The scenic Salento is home to some of Italy’s best beaches including Porto Cesoreo’s Punta Prosciutto and Pescoluse, a 5km long sandy beach along the Ionian coast commonly referred to as the Maldives of Italy.
Don’t leave Puglia without a visit to the ancient southern Italian cave city of Matera, located on the border of Basilicata and Puglia, which was named the 2019 European Capital of Culture.
One a source of shame for the nation due to the poverty and squalid living conditions, Matera, one of the oldest continually inhabited settlements in the world, is composed of a network of caves, many of which are now sought-after boutique hotels.
Aside from being home of the mozzarella-like Burrata cheese, the locals are proud of their cucina povera - or the food of the poor – a celebrated style of cooking that involves relying on fresh, local produce.
Given Puglia has been traditionally an agricultural region, there’s an abundance of fresh produce and its long coastline and fishing tradition means seafood features heavily on the menus in seaside restaurants.
Needless to say, it’s easy to eat your way around the region.
Indulge in La Peschiera, outside of Monopoli on Puglia’s Adriatic coast, or splash out on a once-in-a-lifetime experience at the exclusive Grotta Palazzese set in a natural cave in Polignano a Mare.
Sandwiched between Monopoli and Ostuni, Osteria del Tempo Perso is also a must.
Masserias reign supreme in Puglia.
There are a plethora of these beautifully restored farmhouse hotels such as Masseria Montenapoleone, a 15-room retreat in the heart of Puglia, which produces its own olive oil and has an underground cave suite.
Less than a 10-minute drive from Ostuni, Masseria Moroseta is an upscale version of a traditional masseria set on five hectares of organic olive grove.
If staying in an authentic Trulli appeals, Trullo Sofia is fusion of the traditional and contemporary and is an easy walk from Alberobello.
For those travelling in a group, The Thinking Traveller has some exclusive accomodation options including Trulli Andrea. Set atop a hill in the middle of a two-and-a-half-hectare olive estate in the historic town of Ceglie Messapica, accomodation is spread over two restored set of trulli and is both luxurious and private.
In Matera, Palazzo Gattini Luxury Hotel is a lavish cave hotel set within in an 18th-century palace in the city’s most exclusive area.