Puglia is the easternmost region in Italy. Located in the centre of the Mediterranean, it has been an important junction and trading post for centuries, a bridge between East and West.
Today there are still some communities where Griko, (a language derived from medieval Greek) and Arbëreshë, (a language of Albanian origin) are spoken. Most of the population speaks Italian, although the family normally uses dialect. In the past, people used to say 'Le Puglie', in the plural, to emphasize the geographical and cultural diversity between the various territories of this region.
Our trips are concentrated in the central and southern parts of Apulia.
The central part is the Valle d'Itria, an area of rolling hills and whitewashed villages, where trulli - typical cone-shaped buildings, a World Heritage Site - stand among centuries-old olive trees. Alberobello, Cisternino and Ostuni are the best-known towns in this area.
Further south, the landscape changes, the land becomes red and drier, small country roads between dry stone walls lead to villages asleep in a timeless time. This is the Salento, which the Latins called messapia: "land between two seas" (the Adriatic and the Ionian).
The best-known Lecce, Otranto, Santa Maria di Leuca, Gallipoli, together with the lesser-known Galatina, Nardò and Melpignano, are home to a veritable open-air museum: Greek and Roman ruins, Byzantine crypts and Baroque churches bear witness to a land that has always been at the centre of history, in its condition of periphery and point of passage.
Tourists appreciate the hospitality of the locals, the traditional music (a form of tarantella called "pizzica pizzica"), and the beaches of crystal-clear waters - especially worth visiting out of season.
The gastronomy deserves a special mention: based on the Mediterranean diet, it uses fresh produce from the land, especially vegetables, and from the nearby sea. It is a mix that Italians themselves recognize as one of the best (and healthiest) regional cuisines in Italy. It is accompanied by excellent wine production: primitivo, negramaro and nero di troia are the best-known vineyards.
Unknown until a few decades ago, in the last twenty years it has become a popular destination, first for national and then international tourism. This has created a great deal of anthropic pressure, especially in summer, with harmful consequences for both the environment and the local economic balance.
Traveling through this region by bicycle or on foot allow you to slowly experience the magic of this land, respecting its territory and contributing to a fair and sustainable development.