Puglia Holiday Rentals | Holiday Homes in Italy the villa specialists
We are proud to offer an excellent selection of holiday villas in Puglia and some stunning sea view apartments
Highlights of Puglia
|Travel through the countryside around Alberobello & count the Trullis on your passage||Visit Ostuni, one of the most stunning hilltop towns in southern Italy, a whitewashed haven with wonderful panoramic views|
|Do not miss Lecce, Puglias largest city of exuberant baroque architecture and lavish churches||Take a boat trip on the southern tip of Santa Maria di Leuca and marvel at the crystal-clear waters within this cavernous coastline|
|Discover Polignano a Mare by pedalo, drifting past numerous beached inlets & onto the majestic clifftop town itself||Watch the sunset from its old town walls of Gallipoli whilst sipping an Aperol Spritz|
Puglia is a diverse region with a perfect blend of rustic landscapes and kilometres of pristine coastline; it boasts some of the cleanest beaches in Italy and it is rare to see overcrowding like in the northern beach resorts. The towns offer a wealth of history and its countryside is charming & picturesque with olive trees, orange soil and pretty white houses - an artist's dream!
Labelled "The heel" of Italy and invaded & conquered by just every major power of the day, it seems that the Greek and the Spanish left the biggest impression to this whitewashed region. The area maintains great cultural wealth with remote medieval villages, coned roofed houses and ports with a distinctive middle eastern flavour.
From the very start of this region in the north and often called the "spur" of the heel you can visit the nature reserve of the Gargano peninsular, untouched, unspoilt & uninhabited. Then venture further south past sandy beaches, hilltop towns, medieval fortresses & conical houses onto the southern tip where the seas of the Adriatic & Ionian meet.
Alberobello - an upmarket gem of a town and capital of the Trulli region, a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, filled with magic & mystery. With manicured tree lined streets - leading up to the main church and steering off into the old Trulli part of the town - where strange conical white dwellings crowd the narrow streets even with trulli shops, restaurants and a Trulli Cathedral which leads onto a large relaxing main square where you can take in the comings and goings of probably the most visited and popular towns of this region.
Gallipoli - please do not dismiss this town from it's first impression when entering. The new part of town on the mainland in uninspiring but park the car & walk over the bridge to the old town where things get much more interesting. This entrance to the medieval island is guarded by an Angevin castle which leads into a maze of meandering white-washed streets, with produce and spices that add a splash of colour to every corner. A walk around the walls of the town is a must as the day comes to a close, rest the legs in a bar whilst sipping cocktails and enjoying the magnificent sunsets.
Monopoli and Egnazia - the first of the two, a pretty and colourful romantic sleepy fishing village. Away from the tourist drawl it offers a picturesque town and local beaches and a typical Puglianese relaxed pace to provide a base for your holiday. The ancient city of Egnazia on the other hand, its neighbour and an important Messapian Centre. With its 2km of walls, some still standing at 7m high is also known for its water here which is tempting and clear - so bring your swimming stuff and a picnic. Just to the south of Monopoli is the wonderful beach resorts of Torre Canne & Capitolo which are lined with water sports clubs & some mouth-watering sea food restaurants.
Polignano a Mare - by far the most photographed part of Puglia and a true jewel of the region. This little town has it all, small coves for a relaxing day at the beach, cliff top views out on to the great blue yonder, places to eat and sleep carved in to the rocks and finally one of the best Focaccia shops in the whole of Italy. Whether its shopping for local crafts, sampling the catch of the day or sitting in a piazza eating ice cream and watching the children play, this is one of our favourites and not to be missed.
Martina Franca - the drive up to this town is genuinley lovely with the olive trees slowly giving way to vineyards and cherry and peach orchards neatly partitioned by dry stone walls and still plentiful with little Trulli dwellings. Once entering this town go straight to the old quarter, a picturesque scene of winding alleys, white-washed houses sitting side by side with Baroque extravagance. Well known for its festivals, in particular its Della Valle I'Itria which attracts people from all over the world.
Ostuni - also known as the "White City", and one of southern Italy's most beautiful small towns. Situated on three hills, it is characterised by pretty white houses, small piazzas with bars and restaurants many with exceptional views. Its old centre, situated on the highest of these hills, offers a tangled assortment of cobbled streets, many of which have arched stairways between the houses. This town gleams like a beacon on the hillside from the view below and still retains its medieval character within is tiny enclave.
Otranto - a popular town for the passegiata around its harbour, which was once one of the most leading ports in the trade with Asia, but now a significantly much sleepier affair. The Aragonese built castle that overlooks the port adds to the towns charm. With its winding streets and crystal-clear waters of the port and beaches, the town ensures a wonderful relaxing day and evening with a holiday atmosphere.
Cisternino & Ceglie Messapica - these two smaller towns, often overlooked, are the oldest towns in Puglia, dating back to the 15th century with the latter having a large historic centre which is amazingly well preserved. Surrounded by expanses of vineyards, almond trees, olive groves and form the base of the Valle d'Itria, well worth a visit.
Top things to do in Puglia
Walking - if you are wanting something a little more strenuous than the passegiata around the towns and ports in Puglia then it has to be a visit to the Gargano nature reserve. Exploring well preserved ancient ruins, learning about the region's flora and fauna or voyage deep into the Foresta Umbra (Forest of Shadows). We like to start (for this 7-hour trek) at the beach in Mattinata, leaving the chairs and umbrellas behind and following the trail up to Il Principe. The purple signs lead the way to the beginning of the long climb through the spectacular valley of the Ripe Rosse toward Tor di Lupo, 450m above sea level. Carrying along on this stretch, overlooking the sea, taking in the beautiful rock formations of Baia dei Merglio the last 3km are pleasantly easy to the final destination of the bay of Vignanotica.
Boat & sailing tours - from speed boats to yachts, self-rentals to grotto tours, the Puglia coastline has something to suit every taste. A couple of our favourites are the hop on local boats from Mattinata, Vignanocita and surrounding areas, these are almost like a local ferry around the nature reserve of the Gargano and takes you to see the many grottos along this picturesque and dramatic stretch of unspoilt coastline. For a more rustic and low cost option, why not hire a pedalo on the beach at Lido Cala Paura in Polignano al Mare - the best way, some would say, to see the town - from the crystal blue waters looking up. Another great way to see the restaurants and villas carved into the rocks of the town and choose a place to go for dinner later!
Shopping - our favourite shopping in Puglia is by far the markets, widely spread all over the region and host a variety of local food, drink, olive oils, fresh catches of day and handmade arts, crafts and clothing. We highly recommend the weekly market every Saturday in Ostuni, always a bargain to be had and the Puglianese love a good barter. The Antiques market in Gallipoli is another delight, on the 1st Sunday of every month, where its easy to uncover all sorts of hidden gems when browsing the stall laden streets of the old town. If fashion is more your idea of a good shopping day out then its best to stick to the larger towns of Bari and Lecce offering a great variety, whilst further north you can find some exquisite boutique stores in Taranto.
Wine tasting - quite surprisingly to most, in recent times Puglia is the 2nd largest wine producing region in Italy behind Veneto. This southern heel is a narrow region where you are never far from the sea and therefore creates a near perfect climate for the vineyards. Puglia is known for its diverse wine, steeped in rich history with a vibrant yet contemporary wine scene which is always surrounded by beautiful scenery and superb food. Flagship wines of the region range from the I'tria Valley to Salento and just as popular and wider known are the wines Manduria Primativo and Negroamaro.
Voted one of the best organic wineries the Antica Enotria is just a stone's throw from the coast and one of our favourites. Dated back to the 1700s and has been recently restored by the Tuccio Family and still operate the business today generating a host of indigenous Italian grapes such as Sangiovese to Falanghina. This place is definitely worth a visit but try to make sure it's an excursion rather than driving there!
Sights & landmarks - often said that the Baroque period and a new age of splendour really put Puglia on the map many centuries ago. Lecce - the region's biggest town in the South and often labelled "the Florence of the south" has the most examples of this most wonderful architectural era which spills out from Lecce in to many of the towns and villages you can visit. Its Duomo, a baroque masterpiece in the centre of the city is truly breath taking not just for itself but also for the setting. We have touched on the many grottos, the Trulli in Alberobello and the nature reserve of the Gargano in the north but we would also recommend a visit to the Castel del Monte. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a 13th Century Citadel and is situated on a hill and a wonderfully restored unique example of a medieval castle with breath taking views of its surrounding area leading out to the sea.
Beaches - with over 800km of coastline, the region offers the largest stretch in Italy and definitely its most diverse. If you are in search of golden sands, crystal clear waters, stunning natural backdrops and a great climate to boot (do you get the pun?), you need look no further. Whether it's either a luxurious seaside retreat, secluded dip after a steep climb, rocky cove or mysterious grotto with Puglia offers a variety that cannot be rivalled within the whole of Italy.
For a luxury day at the beach where you can lay and be waited on, you cannot miss the Coccaro Beach Club offering a wonderful terrace by the sea with a cocktail bar and luxury eating directly to your sunbed or in the exclusive restaurant. Or why not visit Pescoluse beach in Leuca (Italy's answer to the Maldives) and is a great beach for families with its shallow waters.
Food & drink - Puglian cuisine will not disappoint, with a combination of Italian, Greek and Spanish influences meaning it is one of the most flavoursome in Italy. Expect to see plenty of fresh fruit, olives, grilled meat and fish, exquisite bread and copious amounts of wine. Italy is the world's largest producer of Olive oil and the region of Puglia which is said to be less aggressive than its northern counterparts as it rarely freezes here in winter and accounts 45% of the country's production. Famous for many dishes from its little ear pasta (Orecchiette) to crunchy snack Taralli and its deep-rooted cuisine means it tends to be a simple but delicious menu focussing on fresh and local products in the main. The Focaccia here cannot be beaten and if you get to visit Polignano al Mare you cannot leave with out a visit to their Focaccia shop - Pan Per Focaccia - some of the best we have ever experienced.
Events and Festivals - Puglia has a rich calendar of cultural and religious event and festivals throughout the year. From the Gargano running and trekking week in April to the Red Bull Cliff Diving events in July, where Polignano al Mare is the European home of this frightening sport! Most notarised though, has to be the famous "Hell in the Cave" Show - combining voices, dance, sound and lights in the natural setting of the Castellana Caves which provides a gigantic backdrop of a stage inside Europe's biggest grotto.
The arts, museums & history - Puglia is steeped in history and behind every corner awaits another wonder. Over the centuries this region has been invaded by the Greeks, Romans and Moors and each has left their mark on its diverse art and architecture. There is always plenty of great towns to visit from the City of Lecce with its unique Baroque architecture, the "Florence of the South" to Gallipoli and its ancient medieval castle at the old town's gates. If you get to visit Bari its well worth seeing the splendid Italian Style theatre in the heart of this town. The Teatro Petruzzelli is said to be the region's most cultural building and the largest private theatre in Europe holding up to 1500 people with a rich artistic program of plays and shows hosted there all year long.
Getting around and to Puglia
There are many options to get to Bari (north) and Brindisi (south) - the main travel hubs. Fly direct to their airports, enjoy a rambling train journey or arrive by ferry. In all honesty to explore Puglia fully the best way to do this is by hiring your own car. The roads are not busy with the hordes of cars and lorries we are used to seeing in other parts if Italy and it is relatively quite easy even for the lesser confident of drivers. Puglia has some of the best coastal roads to rival anywhere in the world and after the 1st few hundred miles, it is quite easy to take it for granted.
As Puglia is becoming more and more popular each year where tourist numbers are increasing, there are new flight routes opening up all the time. We highly recommend booking earlier rather than later and prices can fluctuate massively.
Puglia weather & best time to visit
We believe the best time to see Puglia is in the spring as it's a colourful vibrant region thanks to its Mediterranean climate and is generally warm. Late April to early May sees the emergence of some spectacular scenery with endless fields of gorgeous wild flowers, in particular the red poppies can dominant the landscape. It averages 300 days of sun annually and therefore ensures some stunning picture postcard scenery.
Puglia is currently a trendy hot-spot and for that reason property prices are high peak season where demand is higher. If you are not able to get away from the school holidays then a good possibility is the end of August as prices tend to be a little lower than end of July to mid-August.
Why visit Puglia?
It is one of our favourite regions in the whole of Italy and we offer some truly wonderful holiday villas in Puglia. In the north, there are sandy beaches and forests whilst in the South, the arid landscape is more reminiscent of Greece than Italy. Around Torre Canne (near Fasano), you will see the largest lido style beaches with facilities that you would expect in Italy. However, a short drive away, you can find your own private cove and swim from the rocks!The beauty of this region is that it is narrow enough to enable you to sleep by the sea and travel inland by the day. All in all, Puglia ticks all the boxes, it is very reasonably priced, easy to get to from most airports, great weather, beautiful coastlines, unique towns, amazing food and wonderful people. It has often been said that Puglia is how Italy used to before tourism took hold.
Puglia offers an excellent selection of holiday home, from divine coned shaped Trulli, stunning flat roofed Masserias and beath-taking sea view apartments. This is all part of the Mediterranean dream, white washed houses, picturesque fishing ports and historic hill towns. With a huge coastline and lovely countryside, Puglia is perfect for that relaxing break with irresistible charm at affordable prices what's not to love!