“The Worst of Puglia”

While tourism officials and travel companies are busily promoting “the best of Puglia” to potential visitors, a page on Facebook titled “La Puglia Peggiore” (loosely translated as “The Worst of Puglia”) is compiling information and photos documenting places where, to put it mildly, more work is needed (search for “La Puglia Peggiore” on Facebook.com). Trashed beaches, illegal dumping sites, garbage-strewn roads and other “devastated landscapes” are depicted in an effort to focus attention on places where efforts must be made to protect the region’s degraded physical and cultural treasures.
Sponsors of the Facebook page told the newspaper La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno that “In addition to significantly lowering the quality of life, this extreme state of disrepair is likely to seriously affect our tourism, because the first thing that catches the eye of Italian and foreign tourists visiting us is dirt: in summer the beaches turn into stretches of garbage of all kinds, the streets are full of papers, cigarettes and bottles thrown from moving cars while our countryside is now home to thousands and thousands of illegal dumping sites…”
While Puglia is famous for the high quality of its Blue Flag beaches and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, elsewhere it’s a very different and sad situation. Puglia has unequaled cultural, artistic and archaeological treasures that can offer visitors a very special travel experience, but that heritage needs to be protected. As one of the sponsors told La Gazzetta, the Facebook page is intended, in part, to deter “those who offend the landscape and the environment and in the summer turn our beautiful beaches into landfills.”

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