Salento is the southern part of Puglia spanning both sides of the heel of Italy. The Ionian Sea on the west enjoys very calm crystal clear waters and carribbean like beaches. Along with 500 miles of coastline, paradisiacal beaches and glittering bays, the region is dotted with medieval towns, sun-baked olive groves and vineyards belonging to the Masseria that dot the countryside. The delicious home grown and cooked local food will delight both palettes and wallets especially washed down with the strong and smooth wines of Primitivo and Negroamara.
It is no wonder that this is a favourite holiday spot for Italians yet quite undiscovered by other nationalities as yet.
Marina di Pulsano enjoys one picturesque cove after another all with sparkling clear waters. Pulsano’s old town is also a treasure trove of historical sights.
Be sure to explore the historic centres of whitewashed hilltop towns such as Cisternino, Martina Franca, Ceglie Messapica, Ostuni and Locorotondo. Hiding maze-like streets, Baroque churches, medieval castles and communal gardens, these charming towns are all within easy reach of one another and can be visited as part of a day trip.
History buffs will adore wandering the atmospheric quarters of pretty towns such as Gallipoli, Nardò and Maglie. Sitting on the edge of rugged limestone cliffs, there’s more exploring to be done in the ancient town of Polignano a Mare. Considered one of Puglia’s most significant early settlements, it was previously inhabited by invaders ranging from the Normans to the Huns.
Further afield, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Alberobello is worth a special visit. This enchanting town is home to 1500 white-washed conical-roofed houses known as trulli – dating back to around the 14th century. Matera, a fascinating hilltop town of cave dwellings and buildings cut into the rocks, is Europe’s City of Culture 2019 and is a 90-minute drive away.
Meanwhile, Lecce “the Florence of the South”, is a walkable city of exuberant Baroque architecture, buzzing pavement cafes, outdoor wine bars, and outstanding cuisine. And if you’re looking for a complete change of scene, drive 1 hour 15 minutes to Fasanoland – a safari theme park loved by adults and kids alike.
Puglia’s Passion For Food Beautiful yet simple, the food of Puglia is a true highlight of any visit to the region. Vine-ripened tomatoes, sweet peppers, homegrown herbs, fresh fish and plenty of olive oil define a rustic cuisine that makes the most of wonderful local ingredients.
Order regional favourites including orecchiette con le cime di rapa – “little ears” pasta with turnip greens, crispy pizzette topped with cherry tomatoes, and the creamy custard-filled pastry, pasticciotto. With its patchwork of vineyards, sampling a glass or two of Puglia’s fabulous local wine is also a must!
We highly recommend the following things to do in and around Salento, Italy:
A beautiful natural swimming pool on the Adriatic Coast. With crystal clear waters the pools make for a refreshing swim.
1 ½ hour boat tour for 10 euros from Taranto; shows big and small sea and mussel farms. Hire returning at 6pm – 450 euros.
Tel:+39 335 644 8888
Two lakes – Alimini Grande and Alimini Piccolo, connected by a canal. A must-see when in Salento, shallow lakes surrounded by mediterranean scrub and pine forest.
For 12 euros per head have a wine tour and wine tasting at the local Masseria Tenuta Barco di Emera – Pugliese antipasti are included too. Really interesting and delicious wine and food!
Tel +39 099 533051
Large co-operative winemaking business at San Marzano; 1500 small vineyard owners; often owning only 1 hectare; have their wine made here. Extremely high quality – free tour of the factory and wine making process and excellent tasting offered if booked in advance.
Tel +39 099 9574181
And if you’re looking for a complete change of scene, drive 1 hour 15 minutes to Fasanoland – a safari theme park loved by adults and kids alike.
Tel +39 080 4414455
A restored 15th Century castle within Pulsano’s old town with a small tourist information adjacent.
Pulsano’s old town is also a treasure trove of historical sights. The church of St. Maria La Nova was build mid-800s.
Considered one of Puglia’s most significant early settlements, it was previously inhabited by invaders ranging from the Normans to the Huns.
Matera, a fascinating hilltop town of cave dwellings and buildings cut into the rocks.
“The Florence of the South” known for its baroque buildings. Filled with ancient architecture and traditional pizza shops.
UNESCO World Heritage Site. Home to 1500 white-washed conical-roofed houses known as trulli – dating back to around the 14th century.
Local restaurants are within easy reach of the villa and the following options are all highly recommended:
Quality seafood restaurant with excellent appetizers, a great wine list and sea views. Address: SP122 Litoranea Salentina, 74026, Marina di Pulsano, Pulsano. (Near Fisherman’s Bay)
Tel: +39 099 533 3335
Family-run B&B with rooftop terrace serving local & international cuisine. Try their homemade brownies – served warm straight from the kitchen! Address: Via Rotondella, 16, 74026 Marina di Pulsano TA.
Tel: +39 099 533 6177
Only a few steps away, this smart hotel offers outdoor dining surrounded by a lush garden. Serves typical dishes of Taranto and regional flavours with a focus on fresh fish and seafood. Address: Litoranea Salentina, 74026 Marina di pulsano (TA).
Tel: +39 099 533 3025
Elegant 4-star hotel with an international restaurant and 3 restaurants serving both international and Salento cuisine.Address: Viale Dei Micenei 65, 74026 Marina di Pulsano.
Tel: +39 099 533 6061
Refined restaurant serving classic local cuisine with beautiful sea views. Address: Discesa Vasto, 74100 Taranto TA.
Tel: +39 099 476 4201
An 18th-century manor farm featuring a 4-star hotel and restaurant. Serves traditional Apulian seafood dishes with a modern twist. Address: Via della Pineta, 3-5, 74100 Taranto TA.
Tel: +39 099 471 4444
5-star hotel set in a converted stone farmhouse. Their upscale restaurant offers traditional Mediterranean cuisine and Apulian specialties. Address: Via Santandrea Circummarpiccolo, 74123 Taranto TA.
Tel: +39 099 472 1188
Lavish restaurant offering a stylish selection of regional dishes, including a variety of fresh fish, seafood, and the finest local meats. Enjoy delicious desserts crafted by award-winning pastry chefs. Address: S.P. 141, km 4, Contrada Li Surìi, Manduria TA.
Tel: +39 099 676599
A boutique 4-star hotel and refined restaurant boasting elevated local cuisine. An extensive wine cellar features prestigious bottles form the best-known producers. Address: Strada Provinciale 125, 74020 Lizzano TA.
Tel: +39 099 955 8337
“Fantastic apartment – Stunning sea view.”