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Apulia: pleasing hungry visitors for millenniums

For the tourist whose interests lay in religious, architectural, cultural and culinary travel ancient Apulia, the heel of the Italian boot, has been offering all for nearly 3,000 years. The first towns were Phoenician trade settlements that soon grew into prosperous cities expanding greatly under the hegemony of the Greek city-states (“Apulia” derives from the Greek language, but to Rome the name was the latin “Puglia”). Where there’s trade there are visitors.

salad at Ciclososta with figs & pomegranate introduced 1st millennium BC from Asia when Puglia was a significant “Spice & Silk Road” trade center.

The rise of Christianity under the Roman Empire gave reason in the 4th century to an early pilgrimage trail: the path St. Peter walked on his first mission to Rome through Puglia after disembarking at Santa Maria di Leuca. Part one of this two part Hellenic News of America Puglia series (Puglia, Italy: from Magna Graecia to St. Peter) highlighted traditional architecture and the ecclesiastical importance of the region for the past 2,000 years.

Part two revels in Apulia’s rise in the 19th century as the tourist mecca it is today and a lot has to do with hungry visitors. Phoenicia, Greece and Rome were the middlemen for the wealth of the Spice and Silk Roads that connected the Orient to the Mediterranean and beyond. The colonies established in ancient Apulia were evidence of expanding prosperity and mutual trade, especially in culinary ingredients. The Ionian…

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