The Puglia region of Italy lies in the southeast area of the country, forming the heel of the boot. Some people refer to this area as “The New Tuscany.” It’s absolutely enchanting, with rich culture and cuisine, so you can understand its reference to Tuscany; however, we honestly think it’s an untapped, unique region all on its own. The landscape, the fresh and local food, delicious wine, and beautiful architecture make this a must-see destination. It has hundreds of miles of beaches, gorgeous hilltop villages, and cities like Lecce boasting Baroque architecture. It produces a lot of Europe’s pasta, catches a majority of Italy’s fish, presses most of Italy’s olive oil, and produces more wine than any other Italian region. We were excited to visit, but the best part is that we got to see many local spots in Puglia, which most tourists miss!
Wine Tasting in Puglia
Rather than drive ourselves to try all of this regional wine, we hired a driver to show us around and help us make the most out of wine tasting in Puglia. To start, we drove to Bari, where Giovanni and Maria picked us up. Then, they took us to two wineries south of Lecce. The wineries provided us with traditional Puglia wine, cheese, crackers, and other snacks from the area.
Afterward, we had a reservation for the four of us at a restaurant in Lecce, which looked like someone’s living room. We felt right at home, as members of the family brought out their homemade specialties: ravioli, gnocchi, and eggplant. Everything that came out was undoubtedly delicious!
Visits to Lecce and Ostuni
Soon after, we walked around the city of Lecce. Lecce is commonly referred to as “The Florence of the South” because of its stunning Baroque buildings. The monuments and churches are built with a soft limestone that reflects gold and ivory in the sun.
On the drive back to Bari, Giovanni and Maria insisted that we see the town of Ostuni. We had actually never heard of it, but we were excited to see a town that the locals boast about.
Ostuni is known as the “White City” because its white houses and buildings reflect the sun so brightly that you can see the city from afar. The city is perched high on a hill, overlooking the Adriatic Sea.
We walked the narrow streets and browsed the chic stores. We passed fancy bars and restaurants, and listened to locals playing traditional folk music.
At the end of the day, Giovanni and Maria took us to their friend’s bed and breakfast for some drinks and coffee. The Italian hospitality that we experienced on this trip was amazing. Above all, I think that was the thing we’re going to take away from this day the most.