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Puglia, Italy
Coreggia Things To Do

The wider region of Puglia is extremely rural and often known as the 'Garden of Italy'. Most of the country's wine and much of the world's olive oil are produced here, as are oranges, lemons, cherries, nuts, vegetables and wheat.

As a result, there is plenty of mouth-watering Italian cuisine, which is also inexpensive (thanks to the absence of mass tourism). A rich variety of seafood is also available in the local markets and restaurants.

'Trulli' beautiful Alberobello

'Trulli' beautiful Alberobello

Puglia has many sites of cultural and archaeological interest. Alberobello, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is only 4km away. Its old town is comprised almost entirely of 'trulli' - whitewashed, limestone dwellings that are constructed using a mortar-less, ancient building technique.

As well as being the 'trulli capital', Alberobello is known for its summer festivals. Visitors can also enjoy a guided tour of the town, or take in sights such as the Sanctuary of Santi Medici, the Rione Monte area and the trulli church of San Antonio.

From caves to convents

From caves to convents

The golden sands of Torre Canne are a short drive away, as is ZooSafari, a large safari park. It has a whole host of animals to see and things to do, from mammals and exotic birds to museums and theatres.

Half an hour's drive north west are the spectacular caves of Castellana (Grotte di Castellana), with their unique stalagmites and stalactites. Discovered in 1938, it is one of most important speleological environments in Europe. As well as decorated caves, there's the Madonnina delle Grotte (a stalagmite that looks like the Mother Mary!) and a museum.

Also close by, the Convent of San Domenico is thought to have been built in 1664 by the Domenican father Tommaso Mondo. Slightly further still is the coastal town of Brindisi and the Egnazia National Museum (with items from the Bronze Age to the Middle Ages) and Archaeological Park.

Norman castles and printing artefacts

Norman castles and printing artefacts

The Norman-Swabian Castle of Bari (Castello Normanno Svevo di Bari), an hour away on the coast, is home to many fascinating exhibits and is a must for history buffs. Built by the Normans in the 12th century, the castle is a wonderful example of medieval construction.

There's also a printing museum, the Museum of Stampa di Bari. Its aim is to preserve and record the history and art of the press and typographical techniques, including old printing character models, machinery and the final finished products.

Explore Italian heritage in Matera

Explore Italian heritage in Matera

A trip to the World Heritage town of Matera is also highly recommended. Here, the Benedictine monks - fleeing persecution - literally 'dug in' to the hills. They created unique cells, chapels and even entire churches, many of which are decorated with ornate frescoes.

Visit the Sassi di Matera ('stones of Matera'), which are thought to originate from some of the first human settlements in Italy. Other sites include the church of Sant'Agostino, the 13th-century cathedral (dedicated to Santa Maria della Bruna) and Tramontano Castle.

The 'white city' and back to nature

The 'white city' and back to nature

The hilltop town of Ostuni, half an hour from Coreggia, is known as the 'white city' (La Città Bianca) because of its white-washed architecture. Explore winding staircases, narrow streets, beautiful arches and natural sea-view balconies. The 'old town', a fortified hill-top citadel, is worth a visit, as are the cathedral, the museum and the Bishop's Palace.

Or head south to the Pianelle Forest (Bosco delle Pianelle) nature reserve. Covering over 1,205 hectares, it was once a hideout for bandits in the 1800s. Now, it's a destination for families and nature enthusiasts, who can explore the area on foot or by bike on 15km of marked trails.

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