Welcome Back to the Puglia Connection Blog

Welcome back to the Puglia Connection blog. We were dormant for the past few months, as we had to take care of some family matters, but we’re pleased to be back at work and continuing our efforts to promote the Region of Puglia in Italy as a sustainable cultural tourism destination for international travelers. As wrote here in 2007 when we launched this blog, we’re hoping that we can serve as a starting point for creating a network of travelers interested in learning more about Puglia (also called Apulia), particularly because of its diverse cultural offerings. We also hope to generate interest in the region among Americans of Pugliese heritage and we look forward to learning and sharing stories about your families.
We’re Jeff and Randa Barrington, and we’ve been promoting tourism to Puglia – mainly by word of mouth – since we started this project in 2000. That’s when we visited Puglia for the second time and saw enormous potential for using very carefully managed international tourism as a way to help preserve Puglia’s precious antiquities and diverse heritage (we’ve been back nearly every year since to explore the region and compile information for travelers). If you’re not familiar with Puglia, it is the region that comprises the heel of the Italian boot along the coasts of the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. The region’s principal cities are Bari, Brindisi, Foggia, Lecce and Taranto.
While Puglia’s excellent beaches have been popular with Italians and other Europeans for many years, only recently has there been significant awareness of Puglia’s history, art, architecture, heritage, food and wine. We’ve explored most of Puglia by car and train; and we have many ideas to share about places to see, stay, eat and shop; and we can offer practical advice and tips about planning your Puglia vacation.
A little about us: Randa’s grandparents are all from Puglia, within the province of Bari – her maternal grandparents are from Palo del Colle and her paternal grandparents are from Bitonto. Randa and Jeff have both studied Puglia’s culture and history extensively, and Jeff earned a master’s degree in tourism development from New York University, where his research centered on developing Puglia as a sustainable tourism destination. We formalized this project in 2005 under the name Puglia Connection and are working to develop the website www.pugliaconnection.com as a resource for travelers. We’ve explored Puglia from top to bottom, from Vieste on the edge of the Gargano Peninsula to Marina de Leuca at the tip of Salento. We’ve booked trains, rented cars, discovered numerous restaurants, hotels and sites worth visiting, worked with local guides to gather information about the most interesting places to see in Puglia, and we’re happy to share that information with anybody who is interested in learning more about this fascinating region.
We hope that this blog will encourage you to learn more about Puglia as a tourism destination. Please send us your comments, questions and ideas. Thanks!

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