Puglia sits in the high-heeled boot, running right up the Achilles’ tendon of Italy. As a civilization it dates back to the Bronze Age, with signs of Ancient Greece and the Roman expansion all around. The Baroque architecture is stunning in its excellence, but also in its sheer quantity! The drama and the exuberance of the carved stone façades of churches and public buildings is mind-blowing; in the UNESCO listed 18th century port town of Lecce, of course, but also – albeit in more modest manner – in almost any of these Southern Italian towns. I particularly enjoyed discovering the discreet charm of small town Gallipoli. Clearly, Puglia had a rich history, and if today it seems more humble it’s no less spectacular for that fact. In fact, the rustic aspect forms a very large part of its charm. The lay of this rocky, dry land is breathtaking, its myriad tiny ports and private inlets (‘grotti’) sparkle like brilliant jewels – and the beauty of it is that even at this time of the year you get the sense they sparkle just for you. It’s very easy to get away from the maddening crowd, down here. But a buzzy Lido (or beach club) experience is not to be missed – the Italians give good beach. I loved the Beija Flor in Santa Caterina – super chic, teaming with antique aristocratic villas, fantastic food, great music (almost non-stop Dylan, which is kinda crazy when heard interspersed with all these southern Italian dialects!) Puglia is definitely on the cool crowd’s map.