Danielle Pergament and Chris Ward-Jones, in the article titled ‘winter is prime in Puglia’, in the New York Times dated 23rd March, detail the unique pleasurable trip to Puglia, in the south of Italy. Puglia is a beach resort. For a very long time, Puglia, the region encompassing the heel of Italy’s foot, has been well-projected and popular as a an important summer destination, especially for the Italians who enjoy the pristine beaches, crystalline water, fresh fish and perfect temperatures and the midnight parties.  The easiest way to get to Puglia is to fly into Brindisi or Bari by Alitalia.

winter travel

Timing for travel

However, when the authors checked with their Italian friends, they came to know that Puglia is all the more pleasurable destination to travel in winter. Probably under the presumption of being ‘off-season’, the shops are emptier but the prices are lower; the food is tastier. The lack of attachment to the beach encourages the tourist to explore the area’s inland charms. It almost feels as though discovering a new Italy. With their experience, the authors strongly recommend a trip in winter, during the months of October to April, as the best time to visit Puglia.

Entertainment at a local village restaurant

The author visited Puglia in February. The author visited the small Pugliese town of Casalini, as advised by a friend and travel companion. The fare served at the restaurant called  Locanda del Ristoro was delectable and the service rendered by the waitress was great offering a good variety of items with friendly coaxing to eat more.

The delectable fare served at the local restaurant in a small village in Puglia

Terra-cotta bowls were used for serving – balls (size of golf balls) filled with burrata cheese, fried meatballs, egg-plant Parmesan, saucy, stewy dishes, several fried items, faro bean salad with oil and herbs, pureed fava beans laces of sautéed chicory on top, and cold fennel wedges for cleaning the palate. Apart from this, the author had ordered pasta as well! It was quite sumptuous. The tourists tend to feel really sated – but the restaurant also provides the facility of ‘take-home’ boxes. There is the saying that people eat better in the winter; it is especially more so in Puglia – the fish are fresher in the winter, while the prices are considerably lower.

Hotel Aquarossa

Named after the groundwater that turns red in the clay soil, Hotel Aquarossa serves as an authentic lodge. It has 9 apartments, built in the famous conical stones – the owner is proud to consider them as country houses rather than a hotel. In spite of being a beach resort, people still ask for the swimming pool, one of the most popular pastimes.

Another hotel, Casa Della Scrittrice provides a typical local environment. Luxury hotels like Borgo Eguazia are also available having pools, golf course, and bars.

The Beaches and shopping

Even though extremely popular in summer, the beaches are somewhat deserted in the off-season. The lounge chairs are stacked up and the seaside restaurants are closed. Hence, it is a better suggestion to head inland – driving into the hills opens a new world – one can walk end-to-end in 10 minutes! Usual shopping items include handmade dresses, scarves, jewelry, and house ware.  Visits to the local farms are also enjoyable.