Puglia, as it’s known in English, is the long strip of land in the southeast that makes up the "heel" of Italy.

There's no escaping the historical influences in Puglia. Invaded, conquered and colonized by just about every major power in the region, each ruling dynasty left its mark on the landscape, architecture and cuisine.

From the surviving traces of Roman agriculture and fortified medieval towns to the kasbah-like city quarters and ornate cathedrals, European history lives on in Apuglia.

So does agriculture; Apulia produces one-tenth of the wine drunk in Europe and its olive oil is exemplary. They perfectly complement the super-fresh seafood and vegetables that are the staples of la tavola pugliese.

Clean seas and reliable sunshine have made Puglia a popular spot for holidays, with acres of campsite-and-bungalow type tourist villages, as well as a large number of flashy four-star hotels, serving tourists mostly from Italy and Germany.

The very southern tip is rocky and dry, and there's plenty of barren mountain scenery in the plateau in the center of the province.

The best escape is north to the mountains, forests and beaches of the Gargano promontory – there’s some of the finest unpolluted sand and sea to be found anywhere on the Adriatic.

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