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Digital Subscriptions > Italia! > Feb 2019 > Homes in Puglia

Homes in Puglia

Sea, sun and hospitality abound in this serene and orderly southern region, as do beautifully-built homes at affordable prices. No wonder the high heel of Italy’s boot just keeps going from strength to strength, says Fleur Kinson.

Once a sleepy backwater adored by Italian holidaymakers but relatively unknown to visitors from further afield, Puglia burst onto the international travel and property scene in 2000 when budget airlines first put it within easy reach, and it has never looked back since. A distinctive region with a character all its own, Puglia tends to make a big impression on first-time visitors and they usually keep coming back. Bizarrely, despite attracting so many admirers, Puglia still manages to retain its uncrowded feel and all its unspoilt natural charm.

A peninsular region surrounded in some places by the sea on both sides, Puglia is almost an island. And like most islands, it has a strong, unique identity. Everywhere you look, Puglia is a little bit exceptional. To begin with, it has the longest coastline of any mainland Italian region. Then there are its local building styles, found nowhere else. Round-walled, conical-roofed trulli sprout from the landscape like Smurf houses. White lamie cottages sit like giant sugarcubes in the fields. And while stout, elegant masserie also exist on Sicily, they are more typical in Puglia. Then there are the olive trees. Are any quite as big, twisting and monstrous as here? Perhaps. But here on Italy’s high heel, it’s easy to believe that everything is a bit more fantastical.

The iconic seaside town of Gallipoli

Some of Puglia’s magic lies in its light, which is extraordinary. Bright sunshine bounces off the alwaysnearby sea and the dazzling white buildings to saturate your senses. Sun-drunk, you gaze onto undulating lanes of whitewashed cubic buildings and wonder whether you’re actually in Italy at all or have somehow drifted off to a Greek Cycladic island. Puglia’s Hellenic look and feel is no accident, however. The Ancient Greeks colonised this region thousands of years ago, and there are still Greek words in local dialects and Greek details in the region’s delectable cuisine. Some say there’s even a Greek aspect to the Puglian personality. The deeply hospitable people seem slightly quieter and more reserved than the flamboyant southern Italian stereotype.

THE BEAUTIFUL SOUTH

Like all southern Italian regions, Puglia enjoys a wonderfully warm, dry climate and the kind of outdoor lifestyle that goes with that. Community festivals and the grand evening passeggiata – the convivial walk-around-town to chat with all your friends and neighbours – are big features of life here. Like other southern regions, and especially less populous ones, Puglia enjoys a very strong sense of community and a low crime-rate. People know their neighbours, and look out for each other. But Puglia is more prosperous and orderly than some of its fellow southern regions. Unemployment is very low, and towns are generally very wellmaintained. Another way in which Puglia distinguishes itself from other southern and indeed central Italian regions is with its extremely low incidence of seismic activity. The southern two-thirds of Puglia has fewer earthquakes than anywhere else on the whole of Italy’s bootshaped peninsula.

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About Italia!

True to form, this issue is packed with fascinating features and articles covering the Italian peninsula. You’ll love the evocative account of a visit to Genoa – our cover star this month – there is so much to see and admire, and take a boat trip out onto the Venetian lagoon to explore the forgotten islands, all with poignant tales to tell. Our newest writer Anna takes us on a tour of the Alta Maremma, once a marshy swamp and now the home to some of the finest wines in Italy, while the Po Delta is the destination for a weekend away.