Puglia's sunny mountain
Beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters, cliff top castles... summer in Gargano and Salento
The coasts along the region fondly known as "the heel of Italy's boot", offer stunning views and enchanting, ever changing landscapes, from the Gargano promontory in the North, home to many of the region's most celebrated holiday destinations, to the Salento in the South, recently rediscovered by both Italian and international tourists in search of an authentic slice of Southern Italy. Margherita di Savoia deserves a special mention; the renowned spa town located 56 kilometers from Foggia and 70 kilometers from Bari, seat of the most important salt marsh in Europe.
Not to be forgotten, in the province of Brindisi, the splendid Ostuni; with its little white houses clinging to the rocks and its beaches of fine white sand.Whatever the choice of destination, seaside holidays in Puglia have something for everyone; starting with the Gargano with its proliferation of sandy, pebbly, and rocky beaches, stylish bathing resorts, and secluded bays. Such is the cleanliness of the water which laps these beautiful coastlines, that every year, they receive official recognition.
A fascinating route to follow is that which curves along the coastline from Mattinata to Vieste - passing by the most renowned holiday resorts on the coastal highway SS89 dir/B. A favourite road with motorcyclists, behind each and every hairpin bend another section of magnificent unspoilt scenery, characterised by the luxuriant green of the Mediterranean shrub, awaits the traveller. Moments of pure relaxation but also the opportunity to visit important historic buildings, such as the imposing Cathedral of S.Maria di Merino at Vieste, or the Castle of Peschici, towering on the cliff edge directly above the sea.
Travelling Southwards on the SS16 highway, known also as the 'Adriatica', one reaches a number of important towns just North of Bari, such as Trani, Barletta, Molfetta, and Giovinazzo. All with a high concentration of commercial and tourist-aimed services, including lively pubs and restaurants, which attract visitors from the surrounding peripheral areas throughout the day and night, who fill the characteristic streets and lanes which open out on to the seafront. In addition, these towns house a number of fine examples of Puglian Romanesque architecture, such as Trani Cathedral and the Castle of Barletta.
Finally, one arrives at Santa Maria di Leuca, situated on the Southern most point of the region; the 'De finibus terrae', surrounded by extensive plains. Here the vegetation is typically Mediterranean. Here, the intense blue of the sea meets and seems almost to merge with that of the sky. A popular holiday destination with the people of the Salento, but also with a growing number of vacationers from much further a field, the coast is characterised by rocky cliffs, and fabulous sand and pebble beaches. Observing the streets of the town center, visitors can spot numerous 19th century villas. These sumptuous, and amazingly well conserved, patrician dwellings recall a flourishing period in Puglia's history; when families belonging to the local aristocracy vied with each other in the construction of edifices which best expressed the importance of their own personal lineage. In a number of these, a distinctly Arabian influence can be seen. Here, each and every place exudes a special kind of magic.
Puglia Principal destinations
- Canosa di Puglia
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