When visiting a new holiday destination, don’t you wish you had someone in the know to whisper the secret spots to you? Puglia is a relatively undiscovered region of Italy, so what better guide than the local knowledge of Gianfranco Dirignani, owner of the beautiful Trulli Fioritura and Villa Paringa. We’ve asked him some questions for you to get the inside track on authentic Puglia.
Tell us a bit about yourself! What do you do, how long have you lived where you are and what makes you an expert in the region? Do you have any special connection there?
My wife and I discovered Puglia and Trulli houses around ten years ago thanks to our first trip to Puglia. We fell in love with this region at first sight. We then decided to buy a trullo (the singular form of ‘trulli’) to spend our holidays there during the year. Our passion for the restoration of historical houses and our love for nature encouraged us to buy more Trulli houses. We aim to spread our love for Puglia, giving other people the chance to spend a holiday in one of our Trulli holiday houses or our private villa. This region is magical, and we want our guests to fall in love with it as well.
Why should people travel to your region at least once in their life? What might they find surprising on their first visit?
The Puglia region is rich in cultural and natural attractions, and it also offers delicious food and unique panoramic views. During their first trip in Puglia, people will be surprised by Alberobello, the UNESCO site famous for its Trulli, or a visit to the remarkable Castellana Caves. People who stay in Puglia for their holidays can eat typical food like Capocollo of Martina Franca, grilled meat like bombette, sausages, or typical dairy products like mozzarella or burratina.
And what makes people come back time and time again?
People come back time and time again because a holiday in Puglia means total rest and relaxation in nature, far away from the city. Walking in natural parks, slowing down, discovering unique tastes and meeting friendly people happy to share their history, traditions and culture.
Summarize the region for us in three words!
Exclusivity – Authenticity – Nature
Have you had any famous visitors or well-known events (historical or otherwise) take place in the region?
Famous visitors we’ve had in the area include Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel, Ronn Moss and Katherine Kelly Lang, and Buddy Valastro.
Time for some travel inspiration – can you give us your recommendations on:
The first thing to do – you should drop your bags and… Eat a burratina or a lot of bombette with your hands!
Your favourite restaurant and/or bar, and why – is there something served there that visitors should really try? The butcher shop “Salvasodd” opened in 1919 in Martina Franca. Here, the butcher cooks the meat and customers can eat with him. Don’t forget to bring some bread and a bottle of Apulian wine with you!
An activity that really takes in the best the area has to offer. An e-bike tour to discover:
– Tratturi – grassy tracks used by shepherds to move their herds when the seasons change;
– Masserie – ancient farmhouses;
– The ancient Appian Way – a famous Roman road, mentioned in all history books, which goes from Rome down to Brindisi.
Make sure that you stop to have a picnic in the amazing Apulian countryside!
Something free to do – perhaps that people can’t do anywhere else? Cooking classes to learn how to prepare mozzarella.
The best activities and things to do for families? Cooking classes with Apulian grandmas to learn how to prepare hand-made orecchiette and to cook them with cime di rapa or tomato sauce.
Your best-kept secret of the region? The tradition.
What would your perfect day in the area comprise of?
Morning breakfast with a pasticciotto (custard pie) at Capitolo’s beach, near Monopoli; afternoon tour of Alberobello and dinner in Cisternino or Martina Franca to taste local Altamura bread and bombette while walking through the city centre.
What’s the one experience that really captures the essence of the region for you, and why?
The experience that really captures the essence of the Puglia region is spending one day with Apulian farmers. This is the only way to discover the true essence of Apulian people.
Want to know more about Puglia? How about the ten best villas? Or a few things you’d never know? If you’re busy planning a dream trip to Puglia and are in need of some expert advice, give our concierge team a call.