Puglia is an enticing concoction of fanciful baroque churches and austere Romanesque castles, magnificent stone farmhouses and tiny, beehive-shaped cottages, ancient olive trees and enchanting bays: all of which come together as if caught up in one of the region's cathartic "pizzica" dances: designed to energetically shake off the pains of living.
There are those who come to Puglia responding to the call of the sun-drenched beaches of the Gargano and Salento; others who arrive following the trail of the regionís intriguing past, which starts with the prehistoric man of Altamura, and continues with the advent of the Daunia civilization, the settling of colonies from ancient Greece and Rome, the reign of Frederick II, and the Spanish Bourbon dominion; others still are drawn to this part of southern Italy by the colors and aromas of its exciting and wonderfully varied cuisine, which perfectly captures and exalts the flavors of both land and sea.
As visitors travel across Puglia's fertile countryside, over rolling hills and vast, flat plains, all of which, sooner or later, inevitably meet either the Adriatic or Ionian sea, a series of unexpected jewels appear: the immense Cathedral of Trani, the picturesque "trulli" of Alberobello, the dazzling white townscape of Ostuni, the poignantly beautiful landscapes of Murgia, the baroque flamboyance of Lecce, the vineyards of Manduria, and the remote beaches of Santa Maria di Leuca. It is in Puglia's farmhouses or "masseria" that the ancient traditions dear to the population are perhaps best conserved: an intoxicating mixture of the sacred and the profane, professed in the form of archaic rituals which, on hot summer evenings, might well be performed beneath the olive trees, to the compelling rhythm of the "taranta".
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Last edited by bluesky (05-15-2012 12:49 AM)