I have never been to Puglia before. Since I enjoyed the idea of spending cold Polish winter elsewhere, which became a sort of a new tradition, there was a decision to make. I picked up Puglia, the most southern part of Italy. There were many reasons to come here. The weather was one of them, and the food too. I did not know that much about Puglia before I came and stayed for a while. Therefore, there was no real anticipation nor high expectations. I also read a post about Puglia in summer by my dear friend Cathy and it was intriguing enough to think about winter in Puglia.
I’ve been living here for a month now and I am sure this was a great decision. Here is a short list of my reasons why you should visit Puglia in winter.
In recent years, Puglia has become a popular holiday destination. Thousands of Italians and foreigners visit this region, mostly in the summer time, that is in June, July and August. These months turn Puglia into a frenetic zone, full of crowds and noise. Such a circumstance should not discourage you to visit this part of the world, though. Instead of coming here in the hot and crowded season, I suggest you come in winter time. There is literally nobody here!
Being the only tourist in a city of Oria with 12,000 of locals is fun! No lines, no waiting for hours in a restaurant, no noise. The winter life of locals is peaceful and full of surprises.
The cold and the warmth is a relative thing. In Puglia, the temperatures are above zero degrees, and in the middle of the sunny day the temperature is as high as +19C. In average it is between 10C and 16C. For me, this looks like a beautiful spring time. Moreover, the sun shines most of the days and it did not rain even once! I know these temperatures are far from +40C in the summer time, and I love it! It is perfect for a walk, the blue sky makes a perfect photo background and my running routine is effortless!
Due to this wonderful weather, I was able to pursue my training plan. I’m running regularly three times a week and the conditions are just perfect! It looks like I’ll be well prepared to run a half marathon in April 2016.
No doubts Puglia is famous for its excellent food. This is true for both summer and winter time. There are still fresh fruits and vegetables here and, above all, super tasty frutti di mare. Fresh clams, squids, shrimps and fishes are delivered daily to small fish stores all over the place. I was not a huge fan of frutti di mare before, but I am now! I mean, how could you not?
And there is the highest quality dairy. Burrata and stracciatella di burrata are two of my favourite fresh cheeses. A simple and very cheap lunch consists of a fresh bread, a piece of cheese, cherry tomatoes, olive oil, prosciutto crudo and sweet pears. Fabulous and very healthy food!
If you are the only tourist in town just try to imagine how sweet the locals are. They are not tired with crowds and they have enough time and curiosity to spend a while with you. I got friendly with my neighbours quite quickly, not to mention a local tradesman who comes in his Ape car with fresh fruits every morning. He rings my bell and he sometimes leaves the fruits I ordered the previous day in front of my door, if I’m out. What a service!
Most of all, what makes my winter in Puglia a perfect experience, is the silence. I need it to work on my book. The good news is, I have recently completed a chapter about the Cook Islands. This is a huge milestone and I have to admit that the atmosphere of Puglia helped me a lot!
I hope to bring you more stories from Puglia. A visit at the hairdresser was very interesting. Living like a local is my superpower so stay tuned and come back for more.