The long and narrow province in the south of Italy extends from the Gargano peninsula in the north to the Salento peninsula in the south. In between, fertile land spreads out, which is partly flat and partly hilly. There is hardly anything that is not cultivated in Apulia. Half of the Italian olive oil comes from here, as do strong red wines. In addition, tobacco, wheat, tropical fruits, almonds and figs are grown on a large scale. The cities are unique and unmistakable – above all Bari, which challenges all the senses. People from all kinds of places have left their mark: Greeks and Carthaginians, Jews and Arabs, Staufers and Normans.
Fine sands, azure waters
The beach of Ginosa Marina with its fine sand and turquoise waters has been awarded for several years in a row, with the blue flag, which is the highest award for water quality. The dunes in the hinterland are covered with crippled pines for kilometers. Nearby, approximately on the border between Puglia and Basilicata is a small lake, the Salinella, which attracts numerous waterfowl.
Apulia's Grand Canyon
The Gravina of Laterza is a gorge over 200 metres deep and twelve kilometres long, similar to the American canyons. Below, protected by vertical limestone cliffs, is the oasis of LIPU Gravina di Laterza, home to rare birds and bats. Vultures, hawks and a species of crow, which cannot be found anywhere else, nest in the caves in the rocks. A hiking trail leads along the gorge, which opens up magnificent views into the depths again and again, and towards the end also views across the Ionian Sea. (there and back: 4.8 kilometers, 2 hours, up and down: 40 meters)
The cave on the Bari-Martina Franca-Taranto railway line was not discovered until 1938. Rainwater had loosened the karst rock and washed it out over 90 million years. The result is an underground wonder world with bizarre shapes and bright colours. Especially impressive is the Grave, a cave chamber with a depth of 60, a width of 100 and a height of 100 meters. Guided tours are offered. One is one kilometer long, the other three. The second one leads to the white grotto, where the stalactites have the color of alabaster. The second path is only accessible to a limited number of visitors as the cave has no natural ventilation.
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Stone house with a conical roof
Trulli are small stone houses with a conical roof made of stone slabs piled on top of each other, not connected by mortar. They can be found everywhere around Fasano, since a landgrave in the 17th century decreed this type of construction there. He would have had to pay taxes for properly bricked houses. Most of the small circular buildings are located in Alberobello, which has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Narrow old town, pretty harbor
The lively little city with a good 40.000 inhabitants is a foundation of the classical antiquity, a thing that is still noticeable by the Greek name (mono polis = only city). In addition to the narrow old town with clotheslines across slim alleys, there is a picturesque harbor over which the massive fortress from 1522 towers. In the cathedral Maria Santissima della Madia, right behind the choir, there is an icon that was carved in Cyprus in 1208 and has been doing miracles every now and again every since.