Apulia and Basilicata
Lecce, Andria, Alberobello, Gargano, Ostuni, Polignano
a Mare, Parco Nazionale
dell’ Alta Murgia, Matera
Apulia is a charming region that can be visited all year…
… round and is suspended among nature, history, tradition, tastes and spirituality. Immerse yourself in its colors, scents and tastes, contrasting lights and shades: the blue sky, the azure sea waters, the green olive groves and vine yards and the bright white houses and streets.
The white Trulli houses are impressive. These circular dwellings with conical shaped roofs are scattered in the Intra valley and in Alberobello, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Apulia hosts another UNESCO site in Andria: Castel del Monte, an unrivalled masterpiece of Medieval architecture. Renowned because of its peculiar octagonal plan, it is the region’s most visited monument.
Other jewels, from North to South: Gargano area, a promontory of pristine wilderness and wonderful beaches, charming villages, olive and citrus groves. The natural reserve of Tremiti Islands is one of the most beautiful natural habitats in the Mediterranean.
Ostuni is called the “White City” due to its historical center of whitewashed houses. It rises high above the ocean of olive trees that covers this verdant area of Puglia. Polignano a Mare, a shining gem on the coast, perched atop a high cliff above the crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic.
Castellana Caves are considered the most spectacular underground caves in Italy. Salento is a charming land with unique traditions, white sand beaches with crystal-clear waters: no wonder it’s called “the Maldives of Italy”. Lecce is Salento’s jewel of Baroque architecture, a real open-air museum.
Numberless tastes and scents make Apulia a great Italian garden – with a local cuisine strongly based on local countryside and seafood products. The starters of the Apulian tradition offer plenty of tasty, appetizing meat and fish dishes to combine with some Altamura bread, “taralli” or a choice of local cheese, mozzarella or burrata. Try then the “Orecchiette” homemade pasta with “cime di rapa” or with tomato and dried ricotta. As for second courses you have many specialties to try, both with fish or meat: the choice of vegetables is very ample: from fava bean purée with chicory to stuffed tomatoes and artichokes, from fried “lampascioni” to eggplants cooked in a thousand variations.
Among desserts, the leader is “pasticciotto leccese” or “pitthedde” pastries typical of the Salento cuisine. Or “fruttone”, with white almond cream and a heart of apple or pears marmalade, covered with chocolate, perfect together with an espresso! As for street-food, “focaccia barese” and “panzerotto” just to name a few. Perfect with a glass of Pimitivo or Aglianico red wine
Try some of them at a typical “masseria”.
One does not stumble across this region accidentally but chooses to visit it in search of a new experience, plunging into places where silence, colours, scents and flavours remove the visitor from the stress of modern life. Basilicata is also well known thanks to the unique and ancient cave-city of Matera, famous for its “sassi” (stone houses carved out of the caves and cliffs) and recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The stunning scenario of Matera has been the set for many films, including the spectacular “The Passion” by Mel Gibson.
Metaponto archaeological park is definitely worth a visit. Metaponto, was one of the most important cities of Great Greece and, because of that, also Pythagoras moved his philosophical school in 532 B.C.
The Pollino National park is the largest national park in Italy and UNESCO site with the ancient beech forest “Cozzo Ferriero”. A must for nature enthusiasts, it is a stunning area with prehistoric caves, cave drawings, burial sites and natural hot springs.
Food in Basilicata is simple and fragrant, based on a few local ingredient. The most important product is certainly durum wheat homemade pasta, kneaded with ancient tools Hot pepper (peperoncino) is the real symbol of cuisine in Basilicata, locally known as “diavolicchio” (little devil) and a king ingredient in many recipes.