The region of Puglia can be neatly split into three zones; the flat north plain and Gargano, the heel known as Salento, and the iconic central zones of Bari and Brindisi.

Carnival of Putignano

Published in Puglia Itineraries

This year's carnival is something like number 630 and the comune of Putignano in Bari are proud to claim that theirs is one of the oldest and certainly the longest in Italy, if not the world.

Experts have pinpointed the date of the first carnival to the 26 December 1394 and, while it finishes as many others do on 'martedì grasso', the celebrations start on this same day with the tradition of 'Propaggine'.

The protagonist of the carnival is 'Farinella' who first appeared on the scene in his current form in only 1953.

He wears a green and white suit with a three pointed hat and the obligatory mask, along with bells on the end of his shoes. The colors represent those of the town and refer to a cat and a dog at peace, for at least one part of the year.

Last modified on 14 February 2013

Carnival biscuits of Putignano

Published in Puglia Recipes

Italian Traditional carnival biscuits recipe from Putignano in Puglia.

The symbol of the Carnevale di Putignano is the mask of Farinella. The name derives from a dish called 'farinella' or 'povele' in local vernacular.

This ancient food from peasant tradition is made with chick pea flour and roasted barley and enjoyed with sauces or fresh figs.

 

ingredients

550g of butter, 350g of sugar, 500g of chick pea flour, 500g of barley flour, 4 eggs, 2 egg yolks, grated lemon and orange peel, cinnamon, milk.

Last modified on 02 February 2013

Apulian Liqueurs

Published in Puglia Food

There are many fine liqueurs from southern Italy. Below is a list of some traditional liqueurs from Puglia all with striking colors.

Last modified on 19 December 2012

The Appian Way of Wine

Published in Puglia Itineraries

The Appian Way of Wine or 'L'Appia dei Vini' is the name of a wine route or 'strada del vino' which passes through the province of Brindisi in Puglia.

It departs from the countryside around Ostuni and takes in the comune of Latiano, Mesagne, S.Vito dei Normanni and ends in the city of Brindisi.

This is in effect the ancient wine producing zone of Enotria which literally means 'land of wine' although the name was used by the Greeks to refer to all of today's Apulia.

THe Appian Way, of course, started in Rome and ended in Brindisi.

Last modified on 04 December 2012

Guide to Gallipoli

Published in Puglia Itineraries

Gallipoli is located in the province of Lecce on the west coast of Salento.

It is known as the queen of the 'Basso Ionio', mainly because of the fabulous setting of the old city nestled on a small island just off the coast, closed and defended from the elements and much more.

Some say the island was built by the Venetians properly for this purpose, but even the Romans had built a perimeter fortification.

Today, the island is connected to the mainland by a bridge.

Last modified on 25 October 2012

Alberobello and the Trulli

Published in Puglia Itineraries

The whitewashed conical shaped homes or trulli of Alberobello have become the symbol of the region of Puglia in a way the famous cypress tree road in the Orcia Valley has become the symbol of Tuscany.

So much so when we saw them for first time, they seemed like old friends. Yet, there are literally thousands of trulli in and around the Itria Valley.

Alberobello may be the iconic city, but the trulli were essentially temporary countryside accommodation.

They could be dismantled and the roof elements built elsewhere in no time at all, often to beat the local taxman in times past.

Drive through such towns as Castellana Grotte and you stumble upon them incorporated into all sorts of modern buildings as the towns expanded after the second world war.

Last modified on 31 August 2012

Guide to Foggia

Published in Puglia Itineraries

Of all the names of Italian towns and cities, Foggia could well be the least romantic. It just doesn't throw up images in the same way as San Gimignano or Urbino.

Yet, it is full of history as it sits the center of the 'Tavoliere', an immense plain is as flat as a pancake and historically an important crossroads for agricultural trade.

Its peak (no pun intended!) was in 15th century following a period of rule by Frederick II who liked to hunt in the nearby forests.

From the 16th century it declined, was sacked by the French, rebelled to no effect against the Spanish and was virtually destroyed by an earthquake in 1731.

The Civic Museum chronicles this history and is part of a number of itineraries suggested by the Comune di Foggia on their colorful website.

Last modified on 13 August 2012

Guide to Martina Franca

Published in Puglia Itineraries

Martina Franca, the 'City of Wine', is located in the province of Taranto, just over the border from the province of Bari and a stone's throw away from Alberobello, the famous town of the trulli. All things considered this is very much Itria Valley.

It takes its name from the tax exemptions or 'franche' enjoyed by the inhabitants when Philippe d'Anjou, the Prince of Taranto, was in charge. The Prince wanted a secure town on the summit of San Martino hill overlooking the wild valley.

The 'Martina' comes from S.Martino who built the first houses for the refuges of Taranto escaping from the Saracens in the 10th century. It was the original inhabitants, led by the monks of Greek origin, who first cultivated the arid land.

Last modified on 31 July 2012

Ancient Taranto

Published in Puglia Itineraries

Do not confuse Taranto in Puglia with Trapani in Sicily, or even Tarcento in Friuli Venzia Giulia which couldn't be further away.

Founded around 700 BC, as Sparta's only ever colony, it became the capital of Magna Grecia.

The name is a reference to Taras or Tiras who was the son of Neptune (Poseidon for the Greeks).

This ancient Greek port is renowned for its 2 seas. The 'Mar Grande' extends into the Gulf of Taranto and the Ionian Sea, while the 'Mar Piccolo' is a natural bay contained by the 'città vecchia' and the surrounding coast.

It is a city that suffered countless invasions. All the usual suspects got there but a special place is reserved for the Saracens who 'razed the city to a heap of rubble'.

The present 'città vecchia' is the subsequent rebuilding work undertaken by the Byzantines.

Last modified on 31 July 2012

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