Italy is made up of 20 regions, each with distinctive characteristics. Here, you’ll get an overview of Puglia to get you started on planning a Puglia trip.

If we can think of the Italian peninsula as a boot, that is due in large part to Puglia – the region that makes up the high heel. There’s even a promontory jutting out from Puglia to make a sort of spur.

Puglia’s location in southern Italy means it’s not as heavily touristed as regions in the north, though it’s by no means “undiscovered.” The incredible beaches draw Italians and Europeans in droves during the summer, and Puglia is getting increasingly popular with food lovers who want to dig deeper than they did on their last Italy trip. Maybe that’s you.

Puglia Basics

  • The English name for Puglia is often written as Apulia, but the Italian version is pronounced POOL|yah.
  • The demonym for people or things from Puglia is pugliese (singular) or pugliesi (plural). This is one of the few instances in which the masculine and feminine are the same.
  • The capital of Puglia is Bari.
  • Puglia is in southern Italy and shares borders with the regions of Molise, Campania, and Basilicata, as well as four separate bodies of water – the Adriatic Sea, the Ionian Sea, the Gulf of Taranto, and the Strait of Otranto.
  • There are two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Puglia – the conical houses called “trulli” in Alberobello and the 13th-century Castel del Monte.

Puglia Travel Tips

creative commons graphic by Otourly, modified by me

creative commons graphic by Otourly, modified by me

As mentioned, Puglia is the stiletto heel to Italy’s thigh-high boot – a sexy image for a region that’s no stranger to heat. The beaches of Puglia have been some of the most popular for vacationing Italians during the summer months, and residents of northern Europe have joined them in droves.

Most of the rest of Puglia is relatively flat, excepting the Gargano promontory (that spur) which is pretty mountainous. Those lowlands make Puglia one of the most productive agricultural regions in the country – this region produces more olive oil than any other in Italy, and is also responsible for growing much of country’s wheat and oats.

Puglia’s largest cities – such as Bari, Brindisi, and Lecce – are served by Italy’s rail system (Bari, Foggia, and Lecce are even served by Frecciargento high-speed trains), which makes it much more accessible to tourists than some of the other regions in southern Italy. Still, if you want to see more of the countryside, you might want to think about renting a car.

Note that even though Puglia isn’t as popular with tourists as, say, Tuscany, the town of Alberobello is a major draw in the region and the beaches are absolutely crammed with people in the summer. Plans for summer beach holidays should be made well in advance.

Guided Tours in Puglia

These are affiliate links, which means I get a little something if you book one of these tours – but it won’t cost you anything extra.

Further Reading on Puglia:

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