Well Heeled
Country Life UK|March 27, 2019
Well Heeled

With its rambling olive groves, whitewashed hill towns and expanse of coast, Puglia is the overlooked heel of Italy–except for those in the know. Holly Kirkwood explores the market

Holly Kirkwood
EVEN 150 years after unification, the south of Italy is often thought of as the poor relation to the glamorous north, but, as Tuscany and Umbria become increasingly crowded, smart Italophiles are looking south and many are falling for the rustic charms of Puglia.

Comprising the heel of Italy’s boot, Puglia has, until recently, been a word-of-mouth destination—there are no five-star hotel chains here—and it remains genuinely unspoilt.

Italians holiday here to enjoy the Mediterranean as it used to be 50 or 100 years ago —certainly well before Milan had a Starbucks. ‘I’ve had a number of clients move to Puglia from Tuscany,’ relates nigel Paul Wilson of Puglia estates (00 39 320 417 7907), which sources and renovates properties in the region. ‘They feel it’s more authentic and offers a relaxed way of life. It’s also popular with A-listers who want to genuinely unwind.’

Historically, the region is no backwater— it’s been invaded by the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, normans and Spaniards and, as a result, Puglia’s architecture is a pleasing mash-up of amphitheatres, watch towers, palaces, castles and churches, dotted among rambling olive groves and pine forests.

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March 27, 2019