“Puglia is far better in winter“. This was written by Danielle Pergament, an American journalist in her article in the New York Times. A difficult statement to believe for those who have been in Puglia only in the warm months of the year. But beyond the Caribbean beaches and the summer nightlife, the “Heel of Italy” has much to offer even in the coldest months. In fact, Puglia is wonderful even in winter: of course you can’t swim, but the region offers opportunities for excursions, culture and unique gastronomic experiences. Still don’t trust? Then read the article and you will find a list of 6 things to do in Puglia in winter, which will surely make you think again.
1. See the living crib of Polignano a Mare In Christmas time, Puglia is full of living nativity cribs, all beautiful regardless of religious belief. In a unique location, the hypogeum complex of the Madonna di Grottole, the living crib scene of Polignano a Mare, is a true theatrical representation. If this were not enough, in the historic center, always during the Christmas period, the village entertains visitors with craft markets and a gastronomic itinerary dedicated to traditional flavors, enlivened by jesters, magicians and marionettes.
2. Take part to the Alba dei Popoli (the Dawn of the people) in Otranto Event held in Otranto throughout the month of December, the “Alba dei Popoli” owes its name to the fact that Otranto is the easternmost city of Italy, therefore the first to see the dawn of the new year. The extensive program of the event includes shows, music, exhibitions, cultural and artistic festivals that are renewed every year and culminate on December 31 with the traditional concert.
3. Attending the Madonna della Madia festival in Monopoli For those who appreciate the promenade all year round, Monopoli offers a fascinating panorama; it remains a lively town even in winter, where you can visit the historic center, the Romanesque Church of Santa Maria Amalfitana, the Cathedral, the castle and the artisan workshops. Do not miss the festival of Madonna della Madia, patron saint of the city: on the night between 15 and 16 December is held the ritual of the beam. According to popular tradition, the church was finished thanks to the recovery of a raft on which lay a Byzantine icon of the Madonna and every year the representation in the sea is repeated in memory of what happened. 4. Attend the Fòcara Festival Fire In honor of the Patron Saint, Anthony the Abbot, the Saint of Fire (“Fòcara” in Apulian dialect means “fire“) the inhabitants of the village of Salento, Novoli, are very busy to celebrate it: every year they organize events, shows and events from January 7 to January 18, the day of of the village festival. Do not miss the construction of the huge bonfire, the procession and the traditional blessing of the animals.
5. Visit ancient farms, wine bars, restaurants and Masserie For those who want to enjoy the delicacies of the cuisine, the “heel of Italy” represents a paradise even in winter, indeed especially in winter. The prices are lower, the treatment is more accurate and the quality is often higher: farmhouses, old inns, Masserie where you will appreciate the peace of the Apulian countryside and the flavors of its traditional cuisine. Simple recipes, with a genuine taste, quality wines recognized internationally, to relive the centuries-old traditions of this land surrounded by olive groves, vineyards, prickly pears and take part in cooking classes, wine tastings, excursions, and walks.
6. Alberobello during Christmas Alberobello is known throughout the world as the town of the Trulli; located in the center of the Puglia, it is one of the symbols of the Valle d’Itria and UNESCO heritage. The Trulli are particular conical constructions made of stone, real ancient houses still inhabited. At Christmas time the village is decorated with Christmas lights that highlight its charm and it is not uncommon to meet people from all over the world to visit it. If then you are lucky enough to experience this unique town under the snow, then you will take part in an enchanting show.
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