31 Jul 2019

ENIT Itineraries: Apulia

 

“Apulia” is the Latin – and now English – name for Puglia, a south-eastern Region of the Italy, known as the “boot” of the country. The Ancient Romans considered this Region crucial for trades and commerce with Greeks and all the other people living in the Mediterranean Area, even though its weather is dry and warm constantly through all the year. Infact, ” A-pulia” in Latin stands for “land without rain”. This astonishing Region is well known for its whitewashed hill towns, centuries-old farmland and hundreds of kilometers of Mediterranean coastline. Starting from the north, there is the Province of Foggia, so called “the Granary of the south of Italy”.

Here, the yellow of the mature grains of wheat has charmed pilgrims walking through the Ancient Appia route to reach the medieval shrines such as Monte Sant’Angelo which was a popular pilgrimage site on the way to Jerusalem. Pilgrims travelled from as far as the British Isles to visit the “Celestial Basilica”. Ungaretti, the famous Italian poet, said about this golden sea between the mountains and the coast, that “No place anywhere would have more rights to be declared a national monument”. These wonderful places are near the Gargano National Park, an oasis of peace and beauty. Some small villages on the sea, like Vieste and Peschici, are known as the beads of the Region. These were fishing towns now converted in attractive tourist destinations, with their sand and rock coast, respectively, and their cliffs directly falling into the crystalline water.

Diomede, king of Argos coming back from the Trojan War, arrived in Tremiti Isles hijacked by a strong storm and their name became “insulae diomedee”. From some special spots on the seaside, you can probably hear even now the singing of the mermaids who attracted the sailors. You can search for these spots in Vieste, too, where they are called “cape of mermaids – Punta delle Sirene”.

Capital Bari is a vibrant port and crossroad of Eastern cultures, while Lecce is known as “Florence of the South” for its baroque architecture. Alberobello and the Itria Valley are home to “trulli,” stone huts with distinctive conical roofs, where you can eat handmade pasta, fresh vegetables like the typical turnip greens with Extra Virgin olive oil, tomatoes and mozzarella with daily baked bread prepared all the early mornings in wood and straw ovens. Puglia is wine, too. Especially red wine, matched with the fresh meat and vegetables of the Itria Valley, such as the NegroAmaro, Martina Franca and Primitivo from Manduria, town in province of Taranto, important base for the Italian Navy. But also white wine such as the Castel del Monte Bombino, Salice Salentino and Locorotondo, perfect with fresh octopi and squids.

 

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