The heel of Italy’s boot, Puglia is an area of the country that feels untouched by mass tourism, and despite gaining in popularity, it has maintained its rustic charm and authentic appeal.
Inland, the countryside is characterised by the many olive groves, some of which are hundreds of years old and are still lovingly cared for by the locals. The fertile hills of Puglia aren’t the only appeal either, and the golden sands, crystal clear seawater and promise of sun make this a unique region to explore.
You’ll discover cobbled streets lined with churches which are more than a century old. While influences from Spain, Greece and Turkey remain following the history of invasions into the country. Despite this, a strong identity remains, and traditional music and dance, and food and drink provide an insight into Puglia’s preserved culture.
If it’s history that you are interested in discovering, the region has a wealth of fascinations to add to your holiday itinerary. We’ve looked at some of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites that the region is home to.
A characteristic landmark of Puglia, the Trulli are a delight to explore.
Some of the structures date from as early as the mid-14th century, and it is the traditional methods used to build them, amongst other reasons, such as the concentration of the buildings, that granted their listing on the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There are approximately 1,500 Trulli in Alberobello, some of which remain inhabited, while others are shops, restaurants, holiday accommodation or stores.
Their form is recognisable across the globe. The limestone buildings feature a domed or pyramid roof. Usually, the structures are made using materials collected from the surrounding region.
At the time, the Trulli were made with a clear objective in mind – to be able to be quickly and easily deconstructed and re-erected.
During the period, the tax on permanent structures was extremely high, and in an attempt to avoid these bills, those in Puglia and the surrounding areas built the Trulli.
Sanctuary of San Michele Arcangelo, Monte Sant’Angelo
The sight of white-washed buildings nestled on a hilltop of the Fargani peninsula will signify your near-arrival to the quaint town of Monte Sant’Angelo.
Here you’ll find another of Puglia’s wonders, the World Heritage Site of the Sanctuary of San Michele Arcangelo. Considered a sacred place, is it one of the world’s most important pilgrimage sites, visited by worshipers, popes and saints since the Greek and Roman times.
From the outside, the sanctuary is an unassuming complex of buildings which conceal the holy cave below.
It has long been believed that anyone who entered the cave would be pardoned and an inscription found inside the limestone cavern reads ‘there, where the rock opens wide, the sins of men shall be forgiven’.
Castel del Monte, Andria
Dominating the horizon of the commune of Andria, Castel del Monte (Castle of the Mount) sits 540 meters above sea level.
Built by the Roman Emperor Frederick II during the 13th-century, its presence is celebrated by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, as well as being a proud feature of Puglia’s heritage. Remaining close to the hearts of Italians over the years, the Castel del Monte also features on the one-euro cent coin.
It is considered one of the finest examples of military architecture in southern Italy and its distinctive octagonal shape with eight octagonal towers form a geometric structure which was unusual for the period in which it was built.
Forest Umbra, Gargano National Park
Home to some of the tallest and oldest trees in the area, the Forest of Umbra is a haven for nature-lovers and outdoor explorers. Some of the trees found here are more than 360 years old and tower a very impressive 45 meters high!
At this unique UNESCO World Heritage Site, you will discover beech, maple, oak and holm oaks, and together, they create one of the largest areas of broad-leaved plants in Europe.
Have these historical sites inspired you to go and explore some of the country’s wonders? If you’re yet to book your accommodation in the area, browse our range of luxury holiday villas, Puglia and begin your search for your dream property!
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