Unknown Destinations

Puglia

Puglia is Italy’s ascendant region, a place where savvy travellers bored or worn down by the crowds of Campania and Tuscany escape for something a bit less frenetic and manicured. Top of the list for prospective newcomers is the food. Puglia’s cucina povera is about as earthy as Italian cuisine gets without eating it straight out of the soil. Then there’s the exuberant architecture, best summarised by the word ‘baroque’ and exhibited in all its finery in the glittering ‘Florence of the South’, Lecce, and its smaller sibling, Gallipoli.

With the longest coastline of any region in mainland Italy, Puglia is larger than many people realise. In the north, the spur of land sticking out into the Adriatic is occupied by the balmy microclimates of the Gargano peninsula, a kind of miniature Amalfi with fewer poseurs. The Italian boot’s ‘stiletto’ hosts the land of Salento, a dry scrubby region famous for its wines, and bloodthirsty Greek and Turkish history. In between lies the Valle d’Itria, a karstic depression populated by vastly contrasting medieval towns that have little in common apart from their haunting beauty.

Of the larger cities, Brindisi, an erstwhile Roman settlement, is one of the major departure points for Greece (by ferry), while Puglia’s largest metropolis, Bari has a university and trendier inclinations.

Monte Argentario

The Argentario, in the heart of Maremma, the charming Tuscan coast surrounded by beautiful clear and pristine beaches. Horse trails, beaches, prehistoric monuments dating back to the Etruscans, the WWF Uccellina Park, a unique wildlife in the world and a Enogastronomy became an international reference.

Monte Argentario is a beachfront haven that has long been a popular summer destination for Romans and Tuscans alike The magnificent rock formation that juts skywards is off the coast of southern Tuscany. This region includes Porto Ercole, Orbetello, Porto Santo Stefano and, across the harbor on the mainland, Ansedonia. The high, rocky terrain of Monte Argentario is closest to wilderness in southern Tuscany. Its interior is mountainous; reaching 635m at its highest point, and the coast is divided into headlands, bays and shingle beaches. Much of the area is still uninhabited scrub and woodland.