Archive for June, 2013

UNESCO World Heritage Sites: “New vectors of cultural tourism in the Region of Puglia”

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

Puglia Connection visits Castel del Monte.

Puglia is fortunate to be the home of three UNESCO World Heritage Sites ‒ the trulli of Alberobello, Castel del Monte in Andria (see photo) and the Sanctuary of Saint Michael the Archangel in Monte Sant’Angelo. A historic agreement signed yesterday in Bari assures that these priceless sites will be further protected and promoted to travelers worldwide as the “new vectors of cultural tourism in the Region of Puglia,” according to PugliaPromozione, the regional directorate of cultural and landscape heritage. The ceremony was part of a two-day celebration of Puglia’s World Heritage Sites and conference programs about the region’s place in world history.

Yesterday’s agreement was signed by PugliaPromozione and officials representing the municipalities of Alberobello, Andria and Monte Sant’Angelo, cities that are part of what the regional government hopes will become a regionwide network of locations promoted in new marketing strategies. The accord was announced by PugliaPromozione and reported in La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno.

Silvia Godelli, the regional councilor for tourism, told GDM, “An enlightened choice, to come together and draw a common path. They are so different from each other, the castle of Frederick, the trulli and the Lombard church, and yet a deep bond holds together our UNESCO sites: the history of Puglia.”

The event coincides with the second anniversary of the inclusion of the Sanctuary of Saint Michael the Archangel in list of UNESCO’s list of protected sites. Other events include the a conference titled “Monte Sant’Angelo and UNESCO: Cultural Heritage and European Identity Between Past and Present”; the screening of a documentary “On the Wings of the Angel from the Gargano Europe”; and a seminar titled “The UNESCO Heritage: New Vectors of Cultural Tourism in Puglia,” The event concludes tonight with “Night of the Museums,” when all museums and monuments in Monte Sant’Angelo will be open to visitors free of charge.

“The three UNESCO sites of Puglia are the great banner of the heritage of our region,” Giancarlo Piccirillo, the director general of Pugliapromozione, told GDM. “A strategy to promote these wonders is urgent and imperative.”

I’ve visited all three sites numerous times and I agree that they can be key components to a regionwide tourism marketing effort focused on history and culture. If you haven’t visited these sites yet, here are capsule descriptions from UNESCO:

The Trulli of Alberobello ‒ “The trulli , limestone dwellings found in the southern region of Puglia, are remarkable examples of drywall (mortarless) construction, a prehistoric building technique still in use in this region. The trulli are made of roughly worked limestone boulders collected from neighboring fields. Characteristically, they feature pyramidal, domed or conical roofs built up of corbelled limestone slabs.”

Castel del Monte ‒ “When the Emperor Frederick II built this castle near Bari in the 13th century, he imbued it with symbolic significance, as reflected in the location, the mathematical and astronomical precision of the layout and the perfectly regular shape. A unique piece of medieval military architecture, Castel del Monte is a successful blend of elements from classical antiquity, the Islamic Orient and north European Cistercian Gothic.”

The Sanctuary of Saint Michael the Archangel in Monte Sant’Angelo (as part of the “Longobards in Italy: Places of Power, 568-774 A.D.) ‒ “The ‘Longobards in Italy’ comprises seven groups of important buildings, including fortresses, churches and monasteries, throughout the Italian Peninsula. They testify to the high achievement of the Lombards, who migrated from northern Europe and developed their own specific culture in Italy, where they ruled over vast territories in the 6th to 8th centuries. The Lombards synthesis of architectural styles marked the transition from antiquity to the European Middle Ages, drawing on the heritage of Ancient Rome, Christian spirituality, Byzantine influence and Germanic northern Europe. The serial property testifies to the Lombards’ major role in the spiritual and cultural development of Medieval European Christianity, notably by bolstering the monastic movement.”

Marketing programs put a positive spin on Puglia tourism

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Three recent articles posted by Sud Italia News relate to Puglia’s tourism industry. The articles are positive in nature and describe how Puglia is being promoted in as an international tourism destination.

The first article, titled “Why Foreign Tourists Choose Apulia for their Vacation,” highlights the importance of tourism to the region’s economy and talks about reasons why various types of travelers are drawn to Puglia. Fact: Tourism in Puglia generates five billion euros per year in revenue. Travelers have discovered the Puglia is much more than a summer beach destination, although beachgoers still spend huge amounts in Puglia every summer. But today’s travelers are also attracted by the region’s food, culture, history and even its slower pace of life. Walking tours have become quite popular, and not just for pilgrims, as have programs focused on food, cooking and wine as well as art, architecture and history. And today’s visitors represent a geographic cross-section, as the article states: “They are mostly French, Japanese, Chinese, Americans and Russians.”

The second article reports on “We are in Puglia,” an advertising and marketing campaign to promote Puglia in to travelers from throughout Europe. In conjunction with ENIT, the Italian government tourism office, and Nikon, the article states, “The goal is to raise awareness of the region by focusing on locations directly related to air flights to and from Bari and Brindisi. Art, history, sea, traditions, food and wine are the subjects of the shots of Nikon photographer, Francesco Italia.”

The third article, “National Flag Carrier Alitalia Promotes the Caves of Castellana,” is about Puglia’s role in a new marketing campaign called “Live in Italy” that promotes Alitalia destinations, events and places of interest. Grotte di Castellana is positioned as a place of interest for visitors arriving at airports in Bari and Brindisi. The caves will be promoted on Alitalia website, boarding passes and through advertisements in Alitalia’s inflight magazine Ulysses. Travelers who show their Alitalia boarding pass at the caves receive a discount on the price of admission. In addition, article states, “the caves will be ‘recommended’ as a destination on the Facebook page of Alitalia, which has more than 1 million fans, and through the regular online newsletter that reaches over 2.5 million people.”

New Puglia railway links Bari airport and central train station

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

A railway link between the Bari Centrale train station in Piazza Aldo Moro and Bari Karol Wojtyła Airport is ready for inauguration, Sud Italia News reports. The ride between the airport and the train station, which are about five miles apart, takes approximately 15 minutes. The fare is 5 euros. The project took 13 years to complete and cost 71 million euros. The airport also is known as Bari-Palese and Aeroporto di Palese.

Puglia’s beaches get high marks

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

This site is focused on history and culture, but we all enjoy a day at the beach, and particularly in Puglia, known for having some of the best beaches in the world ‒ just ask the folks at Blue Flag. That said, here’s some good new for travelers who are headed to Puglia this summer, courtesy of ANSA, the Italian news service:

Beaches, resorts in Sardinia, Puglia get high marks

Environmental quality, tourism measured in new tourism guide

(ANSA) ‒ Rome, June 7 ‒ The clear blue seas and beaches of Sardinia and Puglia are among Italy’s best spots for vacations this summer, says the latest edition of a leading travel guide. The Tyrrhenian Sea around Sardinia, particularly near the city of Posada, hosts some of the best-quality tourism coupled with environmental sensitivity in Italy, says the Blue Guide, produced by the Legambiente and the Italian Touring Club. And 15 other locations that combine “good tourism and environmental quality,” in Sardinia and Puglia are also highly recommended in the 13th edition of the Blue Guide. Other resorts in Tuscany, Sicily, Basilicata, Campania and Liguria also get high marks.