Puglia has become a really popular option for those traveling to Europe for a holiday with friends or family. But there’s more to the region than just the amazing holiday villas – the region of Puglia (or ‘Apulia’ in English) itself is full of charm, life, and passion. And there are a lot of unique experiences out there for when you visit Puglia. There is so much to see and do around the region and, in this guide, we’re going to give you a small checklist of the things you should definitely do while you’re in your Puglia holidays.
Things to see in Puglia
When you find the accommodation in Puglia you want, it’s good to consider the local landmarks and activities going on in the area. We all like to see new sights and experience new things, so it’s good to know what’s available in Apulia before you look at booking a trip. One of the most important aspects of life in Puglia is food and drink. Both these products are important to everyday life in the region – not just at home, but at work too. Due to the region having a rather large agrarian economy – with agriculture being more important than industry both economically and culturally – it means that there is a real rustic feeling to the area when compared to other parts of Italy.
With the right villa, you can find yourself living amongst this type of society – surrounded by cultivated olive groves and vineyards. You can have tours around these farms, vineyards, and wineries and we definitely recommend that you become involved in cooking while in the area. There are culinary classes where you can learn to make unique Puglian pasta and bread. There are also other dishes and produce unique to the region – such as the renowned Burrata cheese which has its origins in Puglia. It can be hard to track down this product anywhere else so take this opportunity to revel in the delights of Puglia’s finest cuisine.
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Things to do in Puglia
While food and drink make up a big part of Puglia’s society, culture, and economy, there are also numerous other experiences to enjoy. One of the most amazing things you can do is take a yacht cruise for the day. Since it is likely that you will be living in a villa with a number of other friends and/or family, this offers the prime opportunity to split the cost and experience Puglia’s captivating southern peninsula. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is guaranteed to leave you in love with Puglia.
For those more interested in being active, there are at least four top-class 18-hole golf courses scattered around the region. And for those who seek even more activity, bicycle tours of Puglia are a highly recommended way to take in the sights and smells of the region. I would recommend getting yourself some specialist sunglasses if you’re going to do this to protect your eyes. Thanks to the Internet, they are easy to order today. Villas and hotels in Puglia are close to networks of smaller roads that take you deep into the countryside and around the coast – keeping cyclists safe due to the small amount of traffic on these roads.
And, for those with an eye on history, there are so many buildings and locations to see that have their place deeply steeped in world history. With both ancient Greece and ancient Rome having an indisputable effect on Puglia’s architecture, there are so many ‘must-see’ buildings – particularly the astonishing, baroque Basilica di Santa Croce within Lecce. With so much to do, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the choices.
Why Celebrities Choose Puglia
Holidays in Puglia can often bring about the possibility of some star spotting. No, we’re not talking about the sun – but celebrities. Many actors, models, musicians, VIPs and more have been spotted spending their breaks frequenting the festivals and beaches of the region. While it may not strike you as a Paris or a Milan, Puglia offers a rustic charm that many celebrities – often spotted in the busy cities – can find intoxicating. So which celebrities have had Puglia holidays? And why do they go there?
Celebrities Spotted In Puglia
Celebrities come on a holiday to Puglia for a number of reasons. Some to get away from the noise of the big cities; some to buy holiday homes, some to have a luxury holiday Puglia style, and even some for their work. Hollywood stars such as Sienna Miller and Jude Law have rented luxurious properties in Lecce and loved the sun-kissed sand so much that they spent most of their time on the beaches of Gallipoli and Otranto. It’s also an extremely popular wedding location too – Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel exchanged vows in the province of Brindisi in 2012. Willem Dafoe also celebrated his marriage to Italian actress Giada Colagrande in Puglia. Laure Peugeot, the heir to the car-maker, also had a magnificent wedding in the Church of Santa Maria Assunta in Polignano a Mare. The Mirror Online even named Apulia (the English name for Puglia) as one of the top 10 destinations to get married like a celebrity.
Massive film stars like Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, and Gerard Depardieu have also bought holiday homes in the area. Festivals are a big part of life in Puglia – so don’t be surprised to see a celebrity or two. John Malkovich and his French-Italian wife Nicoletta visited Lecce for the Festival of European Cinema in the city. Puglia has also starred in its fair share of movies too – most recently in the 1980s-style musical ‘Walking on Sunshine’ which featured Leona Lewis and Katy Brand. Richard Gere was also in Lecce to a film drink advert with a Japanese production company a few years ago.
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Why Do Celebrities Holiday In Puglia?
While there’s no doubt that the tranquillity and relaxed atmosphere of Puglia is a breath of fresh air from the hectic lifestyle of a celebrity, that’s not the half of it. Anyone who has had a holiday in Puglia will be able to tell you why it’s such a hotspot: because it’s beautiful. Puglia’s little towns have so much character – narrow streets, gorgeous architecture (such as the baroque style featured in Lecce), and a genuine experience of Southern Italy. Unlike many other parts of Italy, which can be overrun with tourists, Puglia has the balance right.
This is Italy the way it’s meant to be seen. Amazing sights, deep history, and mouth-watering food are but some of the staples of the region, but why should celebrities just be the ones to enjoy holidays in Puglia? The region has a fantastic range of hotels – ranging from beachfront havens to 16th-century castles, to boutique hotels to even golf and spa retreats. But, if you’re heading there with your family or friends, it’s also worth considering that it’s famous for its outstanding villas. Whatever your choice though, you want to make sure you get quality for your money when going on your holidays to Italy.
Villas Or Hotels in Puglia?
How do you decide? It probably won’t surprise you to learn that many of us can find holiday preparation stressful. It can involve consistently going over every photo of a hotel with a fine tooth-comb, comparing how close your ideal hotels are to the local landmarks and arguing with your partner, family or friends over the size of showers in the room. When it comes to looking at holidays in Puglia, you’ll find that while there are plenty of fantastic hotels; there’s no doubt that many holiday-makers opt for villas. Why? Read on to find out why.
There’s absolutely no doubt that people enjoy going to hotels. People like the thought of not having to run about cleaning and cooking – for those who spend a lot of time in the house or the kitchen, this can be a very powerful notion. Instead of you tending to other people, someone is tending for you. There’s also structure to the day too. You can plan your day around when breakfast is served, dinner is served and entertainment is provided. However, there are a lot of advantages to a villa that you may not have considered.
Firstly, a luxury villa is more cost-effective. If you’re staying somewhere for a week or longer, the hotel costs will be difficult to stomach. However, if you’re with a group of friends or family, the cost of a villa can be split in a number of ways. And there’s also a lot of privacy to be gained from the outside world. Unless you end up in a 5-star hotel, you’re never really sure if a baby elephant is going to be taking residence right above your room or next door. Or if a group of recently graduated students decides to throw a party in the hallway outside your room. With villas, you’re going with people you know. You don’t need to worry about these sorts of things.