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Episode #080: Picturesque towns of Puglia

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This week we head to the South Eastern region of Puglia – the heel of Italy’s boot. Puglia is deservedly having its moment in the sun – with beautiful landscapes, white-washed towns with baroque architecture, turquoise waters, and the iconic Trulli houses.

Show notes

In this episode,  we talk to Nikki Taylor, who lives in beautiful Martina Franca right in the stunning Valle de Itria. Nikki has great tips on where to stay and explore, as well as delicious treats to try, where to grab your aperitivo, and what to do if you fall so in love with Puglia that you decide to move there!

What you’ll learn in this episode

  1. Put Monopoli on your bucket list! As well as its beautiful beach and the colorful fishing boats bobbing in the clear waters, it’s also got a beautiful historical center with lots of little alleyways to explore, full of gorgeous little restaurants, little boutiques, and, of course, delightful little piazzas to stumble across
  2. Staying in Monopoli, as you move away from the center, you will find the town’s colorful houses – painted in an array of colors, both the walls and the shutters – reminiscent of the Portobello Road in London
  3. Puglia is known as the Italian Maldives due to its shallow, warm waters
  4. Much of Puglia is surrounded by sea – with the Adriatic on one side and the Ionian Sea on the other
  5. Some things they do in Puglia are what you might think of as wine no-no’s – such as buying wine kept in barrels, by the litre (known as vino alla spina), and keeping your red wine in the fridge! Even in restaurants, you will find that red wine is served chilled
  6. Even if you’re staying in town, it’s worth hiring a car when you visit Puglia. The towns are fairly small so you really want to get out and explore some of the beautiful surrounding countryside and villages
  7. It’s a great area to go with kids as there are lots of beaches and little inlets with flat, shallow water
  8. If you go through the historic center of Polignano a Mare, you’ll find poetry written on the walls and the stairways
  9. On the 15th August, there is the Ferragosto holiday – a day of celebration, a bit like a summer Christmas without the presents. Around that whole time is when all the Italians take their holidays and the beaches are packed
  10. If you want to experience a full-on Trulli experience, then Alberobello is worth a look as it’s known as the city of Trulli and has street after street of them. For a less touristic Trulli stay (or purchase) head for the Valle de Itria area
  11. Head to Bari old town to see the Nonnas making Puglia’s famous orecchiette by hand
  12. There are lots of baroque style churches and cathedrals around Puglia – worth going inside to check out the incredible detail (but don’t forget to cover your shoulders)
  13. Puglia is becoming a multicultural hub – very popular with digital nomads, expats and people buying holiday homes – for the wonderful food, beautiful environment and slower pace of life – to live La Dolce Vita

About our guest – Nikki Taylor

Nikki Taylor is an Australian expat and real estate expert, specialising in Italian property purchase for foreigners. A 3 x Amazon best selling author, Nikki’s work has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur and Millionaire magazines, and HGTV’s Mediterranean Life TV program. Nikki also writes the real estate section of Italy Magazine.
Residing in Puglia, you’ll find her enjoying “la dolce vita” with her husband and two italo-australiano bambinos. To find out more and join Nikki’s best selling Italian property purchase program visit: www.italy-propertyconsulting.com.

How Nikki can help you find your dream home

Places mentioned in the show

  • Monopoli – a coastal town in Puglia, hone to the Baroque Monopoli Cathedral
  • Ostuni – another gorgeous town in Puglia, so famous for its white-washed houses that it is known as the white city – la Città Bianca
  • Masseria Conte – wonderful agriturismo in the Fasano area
  • Cala Porta Vecchia – tiny beach with crystal clear, turquoise waters
  • Martina Franca – a town in Puglia, with a charming old quarter full of winding alleys and white-washed houses
  • Valle de Itria – area in Puglia where you’ll find the towns of Martina Franca, Locorotondo, Cisternino and Ceglie Messapica (and lot’s of Trulli)
  • Polignano a Mare – beautiful old town with dramatic cliffside – wonderful in the summertime but very quiet offseason
  • Grotta Palazzesea famous restaurant cut into the cliff (though the view is definitely thought to be better than the food)
  • Alberobello  – a town known as the city of Trulli
  • Bari – capital city of Puglia
  • Panzerotti Luini – famous shop in Milan selling panzerotti
  • Vini and Panini – great place for aperativo in Monopoli
  • Carolo Quinto – restaurant in Monopoli, near the castle and by the sea for a beautiful aperitivo setting

Food and Drink

  • Bombette – translating to ‘little bombs’, these are little skewers of meat wrapped around cheese. Puglia’s version of Capocollo
  • Primitivo Amabile/Primitivo di Manduria – wine from the Puglia
  • vino alla spina – wine kept in barrels that you buy by the litre
  • focaccia – a flat oven-baked bread
  • orecchiette – pasta from Puglia that is shaped like a little ear, hence the name
  • panzerotto – a small version of the calzone/closed pizza, but cooked in olive oil. Originating in Puglia in the 16th century as peasant food, it’s a favorite all over Italy
  • Aperol spritz – the quintessential Italian aperativo
  • stuzzichini – a variety of delicious bites to have with your aperitivo

Resources

  • trulli houses – a traditional stone hut with a conical roof, unique to Puglia
  • masseria  – is a fortified farmhouse or country house on an estate
  • borghi più belli d’italia – an association of small Italian towns of historical interest

Resources from Untold Italy

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Transcript

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