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The Paradise of Puglia - Your Next Italian Destination

We spent a week in Puglia's Bari province, and here's why it should be your next destination in Italy.

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Far from the crowded, narrow inclines of Positano or the over-touristed villages of Cinque Terre, lies the rustic, unspoiled paradise of Puglia, the heel of Italy's boot, where miles of pristine coastline meets gentle rolling olive groves and vineyards as far as the eye can see. When venturing to this part of Italy, it is essential to stay at a masseria, a type of converted farm estate that has become synonymous with the countryside of Puglia and its quiet yet profound innovation in luxury accomodation. Masseria style properties are perfect for relaxing vacations or romantic honeymoons.

Some of the most picturesque Masseria properties are nestled in the rolling hills between Bari and Polignano a Mare amongst olive groves that slope gently toward the sea. It's here where you can get the best of both worlds; a quiet, relaxing, and luxurious respite from the crowded coast, but with close proximity to the charming ancient towns of Bari and Polignano and their neighboring beaches.

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We especially love this region in early fall, when the weather is still warm enough to warrant a relaxing day by the pool or trip down to sea, but some of the crowds have died down and the unrelenting summer heat has given way to gentle fall breezes and cool nights. October is also olive harvesting season, which makes for the perfect time to learn the harvesting process on the groves surrounding the local masserie of the area, as well as the process of making olive oil and how it is incorporated into the local cuisine.

Within a short drive or train ride form your masseria, you can reach the charming ancient towns of Polignano a Mara or the region's capital of Bari. Polignano offers breathtaking views from narrow alleys that sit on cliffs above the crystal clear sea. You can indulge in local seafood, often fried or served in the form of a delicious panino, and pay a visit the famous Polignano a Mare beach that sits right near the center of town.

A but further up the coast is Bari, another picturesque costal city featuring a beautiful old quarter along the water. Make your way through the narrow cobbled streets to find delicious street food such as the locally famous focaccia Pugliese, or stumble upon a friendly "nonna" making fresh orecchiette pasta by hand or sun drying tomatoes and chili peppers. Wander down to the shore to see fisherman weaving nets by the water and young children laughing and playing along the stone promenade. Bari has an undeniable charm that can only be found in the south, where the pace of life is slower, the smiles are abundant, and food takes center stage.

What we love about this region is its approachability, its honesty, and its uniqueness amongst its Italian counterparts. Staying at a countryside masseria is like stepping back in time, but without compromising the luxuries and comforts you seek out during a vacation or honeymoon. You are able to exist within the walls of history while enjoying the wonders the southern Adriatic coast.

Getting to Puglia:

With an international airport located in Bari, it is easy to reach the region from other parts of Italy or other countries in Europe. Bari is short flight from Milan, and also has a train station that runs efficient trains up and down the coast of Puglia to access other coastal towns. Our little masseria oasis just outside Polignano a Mare was reached easily by a 7 minute shuttle, provided by the property, from the Polignano station.

If you are seeking a unique experience in Italy, something a bit off the beaten path yet still rich with Italian culinary and cultural excellence, look no further than Puglia. The province of Bari in particular satisfies that longing for refined, southern, countryside living, and can be enjoyed long into the fall season months.

For a curated selection of masseria style hotels in Puglia, and to design your dream vacation to southern Italy, contact the experts at Isarti Travel.

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