Puglia, the Italian name for this region, is usually referred to as Apulia in English.
This long strip of land, comprising the “heel” of Italy, has a unique landscape devoid of mountains and covered by plains and hills – absolutely stunning for those looking to tour Italy. Farms devoted to vineyards, olive trees, and vegetables are separated by neatly constructed stone walls. The giant olive trees, several feet in diameter and twisted, and towering are stunning.
The area surrounding Alberobello is dotted with trulli. These small conical buildings, first built in the 13th century, are created out of limestone and unique to Puglia. Puglia’s sandy beaches are a big draw to this area; three-quarters of the region borders the sea, perfect to visit when touring this region of Italy.
Puglia’s strategic location made it a target for conquering and colonization by Byzantines, Saracens, Greeks, Romans, Normans, Swabians, Turks and Spaniards, among others. Their influences can be found throughout the region, from the Spanish Baroque architecture of Lecce and Martina Franca, to the ornate cathedrals constructed by the Normans. Frederick II of Swabia (now part of Germany) played a major role in Puglia, building Romanesque churches and castles here in the 13th century.
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