The far side and a far cry from the Amalfi Coast, Puglia, on the heel of Italy's boot, is a holiday destination apart both culturally and geographically. The region has attracted more than its fair share of travel magazine column inches in the last couple of years, yet still remains relatively untouched and is well worth exploring on a luxury holiday.
The luxury holiday vibe in Puglia could not be more different from the glitziness of the Italian Riviera. Where the west coast is all sheer sea cliffs and super-slick hotels, Puglia specialises in mile upon mile of wide open beaches and hotels converted from centuries old fortified farmhouses. Stay in one of these elegantly refurbished masserias, which are opening up along the coastline, and enjoy the region's good weather, deserted beaches and hilltop towns that feel unchanged for centuries.
The signature sight on a luxury holiday in Puglia is the conical-roofed dry stone trulli houses in many villages. These thick walled buildings - some many centuries old - are synonymous with the Itria Valley region, and the town of Alberobello alone has more than 1500.
Another place well worth a visit is Matera, a fortified hill town so ancient in look and feel it was used to film several scenes of Mel Gibson's 'The Passion of the Christ.'