Today it is being colonised by holidaymakers, those looking to buy holiday homes in Italy, and those looking for Italy real estate in order to relocate permanently. With superb weather, beautiful towns, countryside, and plenty of beach, Puglia property is being snapped up by Italians and others.
For millennia Puglia (or Apulia) was invaded by every Mediterranean power going. Its exposure on two coasts, dividing as it does the Adriatic and Ionian seas, it was strategic fair game for the Greeks, Japygeans, Romans, Byzantium, Normans and Spanish. Today it is being colonised by holidaymakers, those looking to buy holiday homes in Italy, and those looking for Italy real estate in order to relocate permanently. With superb weather, beautiful towns, countryside, and plenty of beach, Puglia property is being snapped up by Italians and others.
Whatever flavour of property in Puglia you’re seeking, there is real estate to catch your fancy. There is the exuberant Baroque city of Lecce on Italy’s southernmost tip and fun resorts such as Peschici and Vieste. There is the town of Martina Franca with its buzz and life and Moorish feel; the lovely old city of Bari; and in Ostuni (why not plan your trip by looking at some Ostuni hotels?) a hilltop town to rival anything in Umbria. The 13th century Swabian castles built by Frederick II loom out of the hills in an extraordinary fairytale transposition of medieval Germany to the Mediterranean.
Your budget may not stretch to Puglia castles for sale (though don’t count on it) but you should look at the trulli, the extraordinary little whitewashed cone-roofed houses that proliferate around Alberobello in the north of the region. Once seen these are never forgotten. Reminiscent of north Africa perhaps (or maybe another planet) these now form a UNESCO world heritage site and are duly protected.
This is the heel of Italy, but although very much part of the Mezzogiorno it has a far more cosmopolitan feel than neighbouring Basilicata or Molise just to the north. This big region is one of the most populus in Italy (205 people per square km) and has major towns such as Bari (hotels here), Lecce, Taranto, Foggia and Brindisi to tempt those seeking Italy property for sale. It also has good communications with the A14 coastal highway running through it, and airports at Bari, Brindisi and Foggia. Those looking at property in Puglia will find good transport systems.
Though a large region, Puglia is never more than 30km across, so you’re never far from a beach, and in the southern heel especially this accounts for the surprisingly moderate temperatures. The sun may beat down, but the mean summer temperature is around 25ºC, more manageable than the 30ºCs you’ll find inland.
Look at Puglia property for sale in the Gargamo Promontory. Inland, the bulge of land is cloaked in an ancient forest of pines, ilex, beech and oak. Towns to research here include the Adriatic seaports of Vieste, Manfredonia and Peschici. You can head down to the Tavoliere Plain which borders neighbouring Basilicata. With a lovely coastline of sand dunes and little resorts, the Capitanata Apennines rise behind the Adriatic Coast here. And with cheap Ryanair flights from Stansted to Bari, Italian property in this part of Puglia can only be a good investment.
Check out the town of Lucera. Just 18km west of Foggia, this charming little town was once a thriving Saracen city, entirely populated by the Arabs Frederick II forced out of Sicily and then resettled. And look too at the Tremiti Islands, off the coast of the Gargano Peninsula, this is the spot where Charlemagne exiled his father in law a thousand and a half years back. Today these are lovely summer haunts, with clear waters and unspoiled scenery, and looking upon Croatia across the Adriatic.
Down the coast to Bari, and the Byzantine city is probably for passing through from the airport and for the ferries to Greece, Croatia and Albania, rather than looking for Italian property for sale. Even Bari is much cleaned up though, with the once pickpocket-ridden port area now boasting chic restaurants and waterfront bars. Head further south, first to Brindisi and then Lecce, and their Baroque and Romanesque architecture. A detour inland, across to the Ionian port of Taranto, takes you through the heart of trulli country. These old homes (the last were built sometime in the 19th century) have become the hip, must-have for plenty of northern Italians on holiday. Anyone buying a trullo as an investment in Italy real estate is likely to see that investment rise … and will have no trouble letting it as a holiday home in Puglia.
At the edge of trulli country lies the lovely town of Martina Franca. An exceptionally civilised place in which to buy Italy real estate, the town has a Moorish flavour and a mediaeval centro storico adorned with later Baroque buildings. The streetlife is great, with a well-populated passegiata. A lovely little town. Head to Taranto, settled by the Spartans and once capital of Magna Graecia and you see the acme of the south. This is a Greek city, settled by Romans, thence by Aragon, Napoleon and others. In its (lost) bronze of Poseidon it housed one of the wonders of the Ancient World.
Lecce and Brindisi offer serious opportunities for buyers of Italian property. Puglia is only becoming more popular with Italian visitors and increasingly discovered by the rest of us. Development funds from the EU and the central Italian Government are stimulating growth and infrastructure here. Yet it can be very cheap. Baroque estates in the countryside around Lecce can be had for less than €200,000. Isolated and abandoned masserie (farmhouses) can be had for rather less, and remember you’re never too far from a big town, the highway or indeed the airport. Prices per square metre are considerably less than on the Amalfi Coast for example. Below Lecce and its lovely Baroque buildings, and we’re into unspoiled, rural, Puglia. This is a steep, rugged coastline.
Buy a home in Puglia and you’ll be eating a classic, healthy Mediterranean diet. The most common meat on the menu is lamb, as elsewhere in the south: here it’s cooked Greek style, over a spit and scented with rosemary. Most of Italy’s fish comes from this coastline, and specialities include roasted oysters with oil, lemon, garlic and marjoram, sea bream, and mussel and potato soup. Much seafood is eaten raw, with sardines, prawns and cuttlefish featuring heavily. Much of Italy’s pasta is produced from the wheatfields of Puglia, as is excellent olive oil and vast quantities of sun-dried tomatoes. While you’re searching for Italian property in Puglia, relax with good local wines such as white Terra d’Otranto and Bianco di Train, and reds such as Castel del Monte Rosso.
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