A dream wedding … Do you want to imagine what your seventh love could be like in Puglia?
When my husband to be and I choose to get married in Puglia we decided to spend an entire week there to relax and really absorb the local culture …
It was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.
Puglia, which is in Southern Italy in the heel area of the country’s boot shape, is being called by many travel experts “the new Tuscany.” Others often refer to Lecce, which is truly a picturesque town featuring Baroque architecture and buildings crafted from cream-colored limestone, as “the Florence of the South.”
While these descriptions can give you an idea of what to expect in Puglia they seriously don’t do the area justice. This is a one of a kind place where memories you create will last a lifetime.
Over our seven days in Puglia, we made our way all over the lovely area. We made it our mission to sample the local architecture and culture and history as well as its cuisine – we certainly sampled a lot of its cuisine.
We started out in Bari, the largest city in Puglia, arriving there a little jet-lagged from our journey that began in Boston, Massachusetts, in the United States.
But we found that the local weather really helped us recover fast. The weather was warm with lots of sunshine but there always seemed to be a cool breeze blowing off the never too far away water. We found that same breeze in Bari as well as in Lecce and also in Martina Franca, which is a village that was constructed on a hill that overlooks beautiful olive trees and vineyards.
Whenever we traveled to a new location, one of our biggest anticipations was trying the local food. The cuisine in Puglia is simply amazing. That’s how we were able to try a wide variety of dishes – a few of our favorites were orecchiette with broccoli rabe, capocollo and fava bean curd with chicory. But honestly, everything we tried during our week stay was delicious.
Another great food that we ate several times during the week was called puccia, which is a pocket-like sandwich stuffed with different fillings. It made for a terrific lunch – and yes when we were in Lecce, we even tried the puccia with horse meat. It didn’t taste like we expected, it was very, very good.
Looking back on our stay in Puglia the whole trip seems like a dream. We drove around the region in our rental car on quaint roads with little traffic. We went down dirt paths to deserted towns and visited small villages where it seemed like everyone was a grandpa or grandma
We often went out without a plan and just took various roads on a whim – almost like we were trying to get lost. But no matter where we traveled we were never far from the water and we were always greeted by the nicest, most welcoming people.
Puglia is a place where you can visit again and again and always find something new and exciting. This is probably the last place where you would want a strict schedule, it’s much better to wander and let the area unfold in front of you.
Of course, one of the greatest features about Puglia is its coastline. That coastline stretches for 500 miles and honestly no matter where you are in Puglia you never far from a rocky shore or a sandy beach.
When it comes to seaside locations in Puglia one area that stands out from all the rest is Polignano a Mare. This is a scenic seaside village that has a white-pebble beach and breath-taking cliffs.
We loved our time in Polignano and when we drove a few miles north we came upon another lovely area by surprise – San Vito. This area is less well-known and less crowded than Polignano but just as beautiful.
There was a beach filled with fishing boats that were painted in bright colors and the small town also has an historic abbey that was built in the 10 th century.
One of the things we most remember from our travels around the area are the trulli, which are structures that are conical in shape. They are a common sight throughout the Itria Valley, which is located in basically the center of Puglia.
When you see them you almost can’t believe what you are looking at. Your brain thinks they must have been constructed for a movie set or something. They just look so charming and so beautiful. But real they are.
Of all the places we visited during our stay in Italy, Alberobello had the most trulli. In fact, the trulli there have been put on the Unesco World Heritage list. There are many theories as to why the trulli were built – the most popular are as temporary shelters or storehouses. But whatever the reason they lend a true sense of romance to the Puglia region.
We spent a full half-day wandering through the concentrated trulli in Alberobello and we also enjoyed spotting trulli on their own when we drove through nearby rural areas.
We even came upon a masseria (a farmhouse) with a trulli where we could spend the night. It was near Martina Franca and we will always remember sleeping in that trulli.
Another sight we will remember from our trip are the horses that are common throughout the area.
They are called Murgese and they are jet-black and large and sturdy. Turns out they have been in this area for over 500 years and have been used both by farmers and by the military. We found that area residents are very proud of these beautiful creatures – and rightfully so.
We visited a farm with many Murgese and really enjoyed our time there. We didn’t get to ride a Murgese this time – we’ll save that for our next return trip to the area.
Another great place that we visited was Santa Maria de Lueca which is where the Adriatic meets the Ionian Sea. It is a beautiful town with marble streets and limestone churches and each day hundreds of people visit a lighthouse built 300 foot above the sea to view the incredible sunset.
As we said earlier, Puglia is a place to visit many times. It can never get old.
We will always remember our wedding trip to Puglia. It was so romantic. We can’t wait to go back to experience once again the romantic atmosphere that permeates the whole area.
If you decide to get married in Puglia :
- Be sure to hire a well-respected local wedding planner . A good wedding planner will have contacts at all the best venues and with all the best providers so that you can have a true dream wedding.
A good wedding planner will also handle all the planning details so that you can relax and really enjoy your wedding.
If you plan to be in the area for a few days, you’ll also want to look for a planner who is familiar with the area and can tell you the best, most scenic places to visit.
- You may also want to rent a car to get around in. We really enjoyed our time driving around the Puglia countryside. It is so beautiful and you just never know what gorgeous scene you are going to come across next.
- Finally, be prepared to enjoy the most amazing food you’ve probably ever had in your life! This is no place to be on a diet. Some additional food tips include we got from our time in Puglia: eat at least once at a butcher shop. Yes, that’s right, butcher shops in the area serve bombettes, which are a sausage-like food that is stuffed with various fillings and cooked over hot coals. They can be quite delicious.
You should also try to eat breakfast at Caffe Alvino in Lecce at some point during your stay. This restaurant can be very crowded but it is worth it the wait. The food, which includes pasticciotto, which is a custard filled pastry, is amazing. They also serve great iced coffee with almond milk, which is called a caffe Leccese.
The bottom line is Puglia has it all – from tasty cuisine to scenic Baroque architecture to coastland to lush countryside. It is a perfect place for a destination wedding that you – and your guests – will remember forever.
Just be warned – you are going to want to come back again and again! >>> Contact Us
Based on the story by Sebastian Modak, authoritative journalist “The New York Times”