History, Art & Culture

Puglia has an infinite variety of breathtaking cultural sites

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From Norman to Byzantine influences.

Long disregarded by the wealthy north as a poor agricultural area, the Italian south has an astonishingly rich history. For millennia anything that came into Europe – art, traded goods, ideas and religion, came through Puglia. Just a short visit to the city of Lecce, known as the Florence of the South will convince any traveler that this region is full of captivating architecture. And contrast too: the baroque palaces of Lecce are remarkably different from the whitewashed trulli cones that dot the landscape, especially in the area known as the Itria Valley. The trulli landscape resembles a scene from a fairly tale and has been recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site since 1996. Different again are the hilltops villages Ostuni and Locorotondo with their enchanting labyrinth of white stone streets, and the cliff top town of Polignano a Mare with its pastel seeming to grow right out of the cliff rock. Last but by no means least, there is the city of Matera in the nearby region of Basilicata. The Sassi district of the old quarter has also been recognized by UNESCO . The steep gorges, the cave churches and the warren of tiny streets are no to be missed.

Many artisan traditions are still practiced in Puglia using traditional techniques centuries old. Visit skilled leather-workers, gifted ceramic artists, sculptors and glass workers.

Tours for inspiration

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