Puglia
Overview

Leave it to the basics to gab about their Roman holiday or the summer they spent under the Tuscan sun over their pumpkin spice lattes. Your getaway to undiscovered Italy - Puglia, to be exact - is the top stop for those truly in the know. This remote heel of Italy’s boot, filled with fairytale cottages and mouthwatering authentic cuisine, remains un-scuffed from the excessive tourism that abounds in a flashier Italian cities and coastal hotspots. With clear waters, secluded beaches, abounding olive trees, and burnt orange sunsets, it’s baffling that the tourists have yet to swarm, and we are glad they haven’t. Even when JT and Jessica Biel got married here, the locals played it cool, as the typical tourism is domestic, the kind where everyone knows everyone because they have been coming with their families for generations. It’s all very sciccoso (hello, chic!).

Casual, comfy sandals are your best bet for a hot Pugliese summer – think minimalist Ancient Greek or Tom Ford – especially given you’ll be getting around mostly by bike or foot. Keep some kicky heels on hand for dinners of chilled rose, crisp Italian bread and fresh-from-the-water fish. While you will likely run into some Italian aristocrats exuding trademark effortlessness, Puglia isn’t the place to stress about which brand is best. Break out your vintage finds or casual resort wear and dress for yourself, not for whom you might see - authentic is the theme here. The beaches are more rustic, little more than breaks in the rocky coastline creating cozy coves of sunlight, and simple says it best – think a Topshop two-piece and a crisp white shirt as a cover up. For daytime, relax in a breezy sundress or flowy tank with printed shorts, then swap in a maxi for more elegant dinners by the sea. Attire aside, Italy’s Puglia, will become your new favorite sanctuary. On your mark, get set, brag.

Stay

Where to stay

Indulge

Indulge

DINING

Sparknotes version: expect home-country inspired cuisine, lots of wine (the good stuff), and even more seafood. Read on for the crème de la crème. Grotta Palazzese is set on a cliff and is romance at its best.  Built inside a natural cave, Al Dragone offers an unusual and memorable atmosphere to go with its mouthwatering cuisine of pastas, fish and veal. Sport a delicate white dress to Al Fornello Da Ricci to blend in with the whitewashed surroundings of the town of Ceglie Massapica. Just be careful not to spill as you dive into a bite of fried zucchini flowers stuffed with fresh goat’s milk ricotta (alongside other cultural dishes). L’Aratro offers culture as rich as its classic cuisine, set inside a sort of farm museum in the historic conical shape, in keeping with their motto of “love and passion for one’s own land”. Also be sure to sample some wine here, with a vast cellar supplied only from Apulia producers. The restaurant at hotel La Locanda di Alia is another spot renowned for impeccable presentation of traditional dishes. A five courser here is dangerously temping, so we advise a flowy outfit option to really do it right. In a bright atmosphere of antique feel, savor delish antipasti and fresh fish at the no frills Terranima. They know real deal Italian cooking south-east style, and they even want to share their expertise with food education and cooking lessons for children. Family run, rustic, and relatively inexpensive, ring the bell (literally they have at bell) at Cucina Casereccia and prepare to be escorted through a living room to charming dining area. You’ll really feel like you’re in a local home as you relish your stuffed squid and homemade lemoncello.

Read more

Next up, we’ve found your sunset spot… at Al Trabucco da Mimi, you’ll sit on wooden benches and stumps in the sand, overlooking the sea below (casual chic attire is best). Obviously, seafood is a specialty here, but the seafood risotto meets special praise. Slurp it up with some vino as the sun dips. Consider your favorite classically stylish sundress for La Locanda di Federico to compliment the equally elegant atmosphere created by the domed ceilings, archways, and medieval-style artwork lining the restaurant walls. Try the orecchiette con le cime di rape, because when in Puglia, do as the Puglians do (they really pride themselves on Orecchiette). Set in the stylish boutique hotel just off the harbor of Trani, Conteinfiore has become a mecca for seafood lovers. Don yourself in flirty florals to add to the charm of the buttercup yellow table cloths in this airy, refreshing setting.  

NIGHTLIFE

Although set in a cute B&B, L’Incontro becomes a funky piano bar in the evenings, equipped with karaoke and shows every night. A great after dinner spot, Barcollo is well-known for delicious ice cream, but be sure to top it off with some cocktails to make the most out of this authentic, relaxing lounge atmosphere. Slip into a trendy ensemble for an evening of tasting at the hip Shui 13 Wine Bar, featuring candlelit outside tables to go with their range of Puglian wines. For pre-dinner cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, head to the popular bar Il Covo dei Mori, praised for everything from refreshing fruity treats to classic cultural wines. 

Read less
Explore

Explore

Honestly you will spend a great deal of time sunning yourself, eating, reading books, and eating (said that twice on purpose). Definitely venture to the beach clubs (most hotels offer complimentary access to a few) where you can lie out on the white chairs and umbrellas, wafted by the soft aroma of cigarillo smoke. But for those days that you feel like heeling your hedonism momentarily, Puglia is abundant with cultural enrichment. Take a trip to the old mazelike town of Bari, home to the stunning Basilica di San Nicola. Architecture is very much a thing here; you can experience it in wondrous variety by exploring the trio of port towns: Molfetta, Trani, and Barletta. The first displays a walled medieval center, the second a spectacular bleached Romanesque cathedral, and the last a third century bronze colossus (Colossus of Barletta, representing a Roman Emperor). Hope you like history, cause here’s some architecture continued: see the Trulli in Alberobello, featuring limestone dwellings of drywall construction, a prehistoric building technique characteristic of vernacular architecture. Keep your comfy sandals on cause you’ve still got to stroll around the ancient fortress in Lucera and view the Ortranto, the 12th century cathedral with a gorgeous mosaic floor depicting the “tree of life.” Even if you’re not a museum buff, the Museo Nazionale Archeologico di Taranto features an impressive collection of ancient Greek and Roman artifacts. Finally, outdoorsy types should pack some sneakers and explore the majestic Gargano Peninsula, filled with dark, ancient forests, shadowed caves, shrines, coastal watchtowers and intricate fishing villages.     

SHOP

Where to Shop

@VacationStyle_
  • @VacationStyle_
Follow US

If you happen to stay at the Borgo Egnazia, you’re in luck as you can get lost in Bottega Egnazia for hours. The boutique has a carefully curated selection of refined, traditional and unexpected clothing and accessories – everything from kaftans to sunhats – as well as books, fabrics and handcrafted workmanships.  In the mix of local brands, you’ll find the usual suspects (i.e., Marysia swimwear and Dior sunnies). Let it be known that Bari is the fashion center of Puglia.  On Via Sparano, you’ll find a strip of top designers – so bring on the Valentino, Gucci and Hermes. For those, like us, that crave some good finds: do not miss the quant little shopping areas in Bari. There’s a gorgeous little town of Martina Franca with boutiques like Chirulli and Massa. At Chirulli, you’ll find serious standout Italian designers like Stella Jean, MSGM and Paula Cadementori. and the town of Fasano draws shoppers to its widely touted Cupertino boutique. 

Shop the Destination

Epherma Gingham Bandeau Bikini Top $140.00
Buy Now
Epherma Gingham High-Rise Bikini Breifs
$90.00
Buy Now
Muun Cabana mini straw and striped cotton-canvas tote $205.00
Buy Now
Alexis Carolina Off-The-Shoulder Romper
$298.00
Buy Now
Chloé Suede and canvas wedge espadrilles $395.00
Buy Now
Onia Dani Red White Striped Bikini Top $95.00
Buy Now
Onia Lily Red White Striped Bikini Bottom $95.00
Buy Now
Yosuzi Serpent Diety Striped Pom-Pom Hat $269.00
Buy Now
Jonathan Simkhai Tiered Maxi Dress $645.00
Buy Now
Suzanna Dai Blush And Gold Gumball Drop Earrings $220.00
Buy Now
Kaleos Shawer cat-eye sunglasses
$152.00
Buy Now
Aquazzura Starlight block-heel leather sandals
$750.00
Buy Now
Rosantica Arlecchino convertible tasseled beaded gold-tone necklace $620.00
Buy Now
Rosantica Arlecchino tasseled beaded gold-tone earrings $205.00
Buy Now
Matteau The Square Swimsuit $280.00
Buy Now
Vanessa Seward Dinard painted straw tote $275.00
Buy Now
Zimmermann Mercer Flutter Frill Top $310.00
Buy Now
Zimmermann Mercer Flutter Frill Shorts $370.00
Buy Now
Miu Miu Noir round-frame sunglasses
$289.00
Buy Now
K.Jacques Zenobie wraparound leather sandals $192.00
Buy Now
Sara Battaglia Wave-embroidered bell-sleeve cotton top
$750.00
Buy Now
Sara Battaglia Wave-embroidered stretch-cady shorts
$479.00
Buy Now
Truss Stripe mini woven raffia-effect bucket bag $195.00
Buy Now
Aurélie Bidermann Sioux gold-plated, stone and tassel earrings $230.00
Buy Now
SJYP Scarf Back Distressed Denim Jacket $448.00
Buy Now
Mignonne Gavigan Amanda Embellished Choker $158.00
Buy Now
Ball Pagès Calada woven-hemp and leather espadrilles

$270.00
Buy Now
Ranjana Khan Chandelier Earring $352.00
Buy Now
Mara Hoffman Cutout Tie-Front Romper $195.00
Buy Now
Ettika Pom Pom Choker $39.00
Buy Now
Cecilia Prado Daciana Triangle Bikini $218.00
Buy Now