Where in Italy did the G7 meet last week !?

Happy Thursday Hidden Gem Travel community! Since I’m in the office this month with so many clients traveling and soon to depart, I’m enjoying hitting local restaurants that remind me of my past trips. Do you ever make a point to do that? Recently, I’ve had a fantastic Greek meal (very authentic), Italian (Rome-focused fare), Spanish (varied tapas menu). I’m lucky to live in an area with many fantastic restaurants, and what’s not hyper-local, I can get in New York City.

Quick note – currently I’m having a wave of inquiries for Africa – safaris (Botswana, Tanzania, Kruger…), Cape Town, and the Cape Winelands in particular. If Africa is on your radar for 2025 (Morrocco included), reach out today to get the ball rolling. These trips are best planned well in advance.

Last week, the G7 Summit was in a surprising location – Puglia, Italy! So, I thought it timely to dedicate this week’s newsletter to this under the radar, hidden gem area of Italy. It’s one of the least common areas of Italy that I get requests for, but it’s charm and coastal location make it a fantastic location –  particularly for clients who have been to Italy before and would like to explore more deeply, and those who prefer to avoid the crowds of the more heavily touristed areas.

Read on for the scoop that will inspire you to consider Puglia for your next trip to incredible Italy…

The Heel of the Boot

Puglia is located on the ‘heel of the boot’ of Italy with a long coastline dotted with many beautiful beaches. The region is known for its crystal-clear waters, ‘trulli’ (traditional white huts with cone-shaped roofs), charming, white-washed villages, and delicious, fresh cuisine. Its fine sandy beaches make it a popular destination for beach lovers.

You’ll find the region an estimated 3 hours driving time from Naples (opposite coast), and 5 hours driving south of Rome, or a 4 hour direct train ride. Note – you can combine a pre- or post- stay in either city as part of your itinerary.

A sample itinerary will take you to the towns of Lecce (often referred to as the Florence of the South), Ostuni, Alberobello, Bari and more if time permits. Read on for a couple of enriching experiences you may have in Puglia.

Example Tour: Ostuni and Alberobello with Olive Oil Tasting

After meeting your driver and guide, you will depart for Ostuni, built on top of a hill and known as the “white town ” because of its typically white-painted architecture. Ostuni, as nearly every old town in Apulia, was developed without a master plan, so buildings were often unstable; when a building started lo lean, villagers would add an arch across the alley to provide additional support from other buildings and this gave Ostuni its unique layout.

After exploring this unique settlement, your exploration will continue with a visit to a farmhouse where you will see their original mill and taste the olive oil, olive pâté, brine olives, and the typical “freselle,” with its breadstick-like crunch.

Once your tastings are over, resume your journey towards Alberobello, a unique settlement that deserves its place among UNESCO’s World Heritage sites, where you will discover its enchanting “Trulli” houses with white walls and grey cone-shaped domes as roofs.

💎Hidden Gem Tip:  This private tour allows you to learn about the towns from a local expert and can be customized to your needs and interests.

Example Tour: Bari and Lunch with a Nonna aka Italian Grandma

As the capital of the Apulia region, Bari boasts a rich history of both the old and the new. Bari’s old town is a place where time stands still, with its winding medieval streets, cathedrals and, of course, its famous port. Bari is the second most important economic center in southern Italy after Naples, as it is the gateway to the Adriatic Sea and the Greek Islands.

What makes Bari truly unique is its blend of incredible medieval history and the modern appeal of its restaurants and nightlife. Your local guide will take you on a walking tour for a first-hand experience of this vibrant town with some important examples of various architectural styles such as St. Nicola’s Basilica and the Norman Castle. 

Next, you’ll stroll down a tiny street viewing dozens of trays overflowing with orecchiette, the typical pasta of the region. Sitting on the thresholds of their houses, grandmas roll out these little pastas with precision and speed, while updating their neighbors on the latest events. One of them today will leave her post unattended and welcome you to her house for lunch. Join her table to taste the orecchiette she made, together with a number of scrumptious local dishes and some wine, because no Apulian Signora worth the name would let you leave her house if not happy and well-fed.

Inspired? Reach out to me now to get your questions answered and begin the planning process.

Wishing you amazing travel adventures,

Susan

NEW Section: Travel News You Can Use

💎 Hidden Gem Tip:  Travel Insurance – Why It’s a Must Have for International Travel

Every year, a handful of my clients need to use their travel insurance and a handful don’t purchase it. Yes, a good policy is pricey but like any insurance it can save you a lot should you need it. Insurance protects your investment if you need to cancel for a covered reason pre-departure… or if your trip is interrupted (again the key is for a covered reason). It also provides medical coverage in destination should you need it and a host of other protections. Things can happen that we don’t expect shortly before we travel and during the trip, so think again if your thought process has been “I’m not going to cancel the trip, so I don’t need insurance.” Yes, someone said that to me once. It’s a complicated topic and I’m not a licensed insurance agent, but I’ve seen enough to know what it’s important to have when you travel internationally.

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About Hidden Gem Travel Consulting

Hidden Gem Travel Consulting was founded by Susan Wilson.  After decades of traveling the world and working for Fortune 50 companies and global nonprofits, she opened her own travel business which is affiliated with Virtuoso – the leading global network of agencies specializing in luxury and experiential travel. 

Through her deep network and signature consultative process, she designs customized travel itineraries that elevate your escape and speak to what will wow everyone on the trip.  

It’s a new way to travel – a vacation that allows you to feel the full vibrancy of the destination while giving you access to perks, amenities, and experiences that are “ungoogleable.” 

Enriching. Experiential. Effortless. Hidden Gem Travel Consulting is your trusted travel advisor.

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Hi, I'm Susan Wilson

I’m the founder of Hidden Gem Travel Consulting. As your personal travel advisor, I craft custom worldwide itineraries that astound and inspire you.

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