Art & History

Art & History

Art and History in Puglia

Inhabited since the Old Stone Age and once part of Magna Graecia, Puglia treasures many relics of centuries past – including several UNESCO World Heritage sites, a proto-historic necropolis, superb Baroque architecture, and ageless medieval towns and burgs.

Tourists are drawn to Puglia by the allure of its coastal and marine landscapes. But as they start exploring the region’s historical and artistic heritage, they’re put under Puglia’s spell.

Be inspired by our insider selection of top places to see in Puglia and top off your perfect holiday with a touch of superb Italian arts.


Castel del Monte Art & History Andria Apulia

The hilltop citadel and castle of Castel del Monte were built in the 13th century by Emperor Frederik II and awarded UNESCO World Heritage site status in 1996. While relatively small and largely stripped of its original decorations, Castel del Monte is still regarded as the most charming of Frederik II’s castles and fortresses.

With its rural location and octagonal plan crowned by octagonal towers, Castel del Monte is a masterpiece and mystery of 13th-century architecture. Historians have yet to agree on its original purpose – it might have been an observatory, a science academy, a hunting lodge, or simply a symbol of the emperor’s power and status. But regardless of its function in times past, its imposing features and harmonious blend of architectural styles have turned it into a symbol of Puglia and a must-see for art and history enthusiasts.


Trulli di Alberobello Art & History UNESCO Heritage Puglia

A trullo is a dry stone hut featuring a domed or conical roof made from limestone slabs. The name derives from the ancient Greek word for “dome” – a reference to the peculiar shape of this construction style specific to the karst plateau of the Murge in Puglia.

The signature design of the trulli traces back to the 14th century. Trulli were built up until the late 20th century using prehistoric masonry techniques. Originally, they were used by field labourers as storage and temporary shelters. Today, most are used as permanent or holiday homes. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996, the trulli of Alberobello are a popular tourist destination and one of Puglia’s most visited landmarks. Their ancient appeal and signature white look will take you back in time.


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The National Archaeological Museum of Taranto (MArTA) boasts an impressive archaeology collection featuring over 200,000 artefacts and objects that narrate the story of life and culture in Puglia from the Old Stone Age to the Early Middle Ages.

Besides majestic classical statues, detailed objects of worship, and awe-inspiring mosaic floors and decorations from the Roman imperial age, the MArTA features a broad collection of everyday objects that testify to the life and habits of Puglia’s past inhabitants.

As Taranto was the ancient capital of Magna Graecia, the MArTA also treasures invaluable works of local artists and craftsmen from the Hellenic era, such as the “Ori di Taranto”, an impressive collection of jewellery and gold masterpieces.


Classic Puglia Coach Tour

Lecce was founded over 2,000 years ago and harbours precious mementos of its long history. In the main square, the majestic remains of the semi-buried Roman amphitheatre (2nd century AD) juxtapose the Renaissance-Gothic silhouette of the Palazzo del Seggio (16th century). A few minutes away, the imposing façade of the Chiesa di Santa Croce stands as a masterpiece of Baroque architecture with a local twist.

But there’s more to Lecce than picture-perfect monuments. As the main city of the Salento area, Lecce is the place to explore the culture and folklore of the region. Tradition plays an important role in residents’ lives, and religious and secular festivals provide a glimpse into the region’s soul. The Feast of St. Orontius takes place in Lecce and is definitely the most important and awaited event in the beautiful Baroque city.


An important centre for the production of ceramics since the era of Magna Graecia, Grottaglie is a charming destination off the beaten track. In the old town, the 13th-century castle and the Chiesa Matrice (1372) stand out as masterpieces of medieval architecture and blend harmoniously with the splendid Baroque façades of private mansions from the 16th and 17th centuries.

True to its legacy, Grottaglie’s economy is closely tied to the production of premium olive oil and dessert grapes, which were praised in the classical era just as they are today. Combine that with the genuine Mediterranean taste of Salento cuisine and the character of local wines and you’re one step closer to bliss.

Find your cheap flight

Browse our selection of package holidays in Puglia
for Art & History enthusiasts

At Puglia Exploration, we’re proud of our heritage and passionate about sharing it. We partner with local tour operators to create bespoke package holidays and tours that allow you to explore and enjoy the many facets of Puglia including its nature, history, landmarks, and cuisine.

Want to delve into the splendour of Baroque churches and palaces, follow in the footsteps of ancient cultures, and stand in awe at grand remains of centuries past? Get inspired by our selection of group tours!

With our 7-day Puglia coach tour you can explore the heritage, traditions, and wonders of the region with maximum comfort. See mesmerising World Heritage sites and marine caves. Visit medieval towns and castles. Taste exquisite Mediterranean cuisine, try local delicacies, and relax under the shade of centuries-old olive groves. Mix and repeat.

With our Ancient Puglia tour, you can follow in the footsteps of Mycenaean Greeks as they expanded beyond the Aegean Sea to create what we now call Magna Graecia. Discover stunning mementos of the past, see how Apulian craftsmen still use ancient methods to create unique art, and make your Italian holiday wish come true.

Medieval castles. Superb Baroque architecture. Iconic landmarks. Exquisite foods and wines. Add to that perfect weather all year round and Italian hospitality at its best. With all this and so much more, Puglia is any traveller’s delight. Join our exclusive 8-day coach tour for a holiday that you’ll never forget.

Let us plan Puglia holiday

Want to complement your perfect nature holiday with captivating views of ancient castles, a gourmet experience by centuries-old olive groves, or a bit of sailing? Our bespoke made-for-you tours are just what you need.

Gravina in Puglia
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