Bari is the capital city of Puglia and one of the busiest ports in Southern Italy. This amazing city has plenty of culture, especially in the older part of town Bari Vecchia, that attracts the highest number of tourists. Built on the narrow peninsula adjacent to the port, it is a labyrinth of narrow, winding alleyways with over 40 churches and more than 120 shrines. The lights, colours and flavours in this ancient, bustling city are unique: craft shops, old fisheries and historic buildings, old people talking in the street, passing on ancient knowledge. Different populations have lived here over the course of centuries, and each has left a profound mark. From the Greeks to the Romans, the Saracens and the Byzantines, without forgetting the Normans, the Swabians and the Aragonese. There are a host of things to see in Bari, starting with the historic center located on a small peninsula adjacent to the port. Within its suggestive labyrinth of alleyways and narrow streets, this area contains Bari's most impressive monuments: the Castle, the Basilica of St. Nicholas and the Cathedral. Another thing to see in Bari is without question the Norman-Swabian Castle, built in 1131 by Roger II of Sicily for the defense of Puglia. Very close to the Cathedral, built to defend the main entrance to the city, it welcomes visitors entering the old city. The original structure was destroyed in 1156 and rebuilt in 1233 in its present form. The castle is one of the most interesting fortifications in the region, with its trapezoidal keep and four-sided escarpment towers. New Bari is in the Murat quarter, in Italian also known as the Quartiere Murattiano, and contains several significant buildings. The traditional local cuisine is very rich, with ancient recipes handed down from generation to generation. Highlights of the cuisine are its vegetable dishes, local cheeses and the full body wines of the region.
Lecce, the ‘Florence of the South’, is among your must-visit Puglia points of interest. Lecce is home to impressive architecture sights such as a well-preserved Roman Amphitheatre and the breath-taking Basilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of Holy Cross). The amazing piazza del Duomo with its Cathedral, a 70 meter high Bell Tower and the Bishopry and Seminary are all magnificent. The city is also one of the cultural centres of Puglia, housing a big variety of concerts, different kind of events and exhibitions.
While in the province of Bari, it is impossible to disregard Alberobello, a gem in the crown of Puglia points of interest. It is renowned for unique fairy-tale trulli. They are characteristic dry-stone residences with a round shape and also a domed roof made of overlapping stones circles. Ornamental pinnacles of the domed roofs of Trulli are usually animated by symbolic, religious or mystic elements. Alberobello’s trulli are the part of the UNESCO world heritage. A trullo (plural, trulli) is a traditional dry stone hut building with a conical roof. This quirky type of construction is unique to the Itria Valley in the centre of Puglia, Italy. With their spherical footprints, whitewashed stone walls, miniature windows and unique conical roofs, the limestone trullo houses are reminiscent of a bygone Italian era. People of Valle D’Itria started to build their trullo in the mid-14th century – a the building technique still used in Puglia. While trulli are peppered across the whole Italian region, the small village of Alberobello located just 55 km south from Bari, is the most impressive agglomeration of the perfectly preserved structures.
The coast of this captivating town, overlooking the Adriatic sea, attracts a lot of people. It is full of sea caves (le grotte). And also it has been receiving the Blue flag (a certification by the Foundation for Environmental Education that a marina or a beach meets high standards of quality) since 2008.
The city of Polignano a Mare houses an outstanding remain of the Roman domination: the bridge of Via Traiana. The modern art enthusiasts will love Pino Pascali’s Museum due to its gorgeous collection. Thanks to its unique beauty, Polignano has also been a backdrop for numerous Italian and international film shootings such as Beautiful (2012), Five Hours South (2010) and Spring (2013). It's also the birth place of famous Italian singer Domenico Modugno (one of his famous song is Volare).
Brindisi has been known as the «Gateway to the East» since ancient times, when it became an important port, first for the Roman troops, and later for the merchants of Venice. This port in Apulia even today provides important travel connections to and from a long list of sea and airports. The shoreline is low and sandy for the whole stretch of coast, favored by a mild climate. Charming vacation destinations, along with one of the major natural area of the region and an important spa, attract tourism to Brindisi's coastal strip, with many important traces left from ancient times.
Much of the hinterland is occupied by the Murge Plateau that, in the north, meets the Itria Valley, known as the "Land of the Trulli." Cultivated fields alternate, in a mosaic of colors, with large expanses of olive groves, vineyards and colorful orchards, interrupted only by roads and sporadic clearings. Ancient villages dominated by fortresses and watchtowers tell the story of Frederick II of Swabia and the Angevin domination, but even more ancient testimonies relate the presence of the prehistoric Messapian Civilization.
The city of Gallipoli- Greek for 'Beautiful City'- is a pearl in the blue waters of the Ionian Sea. The port has established it as a maritime town for centuries; it still has an active fishing trade. It was a trade port with ties to Orient, as seen in some of the decorations and touches around town. The elegant old center hints at its once important past.
The historic core is actually on an island and is reached by a bridge. It was walled to ward off attacks in the Middle Ages; then the walls were heightened in the 19th century to add the scenic road that allows for fantastic views up and down the coast. There is a lively fish market daily under the bridge where locals go early to get the fresh catch. Just across the bridge is the Greco-Roman fountain, said to be the oldest in the country. The historic center is awash in churches, counting more than 10 in the compact space. The fanciful baroque Basilica of Sant'Agata with an accompanying bell tower behind is the most impressive, while San Francesco is the oldest. It contains a famous wood sculpture of the Two Thieves. The squat castle on the point is a beautiful backdrop for the sailing marina and the sea.
The beaches are known throughout Italy as some of the cleanest around, with colorful rows of umbrellas and bright seafront bars and restaurants decorating them in the summer. Gallipoli still has an active fishing trade yet has an upscale, vibrant feel to it as well. The residents enjoy their strolls around town, meeting for gelato and sipping aperitivi at outdoor cafes. There are loads of excellent restaurants and some nice shops.