Italy is quite possibly my favourite country to visit. The food is superb, the weather is always lovely and the people are some of the friendliest folk around. I am trying (very badly) to learn to speak Italian but I fear it will take many years before I’m able to hold a conversation with anyone…! I’d never travelled further south than Sorento before so packed up the whole family and off we went for week of adventures.
All I really really knew about Puglia was that the red wine Primitivo is famously made there and Burrata was first produced in the region. These happed to be two of the tastiest things you can imagine! We stayed just outside Ostuni which is known as the White City due to the fact that its historic part is on top of three hills and legally every building within it has to be painted white. You can see the city from miles away and it is quite stunning.
The first place we went to visit was the amazing Grotte di Castellana. This is a group of underground caves which are full of stalagmites and stalactites. We did the 3km full tour and it was totally worth the extra pennies.
Next on our agenda was Lecce. This ancient city is over 2000 years old and has some incredible Baroque architecture interspersed with a Roman theatre and amphitheatre. It is also famous for its Lecce stone which is a type of limestone and one of the city’s most important exports. It was very easy to spend a day wandering along the pedestrianised streets, taking in the sights.
The most tourist filled part of our trip came next in the form of a visit to Alberobello. This city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the number of Trulli that it has. These are traditional dry stone huts with a cone shaped roof which were initially built as a way to avoid taxation. You find them all over Puglia but every tourist filled coach stops off in Alberodello which made it very busy (and so not hugely relaxing). The plus side of our time there was that we went on market day and the local cheeses were fantastic! Summer is Mozzarella and Burrata season and there were stalls and stalls with buckets of whey filled with cheeses that had been made that day! They were all ready to be scooped into a pot for eating as soon as possible. I’d never eaten Burrata as fresh as that before and definitely it is the way to go. I also tried a creamy pecorino which literally melted on the tongue and an exquisite fresh goats cheese which had been made just the day before. Just cheesy heaven!
Our week in Puglia was over way too quickly and we’d all love to go back to explore more of the region. Hopefully we’ll get to go again soon.