Puglia might be on the map recently thanks to the wedding of movie stars Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel, but the region has long been a favorite destination for locals and savvy travelers. Though Puglia is often overlooked by tourists making a beeline to Rome, the region is full of medieval cities and mouthwatering regional dishes. Travel Contributor Sarah McClure goes to Puglia, Italy to show us the “real Italy.”
My first meal in Puglia was in Lecce, a 2,000-year-old town with Greek roots. Dinner consisted of prosciutto with several varieties of regional cheeses. While an antipasto, it was unquestionably one of the best meals of my life. If the mention of Puglia and its food doesn’t ring a bell (or immediately pull on your culinary heartstrings), don’t fret.
Without its biggest identifier—it’s the heel of Italy’s boot—it’s not uncommon for travelers to be unacquainted with this part of the Italian peninsula.
From its history that dates back to the Neolithic age and its vast, untouched countryside including 500 miles of Adriatic and Ionian coasts to being a retreat for more Italians than tourists— to travel in Puglia is to travel like a real Italian. Here are our favorite stops: