Puglia is a wonderful region where nature, art, history, food and events all combine to create a unique experience.
Borgobianco is just a stone’s throw from the popular tourist destinations of Polignano a Mare, Ostuni, Alberobello, Matera and Castel del Monte, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Polignano a Mare
Polignano a Mare is known as the “Pearl of the Adriatic” and is famous for its old town that overlooks the sea. Traces of its Arabic, Byzantine and Norman past can still be seen to this day.
The profile of the jagged coast and high cliffs from Grotta Palazzese to Lama Monachile make the Polignano coastline one of the most beautiful stretches in the whole of Puglia, adorned with hidden coves and small sandy inlets.
Not to be missed is the “Pino Pascali” Museum of Contemporary Art housed in the former municipal slaughterhouse, which showcases the works of Puglia’s greatest sculptors and artists.
The small town of Alberobello is renowned for its trulli, dry stone houses coated in white lime, with cone-shaped roofs and often embellished with religious symbols or the signs of the zodiac. The town was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. Not to be missed are the two-storey Trullo Sovrano, the church of Saint Anthony in the shape of a trullo, “casa d’amore” (house of love), which is home to the tourist information centre, and the basilica minore dei Santi Medici, which houses the Madonna of Loreto Caravaggio painting and paintings of the patron saints Cosmas and Damian, who are celebrated on 27 and 28 September.
Benefiting from a rural setting in the province of Bari, Castellana owes its popularity with tourists and its international fame to its labyrinth of caves found just a stone’s throw from the town, which branch off underground for more than 2 km, offering visitors a unique experience they will never forget. Also of particular interest is the church in the convent of the Franciscan friars, which houses the Madonna della Vetrana, protector of the city having saved it from the plague of 1691 and celebrated on 11 January with a bonfire party.
The capital of the province of Basilicata, Matera is known worldwide for the historic Sassi districts, the cliff settlements dating back to the early Middle Ages and recognised in 1993 as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was also awarded the Silver Medal of Military Valour for the insurrection against Nazi fascism during the Second World War. The city boasts 150 churches carved into the rock and was named European Capital of Culture for 2019.
Not to be missed: the Sassi district, the Cathedral perched on the highest spur, the Church of Saint Francis rebuilt in 1670.
Lecce e Otranto
Known to the Romans as Licea and today nicknamed the Florence of the South, Lecce is a city of simple and refined charm. A walk through its rich and evocative old town is dotted with facades and gates that suggest to visitors that they may conceal unimaginable surprises. The Church of the Rosary, the Church of St. John the Baptist and the Church of Santa Croce, as well as the magnificent entrance to Cathedral Square (Piazza Duomo) and the former convent of Celestini, to name but a few, are all simply magnificent to behold.
Otranto is a rich tapestry of Byzantine influences, the most notable example being its famous cathedral with mosaic floor extending for more than 1,100 m2 representing the tree of life and the history of the world. A pleasant stroll through its charming marina is highly recommended.
Ostuni is known as the “white city” thanks to the characteristic white houses that line the streets of this historic town. Not to be missed are the cathedral and the gate of the Church of the Holy Spirit, which dates back to 1450 and now has national monument status. Ostuni also boasts 17 kilometres of beaches and the coastline is home to a nature reserve at lido Morelli. The festival of Saint Orontius of Lecce (festa di Sant’Oronzo), the patron saint of the city, takes place from 25 to 27 August every year. Attracting visitors from far and wide, the highlight of the festivities is the “Cavalcata”, which sees the municipal authorities and the clergy parading on horseback with ladies and knights in authentic medieval costumes.