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Puglia Is Italy’s New Wine and Food Hub – Robb Report

The undulating landscape of Italy’s southeastern terrain—the proverbial heel of the boot—has long been overlooked by the armies of tourists that make their seasonal invasions of Campania, Tuscany, Piedmont, and the Veneto. Yet this neglect may have been a boon for the people of this predominantly agricultural region who for millennia received an abundance of attention from the occupying forces of Greece, Spain, and the Ottoman Empire. So frequent were these intrusions that one of the two signature architectural styles of Puglia is the masseria, or fortified farmhouse, behind whose barred gates the owners retreated in times of peril. The other uniquely Apulian structure is the trullo, a conical stone laborer’s hut that came into vogue in the 19th century as viticulture began to play a larger role in the area’s economy. Today, the gradually changing circumstances of this once-poor part of Italy are reflected in the transformation of many masserie into boutique hotels and trulli into rentals for well-heeled oenotourists.

The cultivation of wine has served as an important catalyst for this gentrification of Puglia, which is sometimes referred to as the New Tuscany. The sobriquet is apt, given that the oenological renaissance began with an investment by Piero Antinori, the patriarch of Tuscany’s distinguished and aristocratic wine-producing family. When Antinori acquired the flagship estate of the unquestioned jewel in Puglia’s viticultural crown of…

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