Most days it feels as if we might be the only tourists in Puglia. A slightly surreal sensation in the Mediterranean where tourists usually out number the locals at this time of year (late May). When you look at a map of Italy, Puglia is the heel of the boot. It is a knotty hard scrabble land; scorched red earth, thousand year old olive trees, trulli (little hobbity houses with domed roofs that can date back to the 14th century) and extraordinarily delicious food. Everything – oranges, chickens, mushrooms, tomatoes, olive oil, sea food – bursts with flavor. It is as if you’ve only ever tasted the photocopied version of these items before.
Everything you want to visit here (museums, churches and shops) close daily between 12.30pm and 4.30pm so the locals can take a 4 hour siesta. It means if you don’t get up early, you are out of luck. You can breakfast late, drive for an hour through the tiny windy country roads bordered with poppies (behind trucks filled with shirtless farm workers holding scythes or three wheeler vans piled high with hay bales) and arrive somewhere just in time for all the shutters to come down.
This is a picture of the Trulli we are staying in next week. After visiting Alberobello (a UNESCO world heritage site filled with over a thousand trulli) today and having peaked inside the tiny rooms, Dad is worried he’ll have to jump from the bedroom door into the bed.