Summer Dreaming

by Sunni Chapman



On gray days like today, I fantasize about the summer. I imagine myself back in Italy, hiking the cliffside towns in the Cinque Terre. I smell the fresh sea air. Or, I am in Sicily, diving off sun-bleached cliffs.

In the summer months, Italy is a land of sun and sea. Towns seem to grow, like mushrooms, out of the cliffs here. Sorrento’s bluffs plunge deep into the blue sea. On a clear day here, you can even see Capri – crowned in wisps of clouds -- in the distance.

This past October, I was lucky to travel to Puglia with a group of our awesome travel agents. Walking along the seafront in Otranto, we breathed in the salty breeze. As she watched a sailboat bobbing in the bright blue bay, one of the agents commented to our group: “Now, this is the real Italy!” I couldn’t agree more.

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Puglia is one of my favorite travel secrets. You won’t find hordes of tourists here. Nope, this is Southern Italy minus the masses. Puglia brims with pristine coves, sandy beaches and charming villages.

No lines. 

No hassle. 

No crowds.

Just sun and sea and genuine Italian hospitality. Below you’ll find our secret seaside gems in Puglia. Shh, don't tell:

GALLIPOLI

The city of Gallipoli means “beautiful city” in Greek. And, for good reason! Gallipoli boasts a medieval fortress, crystal-blue waters and sandy beaches. The city center is on an island— ideal for exploring on foot. Nearby, sea lovers can enjoy the pristine beaches of Torre del Pizzo or Punta della Suina. You’ll find here some of Italy’s bluest waters -- locals call it Italy's Caribbean! With our agents, we lunched here on crab pasta while the waves lapped at the beach below.

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OTRANTO

I have to say that Otranto is one of Italy’s loveliest seaside towns. Otranto is famous for light blue shores and charming stone homes. When I was here in October, we paused for a glass of wine on the town’s seaside promenade. As I sipped a glass of the local rosé, we spotted fisherman hauling in the day’s catch. Their brightly-colored boats seemed to fly on the azure seas.

Otranto

GROTTA DELLA POESIA

Outside of Lecce, you’ll find the Grotta della Poesia – a swimming hole beloved by the locals. Locals dive from the grotto’s stone rim deep into the green-blue pool below. The last time I came here, we packed a picnic lunch – nibbling on mozzarella after our dip in the cool water. I can’t think of another place where I’d rather spend a sunny day.

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Curious about Puglia?  Experience it for yourself!   Join us this fall on our agent trip to Puglia    October 21st - October 28th. After one week in Puglia, I am betting you’ll think:   why would I want to go anywhere else?
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