2 Weeks in Puglia, Italy
Julie Byrne’s song “Natural Blue” is playing over the car speakers, and we’ve just turned onto the local road that will take us from the Salentine town of Castro to the more famous Salentine town of Otranto. It’s a fitting piece to be playing, as stretched out before us is endless sky and, past the terrain of golden grass, the Adriatic Sea. I never could’ve imagined how unbearably beautiful the Adriatic Sea would be. We studied it in a range of temperaments throughout our two-week trip. It was our constant companion.
To be sure, Puglia, Italy’s boot heel with the Ionion Sea on one side and the Adriatic on the other, is not just one continuous stretch of coast and sea. Drive inland just a few miles and the landscape reveals not a trace of the watery dominion beyond. Red earth and olive trees—endless acres—dominate. This is agricultural Puglia. We spent a fair amount of time getting to know this identity of the region as well. It was quaint, winding, studded all throughout with jewels of towns as well as the peculiar stone structures called trulli. And everywhere we drove, the scent of the olive tree, assertive, sun-baked, dusty, seemed to follow.