A sandwich with ham and cheese during your lunchbreak is no biggie. But a pranzo in Puglia is a little more complicated. Are you invited for a family lunch or dinner in Puglia? No worries, we’ve got you covered with our 10 don’ts of eating with Italians.

1. Never say no

The first rule when you are a guest at a lunch or dinner in a Apulian household: never say ‘no’. Nonna will not accepted this and will simply act as if she didn’t hear you and mama will enthusiastically go back to the cucina to prepare the next course. So, even though you were barely able to finish the antipasti and your primo… keep on eating. Yes, we know… eating with Italians is hard.

The don'ts of eating with Italians (Pugliesi)

2. Don’t ask questions

Asking questions about food is useless.
“Is this provolone very spicy?”
“No, amore, not at all”
Or, at most “No no, tranquillo, just a little.”
Oh dio, so spicy!! But you HAVE to eat it. And say it’s delicious.

3. Manners

A family meal in Puglia is actually sort of an match. In almost all families there is one record holder. He or she finishes everything. But literally EVERYTHING. Every plate is a round and when the plate is finished, points can be earned. In case more than one person finishes his or her plate; the plate will be cleaned with a piece of bread. So, there will always be a winner! Are you ready to play?

The don'ts of eating with Italians (Pugliesi)

4. Pre-packages products are forbidden

If you really want to upset your mother-in-law, put a can of – it basically doesn’t matter what – on the table. For a real Pugliese, taralli from the supermarket do not exist. Neither do olives or focaccia. So be careful, very careful…

5. Don’t leave the table before the espresso is served

According to Apulian science, it is not possible to change the order of certain courses. In Puglia, you finish dinner with a (homemade) limoncello. Children under 18 can leave the table at this point. Are you a big boy or girl, you politely say “yes” (check point 1) when a limoncello is offered. After the coffee, which is the very last step of the often endless amount of food and drinks, you can leave the table. Stand up carefully…

The don'ts of eating with Italians (Pugliesi)

6. Eating panzarotto

A true resident of Puglia has no problem eating panzerotto (stuffed and fried mini pizzas) and makes it seem like you are just biting into it and you don’t need any expertise. Poor you, all eyes will be on you – tourist – when you try to eat this Italian specialty. No worries, here’s how you do it: put your head forward and bite with clenched teeth. Pull back like a bulldog without using your lips. This is to prevent third-degree burns. Keep in mind that it is important to keep your new shirt clean. Go for it!

The don'ts of eating with Italians (Pugliesi)

7. “Raw fish with lemon, what?”

Lemon is an essential ingredient in many Apulian dishes. But not in combination with raw fish, according to the Pugliesi. Never ask for some lemon (because you think that destroys the parasites in the fish) for your raw mussels, squid or prawns. Because if you do, it will immediately become clear to the hosts that you are not worthy to sit at their table. Pugliesi love a little risk. And above all, “the lemon is ruining the taste of the expensive fish!” OK check.

The don'ts of eating with Italians (Pugliesi)

8. Compliments to the cook

This step is very important: immediately after your first bite, the cook will wait for your verdict. Take advantage of this awe that you will experience only a few times in your life and do not hesitate to compliment the cook. But beware, they are able to distinguish “real” from “fake” compliments. So no “I think I’ve never tasted anything so delicious” or “even my grandmother doesn’t cook so well”.

9. “Il Brindisi”

In other words, the toast. No dinner is started without a “brindisi” (making a toast). This is “a moment of catharsis”. Don’t forget to look everyone in the eye, one by one. Not doing this is seen as an insult and comes with the question of whether you are from Milan.

The don'ts of eating with Italians (Pugliesi)

10. Refuse a drink

There is no abstinence in Puglia. A nice glass of Primitivo (local red wine) heals all evil and “fa tanto sangue” (does a lot of blood) – nobody understands what that actually means … In short, prepare to go home somewhat tipsy.

The don'ts of eating with Italians (Pugliesi)

Ready to eat in Puglia

Now that you know all about eating with Italians, you are ready to eat tranquillo and enjoy your meal in Puglia. We have several food & wine experiences, such as cooking workshops and wine tasting.

With 784 km of coastline, Puglia is the perfect place for a beach holiday. Here are a few of the best beaches in Puglia.

San Pietro in Bevagna Beach, Maruggio

This protected beach in the Maruggio region is usually deserted. Bask in the luxury and peace of just you, azure sea and white sand dunes. If you prefer a bit of civilisation on your holiday in Italy, there are parts of the beach that are serviced too, so you can enjoy the peace from a comfy lounger and have cool drinks within easy reach.

Punta prosciutto, Lecce

On the border between the provinces of Lecce and Taranto, Punta Prosciutto is a wonderful stretch of Salento coast, part of the Municipality of Porto Cesareo, awarded 3 Sails (a flag awarded to the most beautiful beaches) of Legambiente (Italian environment protection association).The long wild and unspoiled beach, mostly public, with some beach resorts, is perfect to enjoy relaxing days and to swim in the crystal clear water.

Porto Selvaggio, Nardò

Porto Selvaggio, a locality in the municipality of Nardò, awarded the 4 Sails (a flag awarded to the most beautiful beaches) of Legambiente (Italian environment protection association), overlooks the Ionian Sea.
The wonderful small pebble beach, nestled in the heart of the Regional Park “Porto Selvaggio e Palude del Capitano”, can be reached from Torre dell’Alto, walking along a steep mule track almost 900 metres above sea level or from the coastal road (entrance Villa Tafuri) or also, for those who love hiking, taking the road from Torre Uluzzo, the wonderful trail in the middle of the coast.
Even if the hiking is difficult, you are rewarded by the view of the wild and unspoiled landscape which discloses in front of you, surrounded by Aleppo pines. There are no private beaches, just a small cafè. From the small bay, one can easily enter the water, which has a sandy sea bed, slowly going down and easy for children to enter, too.
On the left, instead, since there are water springs, the sea is cold and clear.
If you prefer a more discreet place along the coast, you have to walk northwards, where, amid the cliffs, there is a series of coves, some with terraces by the sea. In the bay of Torre Uluzzo, well-known for the archaeological finds discovered here, it is possible to arrive also from the coastal road and, crossing a quite difficult trail more or less one hundred metres long, reach the rugged and wild cliff and then dive in a wild and unspoiled sea, whose sea beds are rich with vegetation, sea urchins and fishes of several species.

Torre Dell’Orso, Melendugno

This thin 1.5km stretch of pristine sand is in the Melendugno region of Puglia. It’s most striking feature is the ‘two sisters’ – twin rock stacks that stand side-by-side close to the beach. It is also surrounded by rock cliffs full of interesting caves and is backed by a lush pine forest.

Roca and Grotta della Poesia

Roca, located between San Foca and Torre dell’Orso, boasts the Blue Flag and 5 Sails (a flag awarded to the most beautiful beaches) of Legambiente (Italian environment protection association), as all the marinas of Melendugno.
A series of coves, with some private beaches, come in succession along the rocky coast in the north and in the south of the town centre, while nearby the archaeological site, towards Torre dell’Orso, stands out the cave Grotta della Poesia. Here it is possible to swim in the wonderful crystal clear water, which brightens the large natural circular-shaped cove of karst origin. The cave can be entered thanks to a rock-hewn staircase, which allows to go down for some metres, as far as the sea. The edge of the cove, almost 4 metres high, challenges the bravest divers to jump in the turquoise water.
A small underground canal connects this cave to the one of Poesia Piccola, in the past a temple dedicated to the Messapic God Thator Andirahas, as testified by several inscriptions which cover the walls.
Roca, overlooking the Adriatic Sea, is watched by the sixteenth century tower which stands over the medieval village by the sea, abandoned because of pirates invasions, nowadays archaeological site.

Castro Marina, Otranto

On the nice cliffs of Castro Marina, which boasts the Blue Flag and 5 Sails (a flag awarded to the most beautiful beaches) of Legambiente (Italian environment protection association), bathers are ready to swim in a colorful sea, with nuances from green to intense blue.
From the cliffs nearby the private beach which covers most of the bay, it is possible to go to the tourist port behind it and, with its concrete platform, is the perfect place from which one can dive.
The port of Castro, small but welcoming, opens inside the large bay, protected by the northern and western winds and by the sea, thanks to a man-made dock. On the side of the tourist port, instead, at the bottom of the small central square of the marina, there is an old tourist port, where small fishing boats, canoes and peddle boats are docked.
It is possible to discover by boat the most beautiful caves in Salento, such as Grotta Palombara, Grotta Azzurra and, nearby, Zinzulusa, a natural cave which is full of stalactites and can be also reached from the land. For more information about renting a boat, click here. 

Torre Mozza, Leuca

A few kilometres away from the southernmost point of Santa Maria di Leuca, along the coast of Ugento, Torre Mozza boasts 3 Sails (a flag awarded to the most beautiful beaches) of Legambiente (Italian environment protection association). The name of this place refers to the shape of the ancient ruined tower by the sea, which is cut off.
The long white beach stretches for kilometres, with its coastline of fine sand which slowly dive in the crystal clear water, perfect for children to play safely.
There are private and public beaches and holiday resorts, while behind them, there is a series of sandy dunes, covered with the scented plants typical of the Mediterranean scrub, dividing the coastline from the coats road and from the building on the seafront.

Torre Lapillo Bay, Porto Cesareo

This huge bay provides a sandy pathway between the Torre Lapillo and Torre Chianca lighthouse towers. It has rolling sand dunes, pretty seaside houses to admire and crystalline shallow water – perfect to while away an afternoon on a family holiday in Italy.

Lido Marini

A long beach with fine sand overlooks a crystal clear sea, with shallow water, which is proud of 3 Sails (a flag awarded to the most beautiful beaches) of Legambiente (Italian environment protection association).
Lido Marini beach, almost sandy and embellished with low cliffs, easy to reach, stretches for more than two kilometres, in the area of the municipalities of Salve and Ugento.
There are five private beaches which offer several services, on which one can lie down on the warm golden sand or take part in a fishing trip underwater or admire the plants and animals of the clear sea beds.
Along the rocky coast south of the marina, water becomes suddenly cold and calm, thanks to the water springs which come out of the earth.
Northwards, instead, the stretch of coast between Lido Marini and Torre Mozza boasts a large sandy area, behind which there are wetlands, flanked by the drainage basin of Sponderati sud.

Punta della suina, Gallipoli

Between Baia Verde and Punta Pizzo, in the area of Gallipoli, Punta della suina overlooks the Ionian Sea and has been awarded 3 Sails (a flag awarded to the most beautiful beaches) of Legambiente (Italian environment protection association).
The locality, in the heart of the Regional Nature Park “Isola di sant’Andrea – Litorale di Punta Pizzo” and away from the town centre, boasts low dunes, behind which there is the lush Mediterranean scrub and the pine forest.
Punta della Suina consists of two small sandy bays, among the most famous and popular ones in Salento, right in front of a small island called Scoglio tondo, which is almost separated by the coast and caressed by the clear water.
Walk just a hundred metres inside the pine forest and you will be in front of a small Caribbean-style café, which has been built on a small rocky hilltop by the sea, at whose feet there is a private beach.
Continue to walk on the left, passing by the cliffs, and after a few metres you will arrive at the long public beach, which goes as far as Lido Pizzo.
Punta delle Suina is also an exclusive location for parties, happy hours and music events in the evening for those who love nightlife.
At Punta Pizzo, as along the coast of the Regional Nature Park “Isola di Sant’Andrea – Litorale di Punta Pizzo”, the Mediterranean scrub is enhanced by strawberry tree, myrtle and pistacia lentiscus. The Mediterranean scrub flanks the large pine forest behind the beach and, in summer, is a cool refuge for bathers. Nearby instead, on the Island of Sant’Andrea in front of Gallipoli, nest the rare species of Audouin’s gull.

Cala dell’Acquaviva, Otranto

The cold water springs give the name to the small cove of Acquaviva which opens up at the feet of the greenhouse of Marittima, marina of the municipality of Diso.
The fjord, almost ten metres long, stretches along the rocks and the lush vegetation, boasting 4 Sails of (a flag awarded to the most beautiful beaches) of Legambiente (Italian environment protection association).
The small pebbles bay, easy to reach by car, is public and lapped by water, slowly becoming deeper and incredibly clear, thanks to several cold water springs.
Along the edges of the channel there is the cliff, where one can relax and sunbathe or dive in the crystal clear water of the sea, which is usually calm since it is protected by winds and currents.

Baia dei Turchi, Otranto

Literally meaning the bay of the Turks, this bay is where the Turkish soldiers landed during the Otranto battle in the fifteenth century. Nowadays, it’s a peaceful haven of white sand and turquoise water in a sheltered cove, reached on foot through a pine forest.

Porto Badisco, Otranto

According to myth, this is a magical beach. It is said that Aeneas, son of the goddess Venus, landed here, as told by Virgil, the ancient Roman poet. This pebble beach provides beautiful views and shady spots perfect for picnics.

Pescoluse, Leuca

Named so because of the small sand banks that resemble a collection of islands at sunset offshore sand banks that look like small islands at sunset, this beach is fondly known as Italy’s answer to the Maldives. That being said, Pescoluse’s glittering Ionian waters and silky white sands are a beach-lover’s dream. Shallow waters make it ideal for family beach holidays, or those would rather avoid aquatic challenges. The general slew of English and American tourists haven’t cottoned on to this area yet, so the majority of the beach-crowd are Italian.

Torre Guaceto, Brindisi

Torre Guaceto is a protected marine area and nature reserve. This several kilometre stretch in Brindisi, near Alberobello is wonderfully beautiful and its sheer size of this beach in Puglia means that you can always find a patch of sand to call your own. Vivid coral reefs and sea grass provide hours of easily accessible snorkelling fun. There is also a 16th century tower and visitor centre with a museum if the afternoon heat gets too intense.

The Tremiti Islands, Gargano

Only two of the three Tremiti Islands are inhabited, but you can reach all of them by boat from the mainland at Termoli, or at several other smaller towns in the Gargano region. San Domino and San Nicola are the largest islands, so offer more in the way of facilities. There is stunning snorkelling and diving to be had, and the beaches and coves are beautiful, sandy and wild.

Dune di Campomarino beach, Maruggio

For total seclusion, look to the sand dune beach of Campomarino. There are certainly no beach bars or umbrellas in sight, but lush shrubbery and vegetation in the form of fragrant juniper, lavender and thyme. If you’re looking for peace to connect with nature and enjoy the crystal water – this is the place.

Baia delle Zagare, Gargano

Baia delle Zagare is in the Gargano subregion between Vieste and Mattinata. It is named after a local flower, indigenous to the area. The soft white beach is 1km long and surrounded by a national park. There are two distinctive white rock formations near the shore, which are one of the most recognizable sights of the region.

Activities on or at the sea

Inspired by all these wonderful beaches and ready to book an activity on the sea? Have a look here for all our activities on or at the sea. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

 

Sources
https://www.viaggiareinpuglia.it
https://www.oliverstravels.com

The spectacular karstic cave known as the Zinzulusa Cave extends beneath an inlet south of Castro.
A majestic opening in a sheer sea cliff near Castro welcomes you to the Zinzulusa Cave, one of Salento’s most impressive karstic phenomena.

The cave, which branches out in several different directions, owes its name to the popular imagination – its many stalactites and stalagmites look like limp rags, which are called “zinzuli” in the local Salento dialect.

The entrance gives onto a karstic tunnel which extends into the depths for about a hundred meters, becoming increasingly narrow until it reaches the Cathedral, the final chamber in the part of the cave above water and open to the public.

From this point on, the tunnel runs down to the submerged section of the cave, the Cocito. Unique living fossils have been found here (including Higghinsia Ciccaresi hypogeum sponges), while the presence of large stalagmites suggests that the area was above sea level for a long period of time.

Visiting the Zinzulusa Cave

You can only visit the Zinzulusa Cave by an organized boat excursion, for example with our Puglia boat excursion (from Castro Marina). If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Source: https://viaggiareinpuglia.it

The Orecchietta is the queen of the traditional Apulian pasta shapes. Their name comes from their shape, which resembles a small ear. With the orecchiette, many different dishes are made. One of the most famous being orecchiette alle cime di rapa (turnip tops).

How are orecchiette made?

The pasta is usually made from a  mixture of semolina or durum wheat flour of local varieties and water; this is worked until a smooth and homogeneous and rather soft mixture is obtained which is collected into a ball and kept covered with a cloth to not let it dry out. When making the pasta one piece of dough at a time is rolled into a ‘cord’ with a diameter of just over a centimeter. Then pieces of pasta are cut with a knife as to obtain a sort of gnocchetti. With the rounded tip of the blade of the knife they are crushed and dragged one at a time on the work surface making sure they remain attached to the blade. Finally with the help of the tip of the thumb of the other hand the piece of pasta is turned into it’s typical shape. After this they can be booked or dried to use later.

Where and when to eat orecchiette

Orecchiette are found it lots of restaurants all over Puglia. We prefer to eat them in the small villages where the pasta is usually home made. A simple version with tomato is almost always available. The season of cime di rapa is from november – april in the South of Italy.

Other versions of orecchiette are:

  • Broccoli e salsiccia (Broccoli and sausage)
  • Tonno e capperi con finocchietto (Tuna, capers and fennel)
  • Sugo con verdure e basilico (Sauce with vegetables and basil)
  • Pancetta e broccoli (Bacon and broccoli)
  • Cozze e vongole (Mussels and clams)
  • Rucola e pomodorini (Rocket and cherry tomatoes)
  • Sugo di carne (Sauce with meat)
  • Pesto con mandorle e pinoli (Pesto with almonds and pine nuts)
  • Salsa di noci e gorgonzola (Walnut and gorgonzola sauce)
  • Asparagi (Asparagus)
  • Ceci (Asparagus)
  • Piselli (Peas)
  • Fagioli e cozze (Beans and mussels)
  • Zucchine (Zucchini)

La cucina povera

Orecchiette alle cime di rapa is a very healthy dish, because this vegetable contains a lot of calcium and vitamin C, A, B2 and phosphorus. They also have a considerable amount of protein (2.9 g). This is why back in the day this vegetable was used a lot in Puglia in the cucina povera, where almost no meat was consumed. Are you pregnant? Cime di rape also contain a lot of folate!

 

The mother of all mothers, the world’s only example of a late Stone Age pregnant female, found buried in the Ostunese hills of Agnano, never ceases to amaze the people of the White City. Twenty years after her discovery in 1991 by archaeologist Professor Donato Coppola from Ostuni, we now learn that she is older than we believed. Original studies based on carbon dating the tomb placed her at 24,410 years old but recent studies in December 2010 by the University of Leipzig (which specializes in the study of bone analysis) dates her at 28,000 years old.

This proves that Puglia wasn’t an outpost but was of primary importance, inhabited 30 thousand years ago by hunter tribes who had chosen this area as a strategic spot good for hunting and easy to defend. Laying next to the Woman, visitors can see the cast of the Man of Ostuni, an adult hunter buried in the same cave in a foetal position on his side with his back to the pregnant woman. Recent carbon dating techniques dated his burial to 30,000 years ago, which make him older than the Woman of Ostuni.

A Fascinating burial

From a perfectly reproduced plaster cast visitors can gather the care with which the young woman, who is nine months pregnant, was buried by the man who, it is presumed, was the love of her life. The hand of the pregnant woman is nestled tenderly in her lap, a protective gesture and expression that we find in fertility goddesses, small round statues from the Late Paleolithic, Neolithic and Bronze ages, like the ‘Venus of Laussel”, which is found in bas-relief in a sheltered cave at Laussel, in the Dordogne in the South of France. The symbol of the fruitful womb is as old as the art of the statues It represents the Mother Earth, mother of humanity and venerated for this since time immemorial.

The affection and devotion given to this “Earth Mother” of Ostuni, lovingly chiselled in a fetal position can be also be admired by other details such as a bracelet of pierced shells around one of her wrists and a crown that adorns the head consisting of about six hundred Cyclope neritea shells mixed with red ocher. This headgear is similar to that of the “Venus of Willendorf” which has led us to believe that the burial ceremony of the Woman of Ostuni is not limited to the mere eradication of the body through burial, but could also be interpreted as a “glorification” of an unfinished motherhood.

Visit the Earth Mother

You can visit the “Earth Mother” of Ostuni at the Museo Civilta Preclassiche della Murgia Meridionale. For more information and opening times, visit their website: http://www.ostunimuseo.it/

 

Source: http://www.ostunipocket.it/