Picturesque seaside towns, expansive olive groves, historic villages, and beautiful Masserias, the southern Italian region of Puglia has an extensive and varied offering, ideal for a destination wedding.
Sitting in the very southeast of Italy, the region forms the heel of the country’s famous boot. Surrounded by the Adriatic Sea to the east, and the Ionian Sea to the west, the breath-taking coastline is famed for crystal-clear waters and white sandy beaches.
But, Puglia’s appeal for high-end weddings is far greater than the stunning landscape. There are many reasons that make this Italian region perfect to host destination weddings from around the world.
On a recent visit to Puglia to attend Connections Weddings, we visited several venues and met with first-class wedding professionals experienced in planning destination weddings of any size.
But before we list the top reasons for selecting Puglia as a location for a destination wedding, let's define some terms that you will encounter in Puglia:
Masseria: A Masseria is a fortified farmhouse or country house on an estate. A Masseria is similar to a hacienda in Spain or a plantation in the United States. The Masseria was like a rather large farm complex, where the land barons stored their food and possessions from the 16th to 18th centuries in Italy.
Tenuta: An Italian word for the estate.
Trulli: A trullo (plural, trulli) is a traditional Apulian dry stone hut with a conical roof. Their style of construction is specific to the Itria Valley, in the Murge area of the Italian region of Apulia (Puglia).
So, here are the top 6 reasons for choosing Puglia as a wedding destination:
1. Wonderful and Authentic Wedding Venues
Puglia is a region filled with hidden treasures; dotted all over the region are archaeological sites, medieval fortresses and castles and romantic churches, which offer an option for many couples seeking a traditional setting for their wedding.
Romanesque or Baroque cathedrals are steeped in history (often dating back as far as the 11th century) and the region also boasts 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites: The mysterious Castel del Monte, which was built in the 13th century under Frederick the Great; the magical Trulli of Alberobello and the Lombard Sanctuary of Monte Sant’Angelo - all are varied options for those seeking authenticity.
Of course, the extensive coastline and many luxury beach resorts cater perfectly for romantic beach weddings as well. Along the coastline, the Gulf of Taranto is characterised by white beaches and thick pine forests, Gallipoli is ‘the pearl of Salento’ thanks to its sweeping sandy beach and Torre del Pizzo is famed for its beautiful crystal-clear sea. Not forgetting, the picturesque harbour town of Otranto, which is the meeting point of the Adriatic and Ionian seas – these are just a handful of Puglia’s stunning seaside locations to consider.
Puglia is also home to many beautiful Masserias and Tenutas, which can cater perfectly to large parties. Offering luxurious yet authentic accommodation is Furnirussi Tenuta and Tenuta Centoporte, both located in the south and provide the perfect setting for a fabulous authentic Italian wedding. Other charming Tenutas include Tenuta Lucagiovanni of Maglio Eventi.
Borgo Engazia is a popular luxury wedding venue in Puglia, it is located in Savelletri di Fasano, where the hills of the Itria Valley gently fall away to the Adriatic Sea. The property itself is inspired by the shapes, materials and colours of a typical Puglian village.
2. Luscious Food and Wine
Simple, fresh and local. Puglia is famed for its authentic gastronomy, using home-grown ingredients and age-old recipes that have been handed down through generations.
Extensive agricultural areas across the region produce much of Italy’s grapes for wine, olives for olive oil and wheat for pasta. Fresh fruit, in particular figs are also widely grown in Puglia and the region boasts Europe’s largest organic fig plantation, which surrounds the beautiful Furnirussi Tenuta, a 5-star resort in Salento.
Being a grape-growing area, wine production in Puglia is deeply rooted in the influence of the Ancient Greek civilization. Homer is believed to have described the region as a place of eternal spring, thanks to its climatic conditions, which helped an abundant production of full-bodied wines. Negroamaro, Primitivo di Manduria and Nero di Troia are the 3 main Apulian wine varieties.
Regional specialties include fresh and homemade orecchiette pasta, which is typically accompanied with a vegetable sauce, cime di rape. Also, Murgia’s traditional Altamura bread, which is made using sea salt, sourdough, water and re-milled durum wheat semolina is highly recommended to try.
Other delicacies from the region include the creamiest burrata, a traditional product of Bari, which originated in the 19th century and the extra virgin olive oil, which is considered the ‘gold of Puglia’ thanks to its less than 1% acidity. Of course, with 800 km of coastline, Puglia also offers the freshest seafood including sea breams, sea bass, mussels and octopus - perfect for a wedding feast!
3. Beautiful Weather
Sitting in southern Italy, Puglia is known for its warm Mediterranean climate year-round. July and August are the hottest and driest months, regularly reaching highs of 30 °C. May, June and September are more bearable in the mid to high 20s °C and are the most popular months for weddings in Puglia region.
4. Easily Accessible
Puglia is accessible from most major European cities including London, Brussels, Moscow, Madrid & Munich via direct flights to Bari or Brindisi. From the Middle East Bari and Brindisi arirports are easily accesssable through connectons in Rome, Milan and other major Italian cities.
For those in your party who have more time, trains are a delightful way to travel to Puglia. Accessible from most Italian cities, it is a great way to take in the picturesque Italian scenery.
5. Fine Italian Craftsmanship
Puglia has long been one of the leading Italian suppliers for haute couture weddings dresses; thanks to a long tradition of dress-making skills, innovative design and exquisite fabrics. Known for the highest quality, delicate craftsmanship and attention to detail, Puglia’s ateliers are world-renowned and often participate in international wedding dress exhibitions such as Milan’s ‘Si SposaItalia’.
Puglia also boasts many wedding professionals and excellent artisans who will add great value to your wedding. These include wedding photographers (eg Sergio De Riccardis), fine chocolate making companies and caterers (such as Maglio chocolates that dates back to 1875), entertainment companies, musicians and many others.
6. Active Lifestyle
For an extended wedding trip Puglia is perfectly equipped to cater to the active travellers and nature lovers among your wedding guests. The Mediterranean climate and clear sea are ideal for a variety of water sports, such as snorkelling, diving, kitesurfing and water skiing.
On land, cycling is a great way to explore the region, with maps and guides available for those wanting a challenge. Trekking is also popular among visitors, particularly in the national parks of Gargano and Alta Murgia and for avid golf lovers, Puglia boasts many authentic courses, so get ready to tee off amongst olive trees or along the Adriatic Sea!