Archive for May, 2010

Puglia’s Historic Watch Towers Are Worth Preserving

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Dotting the Adriatic and Ionian Sea coastlines of Salento stand a series of interesting structures that deserve more attention than they have been getting ‒ until now, the websites of Il Paese Nuovo and La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno report.
The structures are historic watch towers, some of which are believed to date back to the Normans. The towers were built within sight of one another as a coastal defense against invaders. On sighting approaching raiders’ ships, sentries would light fires atop the towers that would be seen and copied by other sentries manning the network of towers to warn inhabitants of Salento to prepare to fight off the attackers or seek shelter. This makeshift early-warning system was used through the medieval times, and more than 50 of them survive. Some are on public land, while others are privately owned.
In the centuries since, the historic towers have fallen victim to weather, vandals and, as one observer puts it, general indifference to their fate. But maybe that’s about to change.
A plan to restore and protect the towers as valuable remnants of Puglia’s past calls for linking the crumbling structures via a tourism route designed to attract travelers interested in learning more about the region’s history. National and regional tourism and preservation officials are on record as supporting the plan. Now it’s up to them to convince those who would finance and promote this effort that the often-neglected monuments to Puglia’s history are worth saving as historical, cultural and tourism resources.
You can learn more about this plan at these two websites:

A Taste of Puglia at Disneyland

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

If you’re near Disneyland today, check out the “Fifth Annual Disney’s California Food & Wine Festival” and sample regional foods and wines of Puglia.
Loredana Capone, vice president of the Region of Puglia and Region and assessore for economic development, told La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno, “It’s a new way to promote the image of Puglia and its excellent food. Despite the economic downturn worldwide, the sector of food and beverages in Puglia was able to conclude in 2009 with exports growing by 4.5% compared to 2008. We want to do more.”
For details about the festival, visit

14 Blue Flags for Puglia’s Beaches

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

The International Blue Flag Jury has just announced its 2010 Blue Flag awards for beaches in Europe, Morocco, Tunisia and Canada. The International Jury awarded the Blue Flag to 2,884 beaches and 627 marinas in 33 countries. The Blue Flag award is based on environmental education and information; water quality; environmental management; and safety and services. The Blue Flag is awarded only for one season at a time.
The new list includes 14 beaches in Puglia:
Castellaneta ‒ Castellaneta Marina
Castro ‒ Grotta Zinzulusa
Castro ‒ La Sorgente
Ginosa ‒ Lido
Ostuni ‒ Camerini Creta Rossa
Ostuni ‒ Costa Merlata Torre Pozzelle
Ostuni ‒ Lido Morelli Rosa Marina
Polignano a Mare ‒ Cala Fetente
Polignano a Mare ‒ Cala San Giovanni
Rodi Garganico ‒ Spiaggia di Levante
Rodi Garganico ‒ Spiaggia di Ponente
Salve ‒ Marina di Pescoluse
Salve ‒ Posto Vecchio
Salve ‒ Torre Pali
For more information, see

5 Puglia Hotels Featured in Expedia’s 2010 Insiders’ Select Rankings

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

BELLEVUE, Wash., May 4, 2010 – The online travel agency today unveiled the Expedia 2010 Insiders’ Select results, an annual ranking of the world’s best hotels for quality and value as determined mostly by traveler reviews. Hotels that routinely exceed customer expectations – in their customer service, amenities, competitive pricing and more – see that emphasis reflected in their rankings. And this year, for the first time, Insiders’ Select hotels are searchable during the booking process on, making it simple for travelers to maximize the value of their travel dollars.
Five properties in Puglia made the 2010 list. They are listed by rank, name, score (out of a possible 100), location and quality rating:
61. Risorgimento Resort (99.8), Lecce, 5 stars
1,110. Hotel Sierra Silvana (94.9), Selva di Fasano, 4 stars
1,524. Nicotel Barletta (93), Barletta, 4 stars
1,805. Tenuta Cocevola (91.7), Andria, 4 stars
1,821. Hotel Citta’ Bianca (91.6), Ostuni, 3 stars
The Insiders’ Select program, which debuted in 2007, ranks the top hotels from among more than 123,000 properties offered on Expedia sites internationally. The list is compiled using a mathematical formula that weighs three factors:
• More than one million traveler opinions from reviews submitted by Expedia customers after completing a stay at a hotel booked on Expedia sites. Traveler reviews are the most influential factor in the formula.
• A value rating that compares each property’s average daily rates to similar properties to assess the relative value the hotel offers, making it easy for travelers to identify hotels that deliver an excellent experience at a comparatively good value.
• The expertise of more than 400 Expedia market managers in cities across the globe, who work hand in hand with Expedia’s hotel partners to maximize the value they get from Expedia’s global online travel marketplace.
“ travelers are among the most passionate in the world,” said John Morrey, vice president of e-commerce at Expedia Inc. “Every year, we help them book millions upon millions of hotel rooms, in every corner of the world. And in return, they help us pinpoint the hotels that deliver a truly world-class experience. Traveler reviews are a crucial part of the research and booking process for our travelers. We vet each review carefully to confirm that the author actually stayed at the hotel. Then we gather up more than a million of them, tabulate them and share the results with everyone.”
The 2010 list includes properties in 1,022 cities worldwide. Forty percent of Insiders’ Select hotels are in Europe, 30 percent are in the United States and 30 percent are elsewhere in the world. The top ranking went to the Galaxy Iraklio Hotel on Crete. Risorgimento Resort received the top score in Italy. For more information on Insiders’ Select, visit

A Virtual Tour of Puglia

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Explore Puglia via the Italian Government Tourist Board’s English-language tourism video of the region, part of a set of videos highlighting Italy’s 20 regions and principal cities. The four-minute, 59-second video offers an overview of Puglia’s most popular visitor sites: