• Marty Doyle

Puglia: The New Tuscany

Updated: Apr 27, 2020

Whether it's the Amalfi Coast, Venice, Florence, the Tuscan countryside, or the Eternal City, regardless of how many times you visit Italy the urge to return is insatiable. For those of us who have seen it, done it, and yes got the t-shirt, there is the region of Puglia ("Pool-ya") that remains uncharted territory for many travel junkie. Add to that a remarkable and superbly designed luxury resort with 144 rooms, 11 suites, and some incredible villas and we have a prime destination to host your next incentive program! We'll get back to that.

Located in the very most southern point, or in the "heel of the boot" the Apulia region (that's its English name) is composed of 6 provinces, and is rich in sights, history, flavors, authenticity, culture, natural beauty, and like all of Italy, its' own culinary palette known by the locals as Cucina Povera (food of the poor).

The regional capital is the port city of Bari, and is home to the main airport. There are at least 6 one-hour flights a day to Rome, and additional flights to/from Rome into Brindisi so despite the quieter nature of the region air lift isn't an issue.

The region is diverse and our friends at Italia Connection (www.italiaconnection.com) put fabulous itineraries together in their favorite cities to share with out-of-towners: Alberobello is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and known for the unique Trulli huts with limestone roofs. Ostuni is familiarly known as the "White City" with it's maze-like streets. Lecce is referred to as the "Florence of Puglia" with an abundance of 17th century Baroque architecture. Matera is made up of caves and is so spectacular, and both Salento and Otranto offer some great beaches for the days you want to kick back and chill.

Within easy (30-75 minutes) driving distance to all of the above faves is a masterpiece of Italian luxury, the Borgo Egnazia. It's the perfect size for a small to medium size group, and its amenities offer guests a plethora of activities to partake in such as spa wellness programs, championship golf, culinary diversions, horseback-riding, and array of water sports. We have posted a video of the resort at the foot of this article.

Take the time to weave a few of the region's very best experiences into your itinerary and include a visit to the Michelin-starred Pachà in Conversano, Riccardo Caffé in Ostuni, and celebrate your event with a private dinner overlooking the Adriatic Sea from the terrace of the Grotta Palazzese in Pogliano a Mare. Did you know? This is where Dominico Modugno wrote "Volare".

We guarantee that "Pool-ya" will raise eyebrows and will leave you with attendees not believing that you'll be able to top this one.

Italia Connection's owner and president Alberto Neri has been responding to the needs for specialized group experiences in Italy for more than 20 years, and has a team of discreet Rome-based project managers that discerning planners can trust with their programs. Alberto can be reached at 33-393-166-0706 or you can call me in the US at 732-330-1899,

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