Binetto Grumo Music Festival Concert March 4

February 18th, 2016


Tauck schedules 13 Puglia departures for 2016

February 13th, 2016


Following a hugely successful 2015 introduction, Connecticut-based tour operator Tauck has scheduled 13 departures of its popular “A Week In…Puglia” eight-day itinerary for 2016 as part of its Tauck World Discovery portfolio. Tours are priced from $3,790 to $4,290 per person, double occupancy. Groups average 24 persons.

Accommodations feature some of the finest properties in Puglia: Masseria Torre Coccaro or Masseria Torre Maizza in Savelletri di Fasano; Risorgimento Resort in Lecce; and Borgo Egnazia, also in Savelletri di Fasano.

Already sold out for 2016 are tours departing on April 22, May 6, May 13, May 20, June 3 and October 14. Availability is limited for the remaining departures on March 25, April 1, June 10, September 2, September 16, September 23 and September 30. In 2015, Tauck initially announced 10 dates, but added eight more departures as the tours sold out quickly, so it’s possible more trips may be scheduled this year too.

Click here for details about Tauck’s 2016 Puglia program.

Map courtesy of Tauck

Puglia’s unique neighbor Matera is called “Italy’s hidden treasure”

January 15th, 2016


Although Matera is not in Puglia, but rather in the neighboring region of Basilicata, visits to the ancient city are frequently part of independent and organized group tours of Puglia, so it’s worth reporting news about it here. Its proximity to the city of Altamura, near the center of Puglia, makes Matera easily accessible for Puglia-based day-trippers as well as those wishing to stay longer.

In an online article titled “Why the City of Matera Is Italy’s Hidden Treasure,” the website offers a photo essay about the increasingly popular destination, which has been designated as one of the European Union’s two “Capitals of Culture” for 2019.

The article states, “Strikingly beautiful, Matera is poised to become Europe’s next best destination‒so visit before it gets too caldo under the Italian sun.” Well worth seeing if you’re so close by.

Click here to see the entire post.

Photo by Vito Arcomano © Copyright Fototeca ENIT

“Salento tourist district” nearing reality

November 19th, 2015


Here’s a new and interesting tourism-related development out of Puglia’s Province of Lecce: All 97 municipalities that encompass the province, along with an endorsement by the president of the Region of Puglia, Michele Emiliano, have just signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to formally establish a “Salento tourist district.”

La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno reports that objectives for creating a tourism district include expanding the area’s tourism season beyond the summer high season, improving the shoreline and visitor facilities, developing a transportation network that truly serves visitors and residents alike, and encouraging collaboration among tourism businesses that often compete for customers rather than working together for mutual benefit.

Establishing such a district would have a significant impact on the tourism industry on the Salento Peninsula, the southernmost area of Puglia. First, it would foster increased investments and a formal development strategy.

Second, various levels of government would offer tax incentives to businesses that sign up for the program to cover the costs of retaining existing employees and recruiting and training new employees.

There are a more few steps that must be taken to ensure the district is established correctly before the project can gain the stamp of approval from the Ministry of Tourism.

Click here to read the details about the program.

Photo: The beach at S. Maria di Leuca. © Copyright APT Puglia

Taranto loses bid to be 2016 “Culture Capital”

October 27th, 2015


Taranto, the capital city of the province of the same name in Puglia, and eight other cities have lost to Mantua in their bids to be designated as the “Italian Capital of Culture” for 2016. The designation is awarded by the Italian Ministry of Culture (Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali e del Turismo).

The 10 finalists were short-listed in June. Mantua will receive 1 million euros from the ministry.

According to ANSA, the Italian news agency, “The Lombard city was the erstwhile princely seat of the House of Gonzaga from the 14th to the 18th centuries, and its historic center was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.”

The other finalists were Aquileia, Como, Ercolano, Parma, Pisa, Pistoia, Spoleto and Terni.

Puglia featured in 2016 wine study tour

October 20th, 2015


From the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University:

Wine Study Tour Heads to Rome and Southern Italy in May 2016

Rohnert Park, CA ‒ The Wine Business Institute (WBI) at Sonoma State University (SSU) announced that a 12-day international wine study tour will take place May 23-June 3, 2016, with travel to Rome and the Amalfi Coast, including the wine regions of Campania, Puglia and Sicily. In previous years, international wine study tours have been reserved for undergraduate and postgraduate wine business students. This year marks the 10th anniversary of SSU educational wine trips abroad, with special invitation to members of the public and regional wine enthusiasts. Travel guides include Dr. Liz Thach, MW, SSU Professor of Management and Wine Business, and Dr. Janeen Olsen, Certified Sommelier and SSU Professor of Marketing and Wine Business.

“It was important to us this year to open our doors to the broader community and expose local wine enthusiasts to our tradition of guided, educational travel. In the past, we’ve explored the wine regions of Chile, Argentina, France, and Spain. This year is special, and we welcome all travelers for what promises to be a fun and informative 10th anniversary adventure,” Professor Janeen Olsen said.

The trip itinerary includes eight wineries in addition to cultural sites in Southern Italy. Cost is $3,875 for airfare, hotel, transportation, winery visits, some excursions, all breakfasts and three dinners. Interested students are eligible for educational credit through the School of Extended and International Education. Those not taking the trip for credit are responsible for a $200 educational fee. A $100 discount is available to all interested parties who register before November 1, 2015. Space is limited to 25 travelers.

“These educational wine trips are truly amazing. I participated in the Northern Italy Wine tour when I was enrolled in the Wine MBA program and it was so useful that after graduating I signed up to go on the Spain trip,” Jorge Covarrubias, Class of 2013, said.

“It was while I was on the Chile wine trip that I began to realize what an incredible industry this is and decided to pursue a career in wine,” Ian Cauble, co-founder of Somm Select, said.

For more information regarding the wine study tour, please contact or

Sustainability & Puglia’s tourism future

October 15th, 2015


Puglia is often described as “the next Tuscany,” and indeed there is much that Puglia’s tourism industry could learn from its northern counterpart, particularly in the area of sustainability.

UNESCO says sustainable tourism can be defined as “tourism that respects both local people and the traveler, cultural heritage and the environment.” In addition, the organization says, sustainable tourism “seeks to provide people with an exciting and educational holiday that is also of benefit to the people of the host country.”

In advocating for sustainable tourism practices, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council contends that “any tourism business or destination should aspire to…protect and sustain the world’s natural and cultural resources, while ensuring tourism meets its potential as a tool for conservation and poverty alleviation.”

The website outlines the ways in which Tuscany’s tourism sector is succeeding in increasing visitor arrivals, creating jobs and generating revenue while at the same time protecting what attracts visitors in the first place, in particular by meeting what the website describes as “strong demand for niche products that respect both the region and the environment.” offers an interesting snapshot of Tuscany’s efforts to strengthen the sustainability of its tourism industry. Read about these efforts and their positive effects here.

Photo © Copyright APT Puglia

“Puglia Food Film Fest 2015” Oct. 6-7 in Bari

October 3rd, 2015


From I Tipici di Puglia:

The first “Puglia Food Film Fest 2015” aims to be an exhibition of the “territorio Pugliese” and a showcase for all the region’s special products. The event takes place in Bari on Oct. 6 and 7.

The festival is seen as a marketing tool to attract young people, tourists and Italian and international business people by stimulating their interest in discovering and experiencing Puglia in every season of the year.

“Puglia Food Film Fest 2015,” through audiovisual works, forums, meetings and tastings, creates a close link between the food industry and the film industry. The film festival, in identifies issues related to agriculture as its central theme, through short films, documentaries and animated films from around the world. Forums and meetings of experienced professionals, academics and researchers, as well as manufacturers and operators in the food industry, offer highly scientific training and education. These sessions will be enhanced by tastings of typical Pugliese foods and wines to promote tourism and agribusiness in Puglia.

The choice of Bari is not accidental. The city is located in the heart of Puglia, a region that increasingly sees an increase in its tourist appeal and is easily accessible by all means of transport, thus representing a major center for the promotion of all of Puglia.

The event is sponsored by: I Tipici di Puglia Associazione Culturale (The Local Cultural Association of Puglia) of Santeramo in Colle (Bari), which operates throughout Puglia and provide courses and services for wine tourism as well as promoting the food and wine of Puglia; Associazione Futuri Orizzonti (Association of Future Horizons), which operates in Bari for the promotion and development of socially relevant issues, including politics, economics and culture; and G.A.L. Conca Barese, a local action group that operates in Cassano Murge, Sannicandro di Bari, Binetto, Bitetto, Grumo Appula, Toritto, Bitritto and Adelfia to enhance local production resources and create new production facilities in non-agricultural sectors.

The festival is under the patronage of: Regione Puglia, Camera di Commercio di Bari, Comune di Bari and Universita Degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro.

Click here for further information about the event.

EU funds sought for Appian Way tourism in Puglia

September 29th, 2015


Beyond its beaches and food, Puglia is a particular draw for those interested in studying the history of the world. The history of Puglia dates to antiquity and the region played an especially important role in the Roman Empire.

One day, while I was driving around the Brindisi area in Puglia, I turned onto another road and saw a sign ‒ Via Appia. It struck me that I was driving on a portion of the Appian Way, one of the oldest roads in the world.

The Encyclopædia Britannica describes the Appian Way as “one of the earliest and strategically most important Roman roads of the ancient republic.” The Appian Way, begun in 312 BC, linked Rome to the ancient Adriatic Sea port of Brundisium (today’s Brindisi). Britannica continues, “The Appian Way was celebrated by Horace and Statius, who called it ‘longarum regina viarum,’ or ‘queen of long-distance roads,’ the main highway to the seaports of southeastern Italy, and thus to Greece and the eastern Mediterranean.”

Pugliapromozione, the Region of Puglia’s official tourism agency, reports that an “elegant Roman column, one of the most important symbols in the Salentinian city, dominates the port of Brindisi from its height of 19 meters, at the top of a long staircase. The column is one of the two Roman columns built during the 2nd century, used as lighthouse and probably to indicate the place in which the old Appian Way ended.” The second column toppled over in 1528 and was moved to Sant’Oronzo square in Lecce. The agency says, “According to the most likely hypothesis, this monument was built in 110 AC by the imperator Trajan, to indicate the detour of the Appian Way from Benevento to Canosa, Ruvo and Egnazia, ending in Brindisi.”

Now, Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini says he hopes to be able to allocate funding from the European Union (EU) toward a project to boost tourism for hikers along the Appian Way.

“We are working on a big project for the Appian Way walk,” Franceschini said at a presentation about the project and reported by ANSA, the Italian news agency. “The Appian Way unites areas where foreign tourists don’t arrive, it revalues the South and recovers a unique archaeological heritage.”

Franceschini plans to meet on Oct. 14 with the presidents of the four regions the Appian Way passes through ‒ Lazio, Campania, Basilicata and Puglia ‒ to coordinate the project, ANSA reported. “If we succeed in this,” he said, “we will also bring the EU resources.”

If the project succeeds, it can help Puglia, and Southern Italy as a whole, restore and preserve a priceless historical and archaeological resource, as well as provide new opportunities for tourism in less-traveled areas.

As travel writer and tour operator Rick Steves writes, “The wonder of its day, the Appian Way was called the ‘Queen of Roads.’ Twenty-nine such highways fanned out from Rome, but this one was the first and remains a legend. For a time-warp road trip that will take you back 2,000 years, hit the highway.”

Click here for more information about the Appian Way project.

Photo Copyright © Vito Arcomano/Fototeca ENIT

Puglia olive growers vs. EU

September 21st, 2015


The outbreak of the killer bacteria Xylella fastidiosa that has afflicted millions of olive trees in Puglia has been making news since early 2014. Now, a group of olive growers in the Province of Lecce plan to take legal action against the European Union (EU) over measures being tried to contain the outbreak ‒ measures the farmers contend are transforming their groves into “open-air cemeteries,” International Business Times reports.

At the heart of the threatened legal action is the contention by the growers association, La Voce dell’Ulivo (The Voice of the Olive Tree) that the measures being taken by the EU are not based on science. Rather, the growers claim, the measures are jeopardizing an ancient industry ‒ one that plays a significant role in Puglia’s tourism.

Given that its ancient olive groves are among Puglia’s most notable visitor attractions, it’s worrisome when one of the growers warns that “entire areas are at risk of turning into desert land.”

Read more about the issue here.

Photo courtesy of La Voce dell’Ulivo