“Piazza” from symbol of democracy to relaxing coffee time

After our daily tour, some guests go out for a walk or dinner in one of the many good local restaurants. Passing by the town’s square, they always see small groups of elderly men chatting among themselves or walking back and forth. “But where are the women?” is the classic question they ask me when we meet the following morning.

Groups of elderly men meeting in the square, is an image that represents the culture and tradition of beautiful Southern Italy. Today for many tourists the local squares represent the perfect opportunity to drink a coffee and do some people-watching.

In all historical eras the square was as a place and meeting center for citizens, mainly carrying out these functions: political (rallies, parliaments), commercial (fairs, markets), religious (processions and sacred representations).

The square was born, in Italy, at the dawn of the Middle Ages either as the churchyard of the Cathedral or as a large area in front of the headquarters of the civil authority. The square, as it appears from the typically Baroque conception, represents the living room of our cities. A place where history, architecture and culture merge and take on the fulcrum of urban life, affirming the identity of a people and strengthening their unity.

Thus, just like when we welcome someone into our home, the square represents the place where the visitor can make himself comfortable and enjoy what is beautiful we have to offer him. This concept has always been extremely linked to Italian tradition and culture, to the point of being exported all over the world.

Above all the square, like public spaces in general, is a spontaneous meeting place and for this reason it is a symbol of democracy. Therefore it is no coincidence that the Agora was the place used for public political meetings in ancient Greece, the society in which this concept was born.

Check out our full list of Puglia tours for a visit to our local beautiful squares and more.


Being meaningfully together at the table

Since ancient times, men used to sit around the fire, look each other in the eyes, exchange food and carry out the first communication. Among the smiles, the first words and the primitive practices of sharing food, the concept of conviviality made its way. Conviviality from the Latin cum-vivere ( living together ) today is contained in the image of being meaningfully together at the table.

Sitting together around the table, is a circumstance full of meaning to which we very often do not attribute the right human value. In fact, when we are at the table together, it serves to recover that family spirit and so the table becomes the place of mutual listening, of sharing, of exchanging words. Consequently, the most important decisions are often made while sitting at a table.

Furthermore the key element of the table is the food which earned more and more human value over the years. Food is language and culture, communication and then being together at the table underlines its symbolic-expressive power. Around the table you eat, taste, experiment and talk. Food and its flavors are transmitters of knowledge and stories.

That perfectly explains why lunch time during my tour, is as important as visiting a monument or a site. I spend time selecting the right restaurants since it’s as important as deciding the sites to visit. I believe that to truly understand the culture of a destination you must taste the local flavors.

Plutarco said “we do not invite each other to simply eat and drink, but to eat and drink together”. Sitting at a table for lunch, is the moment when my guests become my friends.

If you want to experience local restaurants and combine it with a guided tour of Puglia, have a look at our itineraries, price and description.


The most famous and reinterpreted Italian song

Domenico Modugno was born in Polignano a Mare, the pearl of the Adriatic sea in Puglia. He won Sanremo music festival in 1958 singing “Nel blu, dipinto di blu”. That song is also known as “Volare” which is the most famous and reinterpreted Italian song in history.

“Nel blu, dipinto di blu” was written in Rome in the summer of 1957 by Domenico Modugno and Franco Migliacci. There are various stories about the birth of the hit. As the Apulian singer confessed, the idea came to mind to his friend while looking at the painting “Le coq rouge dans la nuit” by Marc Chagall. Migliacci himself then revealed that in reality the song is the result of a dream in the saddest day of his life.

The two friends met one evening in Piazza del Popolo ( Rome ) and began to write down the words of the text. However, something was missing: the chorus. That “Volare oh oh”, which is the most remembered and recognizable part of the song, was born by chance. Modugno observed one morning with his wife Franca the blue sky from the window of his house and finally a masterpiece emerged.

In the United States, they named Modugno as Mister Volare. He recorded his hit in 13 languages and more than 22 million records were sold worldwide. Even today it is probably the most famous and reinterpreted Italian song in modern history.

His birthplace Polignano, wanted to dedicate a statue, created by the Argentine sculptor Hermann Mejer, which depicts the artist with his arms wide open as if wanting to embrace his hometown. Furthermore it has become an obligatory destination for those who want to take a souvenir photo. Behind the statue there’s blue sky and blue sea which recalls the song’s title “nel blu dipinto di blu”.

Check out our small group and private tours of Puglia for a visit to Polignano a Mare and more.


Why you need a guide to enjoy Puglia

Puglia is full of attractions and things to do from majestic castles to medieval cathedrals to enchanting top-hill towns. These beautiful attractions draw thousands of visitors to the region each year. Well, that and Puglia’s amazing cuisine and restaurant scene. So a guide to enjoy Puglia and your trip to Southern Italy, can give you a richer, deeper understanding of the spots you visit.

Puglia has had, since ancient times, mixed influences from the West and the East. Its strategic position as the natural southern border between Western Europe and Greece, made it a bridge to the East. Since Roman times has been known for its olive oil, wheat and wine. In the Middle Ages then, the crusaders sailed from Bari, Trani and Barletta to the Middle-East.

Besides you can’t officially say you’ve been to Italy’s southernmost region if you haven’t tried these foods straight at the source: burrata, focaccia, mozzarella, orecchiette, extra virgin olive oil, taralli and Primitivo wine.

So it takes a passionate, local guide to understand the rich history, to admire the hidden corners and eat in selected family-run restaurants. Besides you’ll make the most out of your time and get the best possible experience.
Experience Puglia is an individual tour Company, a sunny tour guide who loves his work.

Contact me, you won’t regret it 🙂

Check out our Puglia tours page for more details.