1.184 billion of foreign tourists came on holiday in Italy last year, almost 50 million more than in 2014. We could define 2015 “an excellent year” for tourism data, finally growing. Italy was one of the top European destinations. Puglia Tourism knows no crisis. That’s what emerges from the WHO data of Tourism (UNWTO – World Tourism Barometer – January 2016). 3.4 million arrivals in 2015, marking an increase of 3.7% over the previous year.
International arrivals are 9% more than in 2014, to be precise 723,000.
A total of over thirteen million of actual nights stayed. Sure, Bari carves out a strategic role, both for the airport and for the geographic location. Enough to be one of the happiest cities in Italy.
But enough of these numbers! It is obvious that the “Puglia” brand has become a leading vacation brand worldwide. Also because the Puglia Region has given birth to “Puglia Promotion”, the Regional Department of Tourism, which has filled the Italians cities, stations and airports with stunning photos of Puglia views. So the heel of Italy lives the “sweet life” that lived the Amalfi Coast in the 60s and the Salento and the Valle d’Itria are a growing trends in 2016, showing no signs of decline.
But you need to know about the region are the things that no one tells you!
They told stories of white beaches, crystal clear water, scorching sun, thin and fresh wind. They told you of Frederick’s castles, archeology, the endless fields of vineyards, olive trees and wheat. Everyone knows the small white villages, baroque churches, the friendly people, the streets paved with “chianche” as well as good intentions.
Many will tell you what to visit and where to eat. But of course I’ll do better, I will tell my Puglia.
If instead of the usual destinations, would you move to Taranto, you could play to reveal hidden treasures: every doorway of the building and every yard of the village and the old town hides a glittering past and opulent. Hidden chapels, cloisters, privari friezes, hidden behind heavy doors.
And if you go without fear of getting lost in the narrow streets of what is called the old town, you could sample the delights of Taranto, seafood, just as tradition has it.
In Via Cava, there is a small restaurant that is called, Fà-Tu, which means “You-Do”, do it yourself. It is an experiment of “training and friendliness” which is operated informally by a group of island citizens. A kind of cooking school, founded as a restaurant for a day and then become a real cooking laboratory. The venue also hosts many exhibitions, concerts and meetings, in short, a place constantly evolving.
Puglia evolves, grows and also an ultra destination known as Polignano a Mare can hide creative workshops and chic.
In Via Roma there is Pescaria, I would not know what to call it. It could be a seafood fast food, but the dishes of chef Lucio Mele should be eaten slowly and savored bite after bite.
It is not a restraunt, is not a trattoria, is Pescaria. A place where you make gourmet sandwiches.
The idea came to the owner of a fish shop, he wanted to prepare some sandwiches with fish fresh, freshly caught for the tourists who flock to Polignano.
Then he met the chef, a chance meeting like the one that brings together the burrata and tartare of shrimp and pesto. Or, if you like to discover new flavors I recommend the sandwich with Caciocavallo cheese grilled, a salad of cherry tomatoes, persimmon apple, fennel, dried figs, with raw shrimp and romanella.
Think not only to the sandwiches, although they come to produce not only the bread, but also the sauces. You love pasta, I think the chef prepare the seafood lasagna more good I’ve ever eaten (I looked for a term not homemade, but none are more suitable).
I must warn you, the cuisine of chef Mele creates addictive. I have been there some ‘time ago, but if I think about it, I still make mouth watering and want to go back even now.
And you? You are not yet parties?