallipoli and Lecce, a Baroque masterpiece. Lecce Known as the ‘Florence of the South’, Lecce thrived from the 16th to the 18th century when it was embellished with shining limestone monuments in Renaissance, Rococo and Baroque styles. With so many beautifully preserved, there is an extraordinary collection of architecture to enjoy including the delicate modelling on the façade of the basilica.

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Our expert reservations team regularly travel to a wide range of destinations to explore new cities, visit hotels and to research museums, galleries and restaurants so that we can offer the most up-to-date advice and recommendations.


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