Explore the Coast and Countryside of Puglia 'the Heel of Italy'
In the far south on the ‘Heel of Italy’ you will find the region of Puglia, which is an ideal place is discover on sunny trips to Italy. It is less busy and less well known than Tuscany or Campania, but it is growing in popularity with visitors looking to walk amongst the 60 million olive trees that grow here or spend a night in the witch’s hat shaped Trulli Houses, which are unique to Puglia. Lecce is known as the ‘Florence of the South’ due to its beautiful Baroque architecture and booming art scene. Puglia also has the longest coastline of any Italian region, which is home to a number of elegant seaside towns such as Trani and Vieste. As well as cultural and food holidays this Italian region is popular for both walking trips and cycling holidays with quiet roads and rolling countryside to explore.
Puglia is also easily combined on an Explore holiday with neighbouring Basilicata and Campania, so you can marvel at the Trulli houses in Alberobello, stay in the Sassi cave dwellings in Matera and end up enjoying the sun-drenched Amalfi Coast and exploring the ruins of Pompeii - all in a one week holiday to Italy.
Discover Little Known Basilicata and Stay in Cave Dwellings
The UNESCO World Heritage listed troglodyte quarter in Matera in Basilicata, known as the Sassi’s, are a great location to visit during an Explore tour to Italy. They are impressively set into the side of the eroded Gravina River Gorge and have been featured in a number of films due to their historical and unique architectural value.
See the Iconic Sights of Campania from Pompeii to the Amalfi Coast
In neighbouring Campania there are countless attractions to discover on your Explore small group adventure holiday or family trip to Italy, from the colourful Amalfi coastline to the ancient ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum and from climbing Mount Vesuvius volcano to relaxing on the idylic Island of Capri. Here you can read more about Explore's staff travels to unforgettable Amalfi.
Explore the Natural Beauty and Historical Sites of Sicily
Off the south coast of Italy you can discover one of Italy’s largest islands on an Explore trip to Sicily. On a Sicilian walking tour you can climb the largest, most active volcano in Europe, Mount Etna, and walk around the Aeolian Island of Vulcano. As well as the beautiful volcanic landscapes, Sicily also boasts some of the most spectacular ancient Greek and Roman sites in the Mediterranean and you can join an Explore Expert Led Holiday to discover this impressive cultural heritage. The great thing about taking a tour to Sicily is that you can experience the highlights of the whole island in just a one week holiday in Italy. You can admire the magnificent Valley of the Temples in Agrigento; wander in the cobbled lanes of the pretty medieval hilltop town of Erice; see the steaming craters of Mount Etna and visit stunning Ortygia Island on the Sicilian coast in Syracusa. Read more about spending a week on holiday in Sicily.
Visiting Italy won’t be complete without the mouth-watering food and wine you can experience. Italian cuisine varies from region to region, and you’ll be able to discover a wide range of locally produced cheeses, wine, extra virgin olive oil, wild boar sausages, bean stews, freshly made bread and of course gelato, the luxurious Italian ice cream.
Eating and drinking are celebrated elements of Italian life. You’ll get to sample different styles and quantities of pasta across Italy and risotto and polenta are particularly popular in the north. Both Naples and Rome promise pizza heaven, while Florence has a reputation for the finest gelato. Fish and seafood feature prominently on the coast, and the island of Sicily boasts its own celebrated cuisine, characterised by North African and Moorish flavours.
Orvieto has a rich wine making history spanning more than 2000 years and is a great location to sample a glass or two, and of course Tuscany is home to the delicious and understandably famous Chianti Classico wine.
In Puglia the local diet is mostly vegetable based and they absolutely love cheese, and of course freshly pressed olive oil. Here you can enjoy lashings of ricotta and mozzarella balls stuffed with cream. Off the coast in Sicily you must try the Arancini – delicious stuffed rice balls that are a great snack whilst taking a break from exploring the many sights. Wherever you choose to travel in Italy the food and drink you discover won’t disappoint.