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Five off-the-beaten-path gems of Puglia: Discover true luxury in a Villa

Let’s delve into the unique features of these five off-the-beaten-path destinations, including the local food specialities that make each visit even more extraordinary.

Castel del Monte

Introduction
Nestled in the sun-kissed heel of Italy’s boot, Puglia is a treasure trove of enchanting landscapes, rich history, and delightful cuisine. This charming region has no shortage of hidden gems waiting to be discovered by intrepid travellers who seek an authentic and tranquil Italian experience. From quaint towns to stunning beaches, there’s something for everyone in Puglia. To truly embrace the magic of this area, consider staying in a villa. Let’s delve into the unique features of these five off-the-beaten-path destinations, including the local food specialities that make each visit even more extraordinary.

Polignano a Mare: A cliffside beauty
Polignano a Mare is a mesmerising coastal town where whitewashed houses perched on limestone cliffs overlooking the sparkling Adriatic Sea. Wander the cobblestone streets and marvel at the vibrant flowers adorning the balconies. Stroll along the dramatic coastline and discover hidden caves, like Grotta Palazzese, a cavernous restaurant offering a truly unforgettable dining experience. Local culinary delights include the refreshing ‘caffè speciale’, a unique coffee, cream, and lemon zest concoction. Savour the delicate taste of ‘orecchiette al sugo,’ a traditional Paglian pasta dish with a rich tomato sauce, and finish with a delightful scoop of artisanal gelato.

Castel del Monte: Amysterious masterpiece
Surrounded by the verdant Alta Murgia National Park, Castel del Monte is an enigmatic fortress steeped in history and legend. This UNESCO World Heritage Site, built by Emperor Frederick II in the 13th century, captivates visitors with its unique octagonal design and panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. After exploring the fortress, indulge in the region’s delicious cuisine. Savour the flavours of ‘fava e cicoria,’ a rustic dish made of pureed fava beans and sautéed chicory greens. Pair it with a glass of ‘Nero di Troia,’ a robust red wine indigenous to the area, and end your meal with ‘cartellate,’ a sweet, fried pastry drizzled with honey.

Alberobello: A fairy-tale village
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Alberobello is a whimsical village filled with over 1,500 trulli, the iconic conical-roofed dwellings unique to Puglia. Wander through the maze of narrow streets and explore the charming shops selling locally crafted ceramics and textiles. To taste authentic Puglian cuisine, try the mouth-watering ‘panzerotti,’ deep-fried turnovers filled with tomato and mozzarella. Delight your taste buds with ‘ciceri e tria,’ a hearty pasta dish made with chickpeas and fried pasta, followed by a glass of Primitivo wine from the nearby vineyards.

Otranto: A coastal gem
Otranto, Puglia’s easternmost town, enchants visitors with its rich history, turquoise waters, and vibrant local culture. The town’s impressive Aragonese Castle, beautiful Byzantine mosaics in the Cathedral, and the lively seaside promenade make Otranto a must-visit destination. Local culinary delights include ‘pettole,’ fluffy, deep-fried dough balls served with savoury or sweet fillings. Relish the flavours of ‘friselle,’ crunchy twice-baked bread rings topped with ripe tomatoes, olives, and fragrant basil, and wash it down with a refreshing glass of ‘Negroamaro,’ a full-bodied local red wine.

Grotte di Castellana: An underground wonder
Venture into Puglia’s geological history at Grotte di Castellana, an awe-inspiring subterranean network of limestone caves. Marvel at the majestic stalactites, stalagmites, and other captivating formations as you traverse the 3-kilometre-long route through these ancient caverns. The grottoes’ ethereal beauty and the otherworldly White Cave, a breath-taking chamber adorned with pure white alabaster formations, create an unforgettable experience.

After exploring the depths, treat yourself to the region’s delightful cuisine. Taste the decadent ‘burrata,’ a creamy, fresh cheese from the nearby town of Andria, and savour the smoky flavour of ‘bombette,’ a grilled meat dish filled with cheese and herbs. Complete your culinary journey with ‘pasticciotto,’ a traditional custard-filled pastry, and a steaming cup of ‘espresso pugliese,’ a robust coffee brewed in a traditional Neapolitan flip coffee pot.

The ultimate Puglian experience: Luxurious villas
To truly immerse yourself in the magic of Puglia, consider staying in a villa. Here are a few reasons why staying in a villa enhances your experience in this enchanting region:

  • Charming Villas in Puglia: Puglian villas offer unparalleled privacy, allowing you to unwind in serenity after a day of exploration. These luxurious accommodations seamlessly blend traditional charm with modern amenities, creating the perfect home away from home.
  • Hand-picked Luxury Villas in Puglia: Immerse yourself in the lap of luxury with Puglia’s exquisite villas, featuring opulent interiors, expansive gardens, and breath-taking views of the surrounding countryside or coastline. These magnificent retreats provide an exclusive, personalised experience that elevates your Puglian adventure.
  • Villas in Puglia with private pool: After a day of exploring Puglia’s hidden gems, retreat to your villa and take a refreshing dip in your private pool. Bask in the warm Italian sun and relish the tranquillity of your secluded oasis, far from the bustling tourist crowds.

Conclusion
Puglia’s off-the-beaten-path destinations testify to the region’s diverse and captivating charm. You’ll enjoy a luxurious and authentic Italian experience and gain unparalleled access to these hidden gems by staying in a villa. So, pack your bags, and get ready to create memories that will last a lifetime as you uncover Puglia’s enchanting beauty and delightful flavours.

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