The long and narrow region of Puglia is the heel of Italy's ‘boot’, and the area where much of the country’s globally-devoured wine and olive oil begins life. Perhaps unsurprisingly then, the cuisine here is among Italy’s finest - and the region is dotted with wonderful Italian beaches, limestone cliffs and Baroque churches to explore in between table reservations. Clusters of curious pyramidal-roofed trulli houses are dotted around the Itria Valley, not far from the coast. Built using prehistoric building techniques, the charming fairytale-esque cottages sit among lush landscapes dotted with olive groves, orchards and vineyards.
Visit Bari, Puglia's capital, for its attractive, maze-like old town, its excellent bars and restaurants - perfect for sampling the area's fine food and drink - and its impressive seafront promenade, and head out on a scenic sailing trip
The Masseria Torre Maizza is an elegant boutique hotel overlooking the Mediterranean and hidden within acres of olive groves and it’s our favourite place to stay after a day of soaking up Puglia’s charming ambience. The region is growing in popularity with visitors keen to explore one or two of Italy’s more hidden gems and, in more ways than one, it’s hot on the heels of Italy’s more discovered hotspots. On your Italian holiday, make the journey to wonderful Puglia for a glimpse of Italy behind the scenes.
Calabria is an amazingly beautiful region, rich in history, traditions and landscapes. Long white beaches open out onto the clear waters of the Ionian and Tyrrhenian seas. The golden eagle, hawk, buzzard and peregrine falcon, among others, can be spotted from the mountains of Pollino, Sila, Serre and dell’Aspromonte. Calabria is also a land of palaces, castles, churches and monasteries. The region’s biggest city is Reggio di Calabria, home to the Museo Nazionale di Reggio Calabria, where you’ll find some of the world’s finest examples of Ancient Greek sculpture. Calabria is also famous for its cuisine: Calabrese cooking tends toward the spicy, thanks to the generous use of various varieties of chili pepper. In the first week of September, the locals celebrate the Festival del Peperoncino, dedicated to the unofficial symbol of Calabria - the cayenne pepper.