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Italy’s astounding beauty is legendary. From its mountainous north in the Alps and the Dolomites to the verdant medieval hill towns of Tuscany and Umbria to the wild, sun-blistered beauty of the south in Sicily and Matera—and every place in between—it’s nearly impossible to pick the prettiest part. Add to Italy’s appeal sensational art, architecture, history and cuisine, and it’s clear why 63.2 million people visited in 2018 alone.

Otranto’s ancient and winding streets have weathered countless invasions and continue to enchant.

Otranto’s ancient and winding streets have weathered countless invasions and continue to enchant.

The bad news: that’s nearly 3 million more tourists than full-time Italian residents. Fortunately, there are still areas where you’ll need to know at least a few Italian phrases and will never once dodge a selfie stick. Puglia (anglicized as Apullia) has recently been in vogue for its conical stone trulli dwellings and the handful of beautiful towns (Ostuni, Polignano a Mare, Monopoli) strung like pearls along the coast between Bari and Brindisi. It’s a wonderful area to visit, but if you want to see something really spectacular, get off the beaten path and visit Puglia’s Salento region.



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