One cannot visit Puglia without observing the signature gem of the region – a trullo. Your best bet to find these structures en masse is by visiting the UNESCO town of Alberobello where there are complete streetscapes of these stone houses dating from medieval times (well over a thousand trulli, with a few open to the public). The main dwelling is a whitewashed drystone structure built generally in round sections, but it is the roof that is the distinguishing feature – conical like a dunce’s hat or a witch’s hat without a brim. Often there are symbols painted on the roofs: the evil eye, cross, heart, etc. chosen by the inhabitants and re-painted annually. On the tip of the roof is a carving unique to the builder and is his signature, the same as an artist signs his painting. Originally believed to be built by invading Turks, you will not see these trulli anywhere else in Italy.
Puglia is very “Italian” so you will not miss out on the food, wine, and everyday life that is present in the other parts of the country should this be the only area you visit. Enjoy your gelato, your pastas, your fresh salads, your wines. Seafood is fresh as well as plentiful being so near the sea: dine on shrimp, octopus, anemone, mussels, sea bass and more. Expect a regional twist or two to your cuisine. Bari is known for its cucina povera, that uses only fresh and local ingredients. Best known is an ear-shaped pasta variety made without eggs (just flour, salt and water) and the riso, patate e cozze (translated that is rice, potatoes and mussels) a dish that is baked in wood-fired ovens.