Puglia Property
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Puglia Property Location Guide

Gargano
To the north of Puglia lies the limestone promontory of the Gargano. A beautiful plateau with dense woodland, it has dramatic coastal scenery and much of it is a designated National Park.

In summer visitors flock to the coastal towns like Vieste, and the beaches, but this can make the trip around the coast road a slow affair. The towns of San Giovanni Rotondo and Monte Sant’ Angelo also attract large numbers of pilgrims, the former because it was the home of the modern-day saint Padre Pio - much venerated in Puglia. Both towns are now big tourist business.

The area is packed in summer, but later it empties and has a “closed for the winter” feeling. It probably remains an area better to visit for a short holiday than somewhere to set up home.

Inland the plain around the town of Foggia is uninspiring. Towards Bari there is a string of towns along the coast – Trani is particularly attractive - but these have yet to attract many foreign purchasers.

Bari
Bari is the capital of Puglia, and its historical centre is interesting, but the outskirts of Bari and nearby commuter towns have little attraction. This soon changes as you drive further south and eastwards towards the Itria Valley, and you soon come to a green and rich agricultural landscape.

Itria Valley

Trulli

South-east of Bari is the best-known area of Puglia – the land of the trulli. Alberobello is the capital, with over a thousand of the conical-roofed houses packed into a townscape which has won Alberobello World Heritage status. Although part of the town can become a tourist trap in summer, away from the tourist centre it is a sedate and pleasant place, surrounded by a landscape of rolling olive groves, almond and cherry orchards, and vineyards.

The most sought-after area for property in Puglia is nearby, with many rural trulli awaiting restoration. The country locations have the advantage of offering easy access to such jewels as Martina Franca, an elegant 18th century town, and Locorotondo and Cisternino, both crowning hilltops, their centres with narrow whitewashed alleyways and houses. All have an individual character and rich social life, especially in summer, when there are endless weeks of festivals and cultural events.

In a day trip from here you can reach all Puglia’s main attractions - including Norman cathedrals around Bari, Lecce and the Salento region, the Gravina country and Masaffra, famed for its Sassi. The many beaches of the Adriatic and the Ionian seas are also close-at-hand.

Importantly, the airports of Bari and Brindisi are both within an hour’s drive, making this region ideal for holiday rentals or part-time living.

The Fasano Plain
Fasano is an attractive but modest town a few kilometers from the sea. Its surroundings are remarkable for the huge numbers of ancient olive trees, some up to a thousand years old. Gnarled and twisted, these giants have survived due to the mild climate. Nowadays the olive groves are protected and it is difficult to build on the plain. Property is at a premium, especially with a new top-class golf course at Savelletri enhancing the area’s facilities. However, there is opportunity to buy seaside villas at several resorts strung along the Adriatic coast, such as Costa Merlata, with its elegant tree-lined avenues and small family beaches.

Ostuni
Ostuni is known as the “white city”. Its historical centre is both beautiful and impressive, with a cathedral sat atop a hill, surrounded by a maze of whitewashed houses and alleyways. The sea is only about five kilometers away.

Property around Ostuni is not currently as sought-after as in the neighbouring Itria Valley, but this will soon change. A wide variety of houses is available - trulli, villas and masserias - at extremely attractive prices. Restoration costs also are cheaper south of Ostuni than in the Itria Valley, where there is more demand for the master trullo masons.

Towards Cisternino there is rolling countryside, to the south the land is flatter, dominated by olive groves.

Lecce
Lecce is an important cultural centre, with a university tradition dating back to Greek times. It is also known as the “Florence of the Baroque”, because of its ornate 17th and 18th century architecture.

The city is an attraction for visitors, but the countryside around the city is less hilly and varied than the Itria Valley region, and interest in property in the south of Puglia mainly concentrates on the coasts.

The area around Lecce and to the south is becoming well-known internationally now for its wines, and some delightful reds, based on the Primitivo, Amaro Negro and Malvasia varieties, are made in the region.

Salento
The area south of Lecce has a varied coastline. On the Adriatic the coast is fairly bare down to Otranto, a port town with an intriguing history and cathedral. South of Otranto the Adriatic coast is splendidly scenic, with cliffs dropping down to the water’s edge, and a handful of attractive coastal towns dot the coast road.

From the tip of the “heel”, at Santa Maria di Leuca, the Ionian coast takes over, with gentler slopes down to rocky and occasional sandy beaches. Many stretches along this coast are uninhabited.

As the tip of the peninsula is about an hour and a half from the nearest airport of Brindisi, this region is as yet relatively unexplored by British visitors or prospective house purchasers. Many examples of a local type of trullo are available for restoration, so too are historical masserias, long neglected but with large estates, and prices are reasonable. Villas by the sea are surprisingly expensive, however.

Salento is not everyone’s cup of tea. It can seem remote, rugged and far less affluent than central Puglia. It is quieter in winter, with less social and cultural life. But if you want to be ahead of the pack, a longer-term investment in Salento property is worth considering.