My recent trip to Puglia was a wonderful experience. I had such a great experience, one I continue to share in hopes that I can show you why Puglia makes a fabulous vacation destination.
I have so many wonderful moments and memories, and it’s no surprise that many of them involve Puglian food. It’s hard for me to narrow them down to just ten. But these are the ones that top my extensive list. Perhaps my list will give you some ideas for things to do in Puglia.
1. Walking around the old town of Ostuni. Dubbed the white city, it’s filled with tiny nooks and crannies, alleys and lots of steps that seemed to lead nowhere. I loved getting lost here.
2. Trying soft, creamy, buttery, fresh, burrata for the first time. Heavenly.
3. Getting to see the trulli up close and personal and learning a bit of the history behind them.
4. Watching the ladies make (and sell!) homemade orecchiette on the streets of Bari Vecchia (old town), as they do day in and day out. I also enjoyed eating it for several meals during my trip.
5. Visiting the tiny workshop of an older, adorable olive wood-carver, while he explained all about the different cooking utensils he carves and what they are used for.
6. Meeting my fun, knowledgeable guides who spent time showing me around certain spots and delighted me with stories of their region. I had such a great time with them and they were responsible (as most excellent guides are!) for breathing life into Puglia and helping me fall in love with the region. They each had bubbly personalities and a wicked sense of humor; I can still hear their charming English-speaking, Italian-accented voices. It makes me smile every time.
7. Touching one of the millions of olive trees in the region. Running my hands over the gray, knotted and gnarly trunks. Getting to see the plump black olives dangling from the branches. I won’t pretend I didn’t hug a few of those beautiful, ancient trees.
8. Stumbling across a gem of a food shop in Alberobello where the sweet owners were kind enough to offer me tastings of local cheese and meats, olive and truffle paste on crostini, olive oil and even a sampling of about five local wines. A truly authentic spot.
9. Strolling along the streets of Trani, and both Bari’s old town and Lungomare at night. Most Italian cities take on such a magical quality in the evening. It’s the combination of streetlights, cobblestones and very tall ancient buildings.
10. My best memory I’ve saved for last. Spending an afternoon with locals in their home while enjoying a lovely homemade meal of pasta with speck, fresh cheeses, meats, wine, taralli and chocolate figs that were delivered fresh from the hosts’ cousin. An afternoon of good food, good friends, lots of laughter and wonderful memories.
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