Puglia Cities and Town


Visit Bari, the centro storico and the waterside, make this one of the best Puglia Cities and Towns to explore.

Puglia Cities and Towns – don’t miss Bari

So you have arrived and settled into your Puglia villa, Now you have had some downtime and are ready to explore. Where to begin? There are many interesting Puglia cities and towns waiting to be explored and discovered by you.

Most Puglia cities and towns have at least two things in common. From the outskirts they look suburban and uninspiring. At the centre is the original old town or city. The historic centre or “centro storico” in Italian. What a difference. From the modern, less than beautiful urban areas, through a gate into the walled centre. It feels like you are stepping back into a different time. The architecture is fantastic, the atmosphere is amazing, churches and cathedrals abound. Even the smaller Pugia Cities and Towns have wonderful historic centres where you can wander around just soaking up the ambience. Take time out to sit at a pavement cafe and watch the world go by.

The most well known of all the Puglia Cities are probably Lecce, Ostuni, and Otranto; there are others as well. However you should not miss the often overlooked Brindisi and Bari.  They have hidden gems within the big city environment. Our personal favourites are those located on the coast getting the best of the stunning historic centres with the Adriatic or Ionian sea close by. Consider Monopoli on the Adriatic and Gallipoli on the Ionian. It’s easy to combine a visit to one of these cities in the morning with an afternoon on the beach.

Don’t miss the small local towns, they will give you a feel for the real Puglia. Close to our Puglia villas are the small towns of Torchiarolo and Squinzano which we have come to know and love. Sometimes it feels like we have gone back 50 years in time and life is definitely moving at a slower place. Read this article on a Day in the Life of a Puglia town  It describes exactly the small towns near us and particularly reminds me of our town, Torchiarolo.


Casalabate, an Italian holiday town

Situated on the Adriatic coast, lies the small market town of Casalabate. Just a few miles south of Brindisi and with Lecce, the Florence of the South, to the south-west, Casalabate is a typical small market town. The population of Casalabate and a 7 kilometre radius is approximately 26000, however this is greatly increased in the summer months when Italians and non Italians alike arrive for their vacation.

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Torchiarolo, in the Province of Brindisi, is located 22.7 kilometers south of Brindisi, and just 5 kilometers from Casa Mare and Villa Rosa. From Brindisi take the Super-Strada in the direction of Lecce and then take the exit for Torchiarola. Once you exit from the Super-Strada, whether you take the main roads or the agricultural roads you will be surrounded by olive groves.

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Bari, a delightful surprise

Previous visits to Bari have left us unimpressed, but then we did little more than take a bus from the station to the airport! Early in May we decided to investigate Bari in more detail. We arranged a guided tour ……

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As we are located in the southern part of Puglia, the peninsula is narrow and there are many interesting places within an easy drive from all the villas. Manduria, in the province of Taranto and on the western side of the peninsula, is one just one of those.

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San Pietro Vernotico

One of our favourite places for a leisurely shopping trip, we can combine supermarket shopping with a stroll through the streets of San Pietro, stopping for a cappucino or a beer in one of the many cafe-bars. Unlike our other local towns, San Pietro does have a long street of shops. Start at one end as you enter San Pietro and stroll along the olive lined street. From designer clothes to jewellery, ceramic tiles and kitchens, newsagents, hardware shops, supermarket Crai, many cafe-bars and geletarias, hairdressers and barbers – something is sure to catch your eye.

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Galatina, city of art

An ancient town, originally a Greek colony dedicated to the Greek goddess of wisdom, Minerva, Galatina is in the south east of the peninsula, 20 kilometres to the south of Lecce. In July 1793, by royal decree, Galatina was elevated to the status of city.

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Lecce – Baroque City in Puglia

The first time we visited Puglia we drove through the outskirts of Lecce, the traffic was heavy and there was no apparent regard for any highway code! Our impressions of Lecce on that occasion were not good and we struck it off our list of places to visit. It wasn’t until we arranged to look at property in August 2005 that we took a second look at Lecce, and discovered what we had been missing.

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Alberobello, home to the trulli

Alberobello is famous for it’s trulli. Alberobello has over 1500 of these unusual whitewashed limestone dwellings, which stand out dramatically against the deep blue sky and create a beautiful, exotic village. The strange looking houses with conical roofs, called a trullo (trulli in the plural), are white washed every year and gleam in the sun against a bright blue sky. Many are painted with both Christian and pagan symbols.

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Not to be confused with Gallipoli in Turkey where the Battle of Gallipoli took place during the first Wold War, Gallipoli used to be an island an retains some of its faded island charm. Located on the Ionian sea, the town is divided into two parts, the modern and the old city which is on a limestone island linked to the mainland by a bridge.

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Although Squinzano is as close to our Puglia villas as Torchiarolo we had nver really explored it (except for visits to the Cantina). A guest entry in the Villa Rosa guest book mentioning Squinzano prompted me to say to friends that we did not really know Squinzano very well. Our friend Mino, the Puglia Chef, is originally from Squinzano and his wife Val offered to show us around.

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