CASTEL DEL MONTE
The medieval castle "Castel del Monte" (Italian for 'Castle of the Mount') proudly overlooks the comune of Andria, in the Italian region Apulia, from a hilltop at an altitude of 540m. Castel del Monte was built by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II in the 13th century. Castel del Monte is built in an octagonal shape, with each of the eight corners sporting an octagonal tower.
CAPO SANTA MARIA DI LEUCA
Santa Maria di Leuca is the point of the peninsula's stiletto heel. The Greeks called it Leukos, meaning brilliant sun, while the Romans called it "the place at the end of the earth". Situated in the prime part of the Salento, Leuca is a paradise on a promontory between two seas. It has ancient origins, with paleolithic traces found in the grottoes that riddle the waterfront cliffs.
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POLIGNANO A MARE
Polignano a Mare is built on the edge of a craggy ravine pockmarked with caves. The town is thought to be one of the most important ancient settlements in Puglia and was later inhabited by successive invaders ranging from the Huns to the Normans. On Sunday the logge (balconies) are crowded with day trippers from Bari who come here to view the crashing waves, visit the caves and crowd out the cornetterias (shops specialising in Italian croissants) in the atmospheric centro storico.
SALINA DEI MONACI
The Reserve of Saline dei Monaci, literally translated Salt pans of Monks, is a very small salty lake where, during the high tide, the sea water flows by a small canal. This protected area is characterized by Mediterranean Maquis and many species of birds, indeed birdwatching is one of the main activities to practice enjoying the Reserve. Mallards, swans, red and white herons and many others keep company to lots of beautiful pink flamingos which decided living here permanently.
Ostuni is a unique town that resembles a bright cap rising up right from the flat plains near the southern coast of Italy. Its whitewashed defensive walls and houses in the old town with many winding streets, steps and beautifully decorated, colorful window frames can make you think you're somewhere in Greece.
Amidst the low hills and limestone ravines of northern Puglia, Grottaglie stands out for its dedication to its historic craft - ceramics. The town is named for the caves that litter the hills and ravines, deriving from "grottoes". Those natural caves gave refuge to the population during Saracen raids and other perils.
The city of Gallipoli- Greek for 'Beautiful City'- is a pearl in the blue waters of the Ionian Sea. The port has established it as a maritime town for centuries; it still has an active fishing trade. It was a trade port with ties to Orient, as seen in some of the decorations and touches around town. The elegant old center hints at its once important past.
Unesco World Heritage Site Alberobello resembles an urban sprawl – for gnomes. The zona dei trulli on the westernmost of the town's two hills is a dense mass of 1500 beehive-shaped houses, white-tipped as if dusted by snow. These drystone buildings are made from local limestone; none are older than the 14th century. The town is named after the primitive oak forest Arboris Belli (beautiful trees) that once covered this area.
The cape of Otranto is the eastern-most point of Italy, which made the city of the same name a gateway to Orient. A once-thriving Roman port, it was a bridge between the east and west, an important merchant port. Otranto was founded by the Greeks, incorporated by the Romans, taken over by the Longobards, and occupied by the Byzantines and the Normans, who each left a mark on the seafront city.
If Puglia were a movie, Lecce would be cast in the starring role. Bequeathed with a generous stash of baroque buildings by its 17th-century architects, the city has a completeness and homogeneity that other southern Italian metropolises lack. Indeed, so distinctive is Lecce’s architecture that it has acquired its own moniker, barocco leccese (Lecce baroque).