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Finally my new project: “Around Puglia” has started this week! How exciting!!

If you haven’t read what is “Around Puglia Project”, please read this first→ “Around Puglia Project”

Anyhow, if you already know what is this project about and if you are still reading this post, you must be one of the Puglia lovers or you have a bucket list to visit Puglia in the near future or years later.

Here, my project started with Lecce as I said.

I caught a train from Barletta station to Lecce directly in the afternoon. It was about 2 hours ride to Lecce, and it costs about 9-10Euro if you are lucky!

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Lecce station

From Lecce station, you need to walk about 15 minutes, always straight to the historical city centre.

(Little bit of) History

Lecce was once called “Lupiae”, which is a tree, symbol of Lecce. Before people started planning Olive trees around the city, Lecce was surrounded by Lupiae trees. Though they didn’t make a lot of fruits like Olive trees, people planted Olive trees in the past. If you go to Sant’Oronzo plaza in the city centre, you can still see the Lupiae tree on the pavement with the mosaic art.

Lecce has more than 2000 years of history, a lot before Roman came. It was the land of Messapians tribes. People from current Crete came to Puglia as the first settler. Before going to the history of Lecce, Puglia had Messapians in south, Daunians in north (foggia area) and Peucetians in middle (Murgia, Bari area).

Romans came to Lecce around 2nd century. Brindisi, the nearest port from Lecce is the last point of “Via Appia”. Famous longest street that the Romans made.

Lecce has Roman amphitheatre, currently underground estimated-30,000Hector-huge Roman terme, also foro Romano (Roman forum). You see, Lecce was one of the most important city in the Roman world!

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Roman amphitheatre

Lecce is also full of Baroque arts, and that is why it’s called “Firenze in South”.

Most famous “Barocco Leccese” architecture is, Basilicata di Santa Croce.

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Basilicata di Santa Croce. Tris is 2 year a ago and now the facade is completely closed to public.

Though currently they are fixing its facade, and apparently it takes at least few years. If you go to the left side of basilicata, you see a screen. Over there you can make a booking to see the facade from close by!

Please also take a close look on the top circle window. There are many pomegranates, many angels, grapes and somehow lotus flowers. Apparently that is called Lecce Baroque style. In fact, if you enter the basilicata, you will see the same things 🙂

Here is the Duomo of Lecce, with their city Saint patron, Sant’Oronzo in the middle.

Lecce also had a part of Hebrew area in the historical centre, which is actually next to Basilicata di Santa Croce. If you want to know more about the history, you can visit Palazzo Taurino next to the Basilicata, which was the synagogue.

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Water bath for purification in synagogue

Where and what to eat

Once you arrived at Lecce, you need to try these things:

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My night tour guide, Adele from InfoTab

You should definitely try a coffee with almond milk (Caffè Leccese) and pasticciotto Leccese!

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Pasticciotto is a typical dessert from Lecce with cream inside! At Bar Alvino, famous bar in Piazza Sant’Oronzo!

If you have no time to sit and eat, you can try Rustico Leccese. It’s a savoury pie with beciamella sauce with tomatoes and mozzarella!

If you have a chance to sit and eat at Lecce, try these restaurants which are recommended by my Leccese friend!

  1. Trattoria Nonna Tetti: Piazzetta Regina Maria, 17
  2. Dall’antiquario:Via Ludovico Maremonti 3, Piazzetta Santa Chiara
  3. La torre di merlino: Via Giambattista del Tufo 10
  4. La trattoria le zie: Via Colonnello Archimede Costadura 19
  5. L’osteria degli spiriti : Via Cesare Battisti 4, 73100, Lecce, Italy

I firstly went to Trattoria Nonna Tetti but it was fully booked so I went to Dall’antiquario for dinner, and I tried negroamaro (Typical red wine from Salento area) and “Taieddhra”  which is the dish with potato, rice and zucchini cooked in oven.

Service was bit slot but that is Puglia. Instead I really enjoyed conversation with the family who owns this restaurant!

If you want to try the pasticciotto I said before, try Bar Alvino at Piazza Sant’Oronzo. Get in early or no pasticciotto!

My friend also suggested best Gelateria in town. It’s not in historical centre, but it’s not that far. Please try Baldieri at Piazza Mazzini! The best gelato in Lecce!

If you are wine lover, try Mamma Elvira at Via Umberto I 19!

Something traditional? 

Lecce is the city of “Cartapesta”.

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Cartapesta artist Carmen who is performing at Palazzo Taurino

They use a paper or pulp to create the dolls for religious motives and as well as an art. Most famous festivals that cartapesta works for is Carnivals! Have you seen it?!

If you would like a tour in Lecce, Info point at Piazza Sant’Oronzo can organise it in Italian and English for 10Euro/person.

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Infopoint at Piazza Sant’Oronzo

Otherwise you can go to Infotab which I asked for a night tour. Also 10Euro/person in Italian and English. If you want to see Hebrew museum, another 3Euro for entrance!

Lecce is a wonderful city. I have visited many times but every time I fell in love more deeply. It has the history, arts, culture, food and kind people! So..COME TO VISIT US! 🙂

Need a help to organise your trip in Puglia? Reservation at restaurant or booking a tour guide? Contact me via hello@lifeinpugliatravel.com! 🙂

 

Next stop: Ostuni, the White City! 

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Hi guys!

Finally we are in September, and I present you my new project: “Around Puglia“!!

This month and probably October, I will travel around Puglia, to share more beauty of this place to you. Learning about local artisans, traditions, nice restaurants to go, typical products from this wonderful region, as well as the local spots that is not on the lonely planets! 😉

I’m starting off from Lecce: “The Florence in the South”. Why it has this name? You will find out tomorrow! 🙂

So..stay tuned!!!

みなさん、こんにちは!

9月10月は、「アラウンド・プーリア」というプロジェクトを決行します!

このプロジェクトは、もちろんみなさんにもっとプーリアを見ていただきたい、知っていただきたいという目的です。歴史や観光地のみならず、ガイドブックに載っていないローカルスポットをご案内していきます!

 

Ciao!

Before you come to Puglia and get to know about this beautiful place, do you know how many dialects or languages in Italy?

First time when I moved to Italy from Australia (yes I lived in Australia for years too), I went to Firenze/Florence for a language course because language schools in Puglia aren’t accepted by my Japanese embassy (long story). Obviously if you are EU citizen, you can attend at these schools but if you are non-EU citizen, normally you won’t be accepted to obtain student visa from your embassy..what a shame.

Anyhow, I was in Firenze and Italian is Toscany language. Let’s put this way: it was established as a standard Italian based on Toscany accent.

As you know, before Italia became a united country, there were so many different kingdoms. Puglia was under many different kinds of countries: France, Spain Kingdom of Sicily, Kingdom of Naples: Yes I’m already confused.

This was not only in Puglia. Every part of Italy was occupied by other countries or kingdoms therefore our famous dialects and never-ending languages were born.

Obviously Puglia has many influences from these kingdom period, as well as close by countries such as Albania and Greece. Greece had a huge influence in Puglia during the Magna Grecia (“Great Greek”). Taranto city and province became one of the biggest colony of Magna Grecia, and therefore there are still people who speaks Greek in Puglia.

I personally don’t know how many dialects or languages existed in Italy. Some says 600, and some says more than 1000. Who knows.

In Puglia, if you go to next city (literally 5-10km away), they speak different dialects, and you won’t understand any more. There are still similarities but not exactly same! It is so cool to learn all the dialects and languages one day.. 🙂

Here I found a cool youtube video about languages in Italy. If you look at it, you see how different each languages/dialects are! 🙂

Have a look!

 

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From the movie “Benvenuti al Sud” (photo from wikipedia)

“Quando viene a Napoli piange due volte, quando viene e quando parte….”

This quote, I found it in the movie called “Benvenuti al Sud”. It’s my favourite Italian movie and even if you don’t live in South of Italy, you will understand the feeling of living in South. This quote means that when a stranger comes to the south (in this quote, Naples) they cry twice, once when they arrive and once when they have to leave. This perfectly sums up the feelings that I have for Southern Italy.

Nowadays, I keep getting this question from any nationalities:

Is Puglia and Southern Italy safe enough to travel or quite dangerous?

 

Well, first of all, I totally agree that it can be dangerous.

BUT..this does not mean only Southern Italy is dangerous. It is dangerous to travel anywhere nowadays.

Everyone asks me if it’s safe to live in Puglia. So far, I lived in Florence for 6 month for language school, and I travelled through Italy, including Naples alone. Puglia: I feel most safe. Florence has too many tourists and everyday some friends told me the story that they are stoled money, passport and such. In Puglia, so far, I’ve never felt so dangerous. Yes I don’t leave my bag to get a coffee. I don’t leave my laptop with car window open. I don’t walk around after midnight alone. Obviously NO! But I walk around city with my bag wide open which I couldn’t do it in Florence or Rome.

So please don’t worry about coming to Puglia. It might not clean as other cities in northern Europe but instead we have the kind, warm and open-hearted people! You might not love it at the first sight but you will fall in love before you leave this beautiful place! 🙂

 

Ciao! I’m Yurie, your travel designer for destination Puglia! How is your summer/winter holidays going? 🙂 Puglia is still super hot but nowadays we rarely see the days go over 40 degree (Grazie a Dio!)!

Last weekend, me and my partner was near Itria Valley where there are many “trulli”!

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“Trulli” at Alberobello

They are so cute and tiny, and they didn’t use any mortar to built this houses. One of the theory is: to literally demolish the house when there was a notice for the tax payment. Here is the story from this website I learnt about Trulli:

“The nobility of the time imposed heavy taxes on any permanent structure. Thus, the theory goes that the peasant families, not able to bear the burden of this tax, built their dwellings so that they could be literally demolished at a moments notice! Because a conical roof depends largely on the ‘topmost stone to prevent the roof from caving in, the peasant owner was able to literally demolish their house simply by pulling this stone out! (from Trullipuglia.com)”

It does sounds like Italian. They are so cheeky to avoid tax payments! 😉

Anyhow, these trulli in Alberobello area became Unesco World Heritage, and there are many tourists from all around the world every year!

Do you want to see what it’s look like inside? 🙂 Here are some from our friend’s trulli!

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They are tiny..I do feel like I live in a house of hobbits! 🙂

If you are interested, I can certainly recommend some trulli to stay over! Please contact me and say hello! hello@lifeinpugliatravel.com!

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Hello Summer lovers!

Our Puglian summer never ends..well not yet! Here is the rest of August and beginning of September events in Puglia!

-August 21st to 27th: Birra fra i trulli at Alberobello (more info) Why don’t you enjoy local beer at our famous Alberobello!

-August 26th: La Notte della Taranta at Melpignano, Salento (more info) It’s the 20th year to celebrate “pizzica” folk dance which is well known in whole Italy. Not recommended for a family with children but if you go to other small towns in Salento, you will see that people dancing at the piazza so that is alternative for more relaxing experience!

-Whole August and September: Hell in the Cave at Castellana Grotte (more info) It’s a show in one of the biggest cave in Italy, which is located at Castellana Grotte. The show is about the Dante’s Inferno..well you get little “chilly” in the cave to escape from this heat wave in Puglia! Recommended to family too!

-August 25th to September 10th: Festival Castel Dei Mundi at various location, mainly at Andria, where Castel Del Monte (Unesco World Heritage) is located ! (More info) There are many cultural events and theatres and events all around Castel Del Monte!

Here is the photo I danced “Pizzica” at one of the wedding in Puglia..:) Maybe you can get some idea about the dance! No shoes obviously!

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It’s not a easy dance..need a full of energy and bit of mood of trance! 😉

There are more coming up in September! Stay tuned!

 

*Photo on the top is taken from wikipedia

 

 

(Design plan)Weekend in Puglia Day 1

On the first week of July, my glass artist friend came to Puglia from Florence for a weekend away. The main reason was to see “luminarie” at Scorrano city in Salento peninsula!

Since she is an artist, she was interested in our traditional crafts and arts in Puglia, so I made her trip according to her requests.

1st day: She arrived at Bari airport on the Friday morning. I picked her up from the airport and we went to Savelletri which is about 1 hour away from Bari centre.

Savelletri is a little town next to the ocean and it’s famous for seafood restaurants! Since she hasn’t eaten fish that much in Florence, I took her to my favourite place for sea urchins!

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L’oasi di riccio, Savelletri: Sea urchins and Puglian octopus salad

After the lunch, we had a quick bath into the ocean near this restaurant, and we headed to Salento for Scorrano Luminarie! Luminamie is a festival of lights, and this small town in Puglia is so famous that every year, many people from all over Italy and the world come to see it! All these rights are made by hand..one by one! It’s not one Luminarie. Whole town is light up for a week, all night long! There are 3 shows and starts from 21:00. My suggestion is: Go there earlier and watch 21:00 show because later the night will be, the more clouds coming into the town!  If you are interested, check it out one of the family who created this! You can see their other luminarie works in the world such as at Kobe in Japan: Mariano Light (Youtube) 

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On the same day, we slept at Muro Leccese which is next to Scorrano city!

If you want to know more about Mariano Light, please check it out their website from here!

Restaurant L’oasi di riccio: SP90, 25, 72015 Fasano BR, +39 339 116 5445

Pomodori Secchi/Dried Tomatoes

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Pomodori Secchi

Hooray! Finally Summer is here in Puglia! (Sorry for my Aussie friends!). You see, you cannot taste these tomatoes in North part of Italy. It’s only in South! You can see anywhere in Puglia in summer: in front of houses, backyards, gardens..Trust me, it’s a big work but once you taste it, all the works worth it! 

Ingredients:                              

・Tomatoes (matured but NEVER damaged)   ・Rock Salts   ・Nets to avoid insects

・Extra virgin olive oil ・Basil ・Garlic ・Oregano ・Celery ・Vinegar

・(Fresh Chili if you would like some kick! )

  1. Wash and select tomatoes. They have to be clean and no damages on skin
  2. Cut in half and line up like the photo on top. Cut-side top. Once it’s done, put rock salts on top.
  3. Put nets over the tomatoes. Leave under the sun for 2-3 days.
  4. Once cut-side is dry, flip tomatoes and another few more days under the sun.
  5. When tomatoes are dry enough, boil 1L of water and 1L of vinegar together in a pan and leave tomatoes in the vinegar&water and boil for about 1-2minutes
  6. Take out tomatoes and dry at cooler place for a day
  7. In a meantime, cut garlic, oregano, celery and basil leaves into small pieces.
  8. Make a layer of tomatoes and basil mix in a glass jar(obviously they should be stylised and new lid!)
  9. Lastly, add our beautiful extra virgin olive oil to fill up the glass jar! Keep them in the cool/dark places for long conservation!

*A little fun fact: At the end, there will be very flavoured oil left..what to do? Mix with cooked pasta and your lunch is already done! 🙂

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Buon appetito!

Zucchine alla poverella

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ZUCCHINE ALLA POVERELLA

This tasty summer dish represents Puglia’s typical “Cucina Povera” cuisine. The combination of Zucchini and mint leaves might sound unfamiliar with you but it amazingly matches in your mouth and bring you into heavenly summer! 

Ingredients:                              

・3kg of Zucchini   ・2 cloves of garlic   ・Salt and pepper

・10 tbs of extra virgin olive oil(or more if you like!)

・4-5 tbs of apple vinegar(add more after tasting) ・Mint leaves as much as you like!

 

  1. Wash and cut zucchini into 5mm. Leave them outside to dry them little bit. If there is too much water in zucchini, it’ll be mushy!
  2. Heat the pan with olive oil and whole garlic. When the garlic becomes golden colour, add zucchini with a bit of salt and pepper. Salt will help zucchini to get lid of more water.
  3. Cook zucchini until they turn into golden colours. It’s totally okay if they burn little! It gives an extra flavour! It depends on how much water in zucchini and how many kilos you are cooking, but usually it takes about 20-30 minutes. Please don’t mix too much as it breaks down zucchini!
  4. When zucchini are ready, wait to cool down just bit and add apple vinegar. It’s totally up to you how much you would like to add!
  5. Before to serve, add freshly picked mint leaves!

*A little fun fact: In Italian, Zucchini are females, so we call Zucchina(plural:Zucchine). Where this word “zucchini” comes from..that is a mystery!

Buon appetito!