There was a time when Apulia, or Puglia in Italian, was the quiet region of Italy down in its heel, but I have a feeling that this is about to change.
In case you’ve been living off the grid, Puglia is the region of Italy where two of Hollywood’s top A-listers Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake were recently wed. The level of buzz about Puglia and its merits will no doubt escalate at least a couple of decibels.
The newly weds chose to tie the knot at Borgo Egnazia Resort located on the shores of the Adriatic Sea in Savelletri, a small fishing village near the larger town of Brindisi. The couple could have selected this resort for any number of reasons from its low key locale between the Adriatic Sea and lovely olive groves to its 5-star list of amenities that include a spa, private beach, a golf course and an elegantly appointed hall especially for events such as weddings.
If you are now curious about the area, why not check it out? The ocean may not be as balmy in November as it was in October when the Biel-Timberlake nuptials took place, but the setting and area attractions can be appreciated any time of year. Because it is off peak season, the Borgo Egnazia Resort has a B.E. Special Offer. Guests can book a room online at borgoegnazia.com for 148 Euros ($193.33) per night that includes accommodations in a double room, breakfast and one activity per day of your choice.
These activity choices include golf, tennis, spa treatments, personal trainer activities, dance lessons; bicycle rides and guided walking tours. If you stay more than three nights upgrading is guaranteed and the special pricing is in effect until March 28, 2013.
So after enjoying the resort’s restaurants, activities, private beach, spa and heated pool, what’s next? Well, the nearby town of Brindisi has much to offer in terms of scenery, food, wine and ancient history.
Brindisi isn’t just another coastal town. It is the one at the end of the famous ancient Appian Way traveled by early crusaders and traders enroute from Italy to Greece. It is also advantageously placed on the Adriatic Sea along Puglia’s 497 mi. coast, the longest coastline in all of Italy.
From top to bottom the Puglia Region is an interesting melting pot of culture, so exploring any area is likely to turn up something intriguing. Inhabited for many thousands of years by the ancient Daunnii and Messapians, the Greeks, began settling the region in the 7th century BC. It was valued by the Greeks both as a trading route and as a land to cultivate.
In the 2nd century BC the Roman Empire staked its claim and was almost as important to them as their home region of Lazio. After the Roman Empire fell Puglia was invaded by Byzantines, Goths, Lombards and Saracens, which accounts for some of the richly diverse culture.
All of these ancient civilizations left their mark on the land, including long standing defenses of the region indicated by the number of castles found here. In fact, the town of Brindisi has four castles.
The most famous castle in the region, however, is Castel del Monte, a mountain top fortress in Puglia’s Bari Provence, just up the coast. This castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, features a perfect octagonal shape with 8 towers and 16 identical chambers and many other fascinating aspects to its architecture.
Now, you see why one could spend a very interesting vacation (or honeymoon) on Puglia’s coast near the Borgo Egnazia Resort. Without straying any farther than Brindisi one can find ancient archeological ruins, castles and churches for sightseeing. Dining in the area makes optimal use of the freshest local seafood and vegetables as well as olive oil from local trees and wines made from locally harvested grapes.
It is definitely worth adding an extra day to venture 27 miles farther down the coast to Lecce. This city of just under 100,000 residents is loaded with charming baroque architectural wonders and beaches on both the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. Here and throughout Puglia artisans enchant with their crafts, which range from pottery, ceramics and stonework to papier-mâché and lace.
Visitors to Puglia will find many appealing ways to bring a little, or a lot, of this region home with them. For pre-trip research visit italyworldclub. com, italtraveler.com,charmingpuglia.com and winecountry.it/regions/apulia and venere.com.