Traveling in the extreme southern-tip of Italy last year in September was a wonderful experience. It was my first visit in Puglia and I’ve discovered a different part of the country in comparison to other areas seen in the past.
Puglia, the heel of Italy, is a region bordered on two sides by the Ionian and Adriatic seas, known for producing the largest quantity of olive oil and has the largest concentration of ancient olive trees with some dating back more than 3000 years.
What makes this place special is the multitude of captivating landscapes containing beautiful beaches, whitewashed hill towns, centuries-old farmlands and the local, organic food from surrounding farms which is a way of life.
A way of life that seems slow and relaxed, with friendly and welcoming people.
The best way to experience the different culture there, was to stay at one of the many masserias in the region.
Masseria Pilano, where I’ve stayed, is an old Puglian farmhouse from the 17th century that lies on 580-acres in the heart of Terra delle Gravine regional natural park. It maintains its centuries of farming tradition, specializing in fodder production, cattle rearing and the organic cultivation of age-old olive groves. Being an agricultural farm, visitors and guests can always enjoy the company of so many animals, like friendly shepherd dogs, Murgese horses or Puglian Podolica cows.
One would have been very jealous seeing me surrounded by the friendly shepherd dogs :). They always accompanied me on the walks I took on the farmlands, which include many different trees and bird species.
During my time in Puglia, I used the masseria as a home base. I took daily trips, driving through a landscape dotted with olive and fruit trees, divided up by dry stone walls, to visit some of Puglia’s well known whitewashed hill towns along the Mediterranean coastline. Admiring the crystalline turquoise sea from a cliff top vantage point was breathtaking. And walking on the winding cobblestoned streets of these towns, it often reminded me of Greece. Not to mention the harbor with brightly colored fishing boats of Monopoli, a fisherman’s town with an endearing charm.
Italy is by far my favorite country in this world and I can only hope to discover many more of its beauty in the future.
The images below were taken with the Hasselblad 503CW and the Carl Zeiss Planar T* 2.8/80 using Kodak Portra 400 film.
Scanned and processed by Richard Photo Lab in California.