Tag Archives: visit puglia

A week or more in Puglia doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. There are plenty of great attractions, reasonably priced restaurants, and free events. Enjoy a great value holiday with our budget guide.

Ten things to do for under a tenner in Puglia

  1. Rent a bike and discover the countryside: flat, easy roads transport you to the countryside where you are surrounded by ancient olive groves and vineyards.brunch made in puglia (3)
  2. Try the real Apulian street food: panzerotti, rustici, focacce, tarallini and also frise. Stop by your local bakery; you will not be disappointed by these delicious regional snacks!
  3. Coast to coast by train or bus: a slow, bumpy journey starting from the old medieval city of Otranto on the east coast, stopping by Maglie and finishing at the magical city of Gallipoli on the Ionian coast, where you can watch the sunset over the sea.
  4. Watch the world go by, over a pre-dinner spritz. Choose the right spot in the main piazza in Ostuni, the white city, or in piazza Duomo in Lecce and enjoy la dolce vita2014-06-28 18.37.09
  5. Rent a kayak and discover laghi Alimini: a beautiful corner of Puglia, not far from Otranto, and as yet unspoiled by mass tourism. Shh, keep it secret!

6. Taste the real gelato. Take an evening stroll and taste a cono or a coppetta of amazing tasty ice cream!

7.Visit Ceglie Messapica,a beautiful old town with a historic centre, popular for good, authentic food.

8.Eat,dance and sing! Summer is the season of festivals, from typical music, dance, and food to religious events. Pick the one you like the sound of, or follow la notte della taranta and discover Salento, the deep south of Puglia.
torre guaceto9.Go hiking in the peace of a natural reserve by the sea: enjoy a long relaxing walk in Torre Guaceto.

10. Finally, book a free taster Italian class @ lacanto.it in Mesagne or italiahomestay.com and learn Italian, the language of music, love and art in Puglia…

by Antonio, Michela @ lacanto.it and Maria @ italiahomestay.com

Have you got a question for us? Email it to antonio.lucicesare@gmail.com

If you liked this, you will probably want to read these:

Book your summer course in Puglia!

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Pettole: a traditional Italian recipe

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Here in Mesagne, Puglia we had a hot and good summer enjoying our friends, students from over the world and the Italian good food and a lot of local Apulian festivals and folklore.

When in summer you decide to visit Puglia (Apulia), have a chance to tour the interesting sites by trying and tasting the different Italian caffè & gelati in each place. That is such a helpful and smart idea in order to overcome the heat: discover and taste all the different and yummy coffees served in Puglia.



On your arrival have the first caffè freddo con ghiaccio (single espresso with ice): in Brindisi, facing the lovely view of the ancient Roman port with the Roman column marking the end of the ancient Appian way.

italian gelati


Then start driving up to the hill, and stop in Ostuni, having first gelato nocciola e pistacchio and then a good espressino freddo (macchiato with one cube of ice) and pretend to be a Pugliese, sitting in the square and people watching.



granita caffe


With the right energy, you will be ready to join the Apulian  inland and wondering in the fantastic hilly countryside with its red lands, vineyards, olive groves and magic trulli. Suddenly you will end up in the picturesque and authentic town of Cisternino near Alberobello and already at the bar in piazza asking granita di caffè con panna (coffee slushy with fresh whipped cream), to be tasted walking along  the white streets in the peaceful and amazing historic centre.

Once finished your granita it is time to visit the gentle and elegant Martina Franca, in the lovely Valle d`Itria and ask the handsome barista:”Un caffè shakerato per favore!”( freshly made espresso with a bit of sugar, and lots of ice)

And why not, a second gelato con mandorla e torroncino,  great flavours!

You might think that you had all the kind of coffees, but you are wrong… the new day will start with one more good flavour in Lecce: caffè con latte di mandorla ( coffee with almond milk)…

lecce duomo


Last but not least, you will be sipping and having your caffè in Lecce, facing the Cathedral, part of a magnificent wide square of baroque buildings where the setting is spectacular. The interior is based on the Latin cross and was completed in 1659.


 Let’s recap…

 In Italy at the bar (cafè) you can say: Prendo/Per me/ Vorrei…..con ….( Can I have/ For me/ I would like….with….)

caffè espresso> single espresso

espressino> macchiato

caffè shakeratofreshly made espresso with a bit of sugar, and lots of ice

caffè con latte di mandorla> freshly made espresso with ice and almond milk

latte freddo/caldo> cold/hot milk

Don’t forget: During your Italian holiday when you ask for a “latte”  you get plain milk, or worse yet, steamed milk but the term as used in English is a coffee drink made with espresso and steamed milk, shortened form of the Italian caffè latte or caffellatte, which means “milk coffee”. For example:” Per me un caffè latte con un cornetto vuoto per favore!”( For me a latte with a butter croissant please)

Buon viaggio e buon caffè!

by Michela, teacher @ lacanto.it, Puglia

Read more

Puglia coast to coast

Study Italian in Mesagne, Puglia

Frisa on my mind

Lesson 1 for beginners: Italian alphabet, numbers and more 

Basic Italian phrases: how to introduce yourself

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Here we come to the end of the weekend in Salento!

Last stop: Maglie and Santa Maria di Leuca.

Maglie is one of the oldest centers in Salento and is located right in the heart of this area.
There are two versions about the birth of this center, according to some historical sources the city rose from the ashes of the centre “Petrore“, a fief of Cutrofiano, while according to others it came around to  the VIII or IX century after the unification of three neighboring areas San Basilio, Sant’Eligio and San Vito. From the union of the three villages a new city was born, called “Magaglia”, then Maglie.



Today, for its handicrafts, for its industry and its commerce, Maglie is one of the most active economic centers of Salento.

maglie cattedrale


It is nice to spend the morning visiting the historic center, made up of narrow streets and alleyways to visit the eighteenth-century palaces and churches strictly in Baroque style. Even the wonderful Cattedrale, the bell tower and the statue of Baroness.

After a small snack, ready for the direction “de finibus terrae“, to consecrate the end of this excursion across Salento!

santa maria di leuca


I go and I can not remain enchanted more by the view and now it is as if I listened to the words of Modugno: “ti hanno inventato il mare … meraviglioso!”.

The Sanctuary of the Madonna di Leuca is just opposite the lighthouse, one of the most famous in Italy.

I headed to the port (300 steps… it is also a good exercise!) and I was welcomed by a beautiful and impressive Roman column.

On the left I notice a beautiful cave and I decide to go for a visit!

santa maria di leuca


There are several Greek and Latin inscriptions and crosses, many of the early Christian period. But the Devil’s cave is completely abandoned …

After this amazing experience in Lecce, Acaya, Otranto then Gallipoli and Punta della Suina now I just have to say arrivederci to Santa Maria di Leuca with a relaxing walk through the elegant houses.

Vacanze finite… back to  the school and my lovely students!

by Maria, Italian host tutor in italiahomestay.com, Puglia 

Read more

Escape to Salento: first day

Escape to Salento: second day

Dreams come true in Lecce

Magical white Puglia

Pettole, a traditional Italian recipe

Study Italian in Puglia: diario di un’insegnante


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Learning a new language is always a good challenge to fix a different pronunciation and phonetics. Very often some sounds are really difficult to repeat in order to produce the right native sounds.Sometimes it takes so much time to practice and you never feel confident and enough brave to start a conversation because of those awful sounds.

Dealing with the Italian pronunciation: ci; ce; lo; gli; gu… and all the vowels like a o u e i? Try to repeat the following words:Cisternino; Ceglie Messapica; Torre Guaceto; Locorotondo… what do they mean? Nothing, they identify just four lovely Apulian places. The theory is to learn by experience, and just follow us in our itinerary, it will probably help you to push and pronounce those names in the proper way.

Let´s start our pronunciation lecture: listen and repeat: Ci-ster-ni-no.

You will experience the sounds on the spot and discover that it is a picturesque southern town. Cisternino is so real and genuine, white houses, cobbled streets, small ‘piazze’. But more interesting is the fact that here you can eat such a good meat … more words to pronounce: ‘car-ne’ (meat and not cane> dog) and ‘fornello pronto’ (“ready macelleriaoven”), two common things in this place because they refer to the local butchers (macellerie) where people can select the meat they like and the butcher will grill it and serve it in front of them.




Again, listen and repeat: Ce-glie Mes-sa-pi-ca.

Ceglie Messapica is an interesting place to pronounce and visit, 20 minutes by car from Cisternino. It is a fantastic town, also well known for its great local trattorias and restaurants run by starred chefs. Also here you can taste a lovely coffee which is roasted by a family running factory. Once in the town, you can start wondering in the lovely centro storico, visit the castle and enjoy the ‘piazza’ where all the locals gather together for un caffè or un aperitivo. Great spot for your ‘people watching’.

Book now your Italian summer course

More phonetic exercise: Lo-co-ro-ton-do, five /O/…Oh! Locorotondo: have a very open and prominent mouth towards the front and start repeating it. The “O vowel town” is a third inland local place close to the others. As soon as you cross the old gate, you will  get lost in the Baroque historic centre. Start looking around you at the decorated balconies and grapevines climbing up to the old palaces. Everything  looks timeless, except the municipal clock on the top of an old building.

Final exercise, listen and repeat: Tor-re Gua-ce-to. Uhi…tough double /R/  /gua/ /ce/… keep on trying. Torre Guaceto is not far from the previous places, here you are already by the  beach, surrounded by a wild and scented Mediterranean nature, dunes, beach and blue sea… start cooling down and absorb all the sounds around you…!




Buon- viag-gio!

by Michela, teacher @ L’Acanto.it

Read more

Puglia coast to coast

Study Italian in Mesagne, Puglia

Frisa on my mind


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While getting ready to visit Puglia for the first time, try to learn a few Italian words in order to get more familiar with the Apulia’s history and culinary tradition: masseria, mar Ionio, mar Adriatico, Bizantino, Romanico, Barocco, torre costiera, centro storico, piazza, castello, panino imbottito, carciofo, spumone, pasticciotto… ready,steady,go!

Day One: our first stop will be in the same area of Brindisi Airport, where surprisingly you can visit a lovely Church, Santa Maria del Casale, a special portrait of the Romanico art, built around XIV century, get in and admire its amazing “affresco” (fresco).

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Then, ready to get to the centre of the town, and start our walking from the sunny port, where it is possible either to have a delicious gelato, or start going up the fantastic stairs leading to the Roman Columns, symbol of the town. According to their legend, they represent the end of the Appian way, in the past Brindisi was one of the most important port in the Mediterranean sea, connecting the East with the West. From the top you enjoy a great view over the port.

Day Two: we are leaving the Adriatic Coast, driving on the Appian way in order to get to the Ionian Sea. Let’s stop in the first town on the way, Mesagne, about 10 km from Brindisi. It is one of the first towns as example of Barocco. Firstly, let’s visit the master of the town, the Castle Normanno Svevo, located in the heart shaped historic centre. Enjoy a visit inside to see its tower, court yard, museum, the noble first floor.

Later, get to the back of the castle and take a picture of the beautiful piazza Orsini and its gem, la Chiesa di Sant’ Anna. And following the cobbled small streets come into the most important church, Chiesa Madre.lacanto.it (1)

After such a lovely walk, you might like the idea to have a glass of the local red wine and enjoy the locals specialties made up of artichoke (carciofi), a great vegetable from the nearest countryside and the old ice cream, spumone.

It is still possible to see the Roman’s evidence getting to the only archaeological site, in its peculiar position, under the modern Theatre. Try also to find the nearest Palazzo Nervegna, a lovely palace, where there is an amazing display of the original Roman capital.

In the town you can also find evidence of the later historical time, the medieval one, thanks to the picturesque balconies, Fontana Tancredi, Loggia Balsamo, il Portico dei Templari. Even more interesting is the temple San Giovanni al Sepolcro, built in Crusade Times around XI century, as justifying why many crusades came over Brindisi before reaching Jerusalem.

After our delicious meal, we are ready to visit Oria, the unique town posted on the top of the hill, so rare to get so many like that because of one of the flattest area in Puglia. In Oria is still possible to visit an old Jewish ghetto, flourished in VII and X century. You can still visit the Jewish Gate. Then, wondering in the small streets surrounded by beautiful balconies and facades of the centro storico, you climb to the Castello Svevo, such an important monument because the German emperor Frederich got married.

To complete our trip today, we enjoy a lovely panino imbottito, an interesting sandwich with the local fresh bread reminding of a French baguette, stuffed with mortadella, provolone cheese, salami, tuna and pickles. It represents a traditional old snack.

Day Three: let’s leave the town in order to get as soon as possible to the coast and see the mar Ionio. After less than 40 minutes we are already driving along the scenery coastal road, with its massive old towers, fortress dating back the XV century.

Enjoy the sandy beaches and the fantastic panorama, by also taking over the natural lacanto.it (4)reserves of Porto Cesareo and Porto Selvaggio. Next destination Gallipoli, considered the pearl in the Ionian Sea. In the peculiar circular centro storico, guided by the local breeze, we visit the cathedral San’Agata, symbol of the local Barocco, together with the church San Francesco di Paola and San Francesco di Assisi. But even more interesting the fantastic private palaces we can admire from theirs facades as evidence of the large number of noble people living here in the past.

Also in Gallipoli, as in many other Puglian towns, you can find one more castle, recently restored, surrounded by the port and all the fisherman coming back from work. And if we are able to arrive into the town early in the morning, one of the first stop will be in the picturesque fish market, in fact Gallipoli is one of the best place to eat fish.

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Day Four: destination Otranto, on the other side of the coast, facing the Adriatic Sea. Before getting there, we will not miss a stop in one of the most interesting and elegant town, Galatina, and its beautiful church Santa Caterina di Alessandria, Unesco Heritage.

Let’s drive over along the way surrounded by olive trees and Masseria. In this way, we are arriving to the furthest Eastern Italian area, Otranto, one more Unesco Heritage.

As usual we will find an important and beautiful castle, and the first visit will be in the fantastic cathedral, where it is possible to admire one of the best mosaic floored. The special feature is that the cathedral represents a previous important art to Barocco, which is called Romanico Pugliese, around XIII century.

Once we get out of the church, we will wonder around the town, surrounded by walls, a blue sea, a port and along its small streets it is possible to have a feeling of being in Greece or Spain because of its lovely white houses and balconies.

As soon as finished our visits and shopping, a great idea is to enjoy the local beach to swim and sunbathe.

Day 5: waking up in Otranto, on this day the most sensational feeling will be to get the first ray of sun in Italy, and once blessed we will be ready to continue our journey. Destination Lecce, one of the most beautiful art town in Puglia. Before getting there, it’s worth a great driving along the coast, one of the driving road in Italy, because nature is absolutely breathless.

lacanto.it (19)In Lecce we get in the direction of the centro storico, and we go through one of the three main old gates. One of the most beautiful piazza will be in front of the Duomo. Then, in order to have a better feeling and understandable meaning of Barocco, let’s visit the important Basilica di Santa Croce. And from there let’s find more historical notes, and discover a Roman anfitheatre, a strategic historical point from where it is visible the evidence of three different architectures at the same time: Barocco, Roman, Fascist.

Day 6: in the morning there will be a better departure, such as a cup of coffee without any sugar, but together with a sweet pasticciotto, short bread cupcake stuffed with custard.

We need to leave only because we are short of time,and our wish to come back to the heel of Puglia will be filled with a warm sun and a lovely breeze! Arrivederci Puglia!

by Michela, teacher @ L’Acanto.it

Book now your Italian summer course


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