Although I’d travelled to Italy many times before, I’d never ventured south of Rome, and although I knew it would be different, I wasn’t quite sure how, or why...
But what I discovered came as a wonderful surprise: a region that felt closer in many ways to its neighbours across the Adriatic (Croatia, Montenegro and Greece) than to Milan or Turin; and a proud local culture – with its roots in rural thrift, and eking out a living from both the land and sea – that seemed to sit well with the timelessness of the countryside. This seemed to chime perfectly with our Inntravel philosophy of Slow Travel: I found that I could allow the sleepy charms of the ‘Deep South’ to reveal themselves to me, without having to do very much at all.
Here I found a deeply rural landscape characterised by rich, red earth and carefully tended olive groves; an alluring coastline lapped by the deep-blue waters of the Adriatic and Ionian Seas; a simple-yet-mouthwatering cuisine, drawing from the fruits of the land and accompanied by robust and great-value red wines; and, delightfully symbolic of what’s so special about the region, Puglia’s wonderful masserie: Roman villa estates that have been lovingly converted into stylish and comfortable ‘farmhouse hotels’ – each quite unique, but united in their commitment to offering a warm welcome and authentic local produce in harmony with such beautiful natural surroundings.
In short, I fell in love with the area, and wondered why I’d taken so long to get there.