Old news for those in the know, Puglia (pronounced “pull-e-ah”) is the chic, understated European Summer destination for those looking for a more rustic, authentic and relaxing Italian escape. Whilst the crowds, like me, have been flocking to Positano and Capri, the forward thinkers have been travelling down South, away from the overpriced gelato and throngs of tourists with selfie sticks, to this safe haven. Located in the heel of Italy, in the south, Puglia was traditionally a shipping port used by the mafia to import drugs. Now, you stand surrounded by proud Italians also escaping their everyday lives and you know you’ve found the real deal.
These forward thinkers include women who define chic in my eyes, drawing fashionista’s like Margherita Missoni and Yasmin Sewell **. Fortunately, these women brought Puglia to my attention last September, as Summer was fading away and the World Cup was in overdrive in London. I grabbed my ultimate travel companion Nadia, hopped on a plane to Bari, and fell in love.
The major drawcard? Puglia offers the best of both worlds. Whilst your Masseria is nestled in the countryside, amongst endless groves of olive trees with sandstone pathways and overgrowing vegetable gardens, you must only drive a few minutes to the beach clubs for the cliche european summer experience of bottle service and day parties.
A snapshot visit:
- Explore old Apulian towns (Martina, Locorotondo).
- Experience The Petruzzelli Theatre (a historically important and breathtakingly grand theatre where Opera’s are performed).
- Visit Martina Franca (the extraordinary church above, for its triumphant Baroque detail).
- Drinks at Speakeasy Bar, Bari.
- Sunset drinks and dinner at the renowned Grotto Palazzese.
- Travel to Bari or Brindisi Airport.