Flanked by two seas, magical Puglia is a thin peninsula packed tight with the same attributes that attracted us to Italy decades ago: It’s an undiscovered land with an enviable quality of life. The octagonal Castel del Monte, a 13th-century castle, inspires architects today, and the historic city of Lecce offers the purest expression of Moorish-Italian Baroque. Weathered stone and whitewashed buildings pop against green olive groves. Trulli are the mysterious cone houses in the Itria Valley, and all of Puglia’s stunning beauty is surrounded by some of the bluest waters in Europe.
Where to Dine
To say that Puglia has Italy’s best food is no exaggeration. It offers fresh ingredients, whether pulled from the sea or picked from the nearest tree. Masseria Il Frantoio is a foodie’s paradise, with a never-ending appetizer spread and grandmothers kneading orecchiette pasta in the kitchen. Ristorante Masseria Spina is slightly more sophisticated, but equally rooted in tradition. Antica Cucina 1983 Ristorante, Le Lampare al Fortino and Osteria Gia Sotto L’Arco offer excellent seafood dishes at various price points. Ristorante Penny boasts an excellent wine list.
Where to Stay
County manors, or masserie, from the 16th and 17th centuries are routinely being refurbished as luxury hotels. One of the most beautiful is Masseria Torre Coccaro, with a cooking school and romantic, wild botanical garden. The Justin Timberlake-Jessica Biel wedding was staged at the sea-facing Borgo…
read more: www.winemag.com