Viaggio in Italia

Tour of Apulian Craftsmanship

Artemest is proud to present the ultimate insider’s guide to Italy. Second stop: Apulia. Discover the beauty of this land and explore the heel of Italy from south to north, crossing olive groves, wildlife sanctuaries by the sea and several hundred miles of coastline peppered with historic white towns, home to the most authentic local craftsmanship.

Located in one of the most suggestive parts of the country, at the heel of Italy’s boot, Apulia is characterized by wild beaches and eye-pleasing seascapes. The region is steeped in history and covered with traces of the past: amphitheaters, old baroque palaces, castles and majestic churches are silent witnesses of the several cultures that have inhabited the territory in the past. 

Rooted in this wild and ancient land, local craftsmanship takes inspiration from its multicultural origins and authentic landscapes.

Illustration by Eau de Papier
Salento

Overlooking two different seas – the Ionian and the Adriatic – Salento has a strategic position. If you are looking for a unique experience, go to Santa Maria di Leuca and enjoy the view from the extreme tip of Italy. For the lovers of nature and its secrets, this location is a real must-see: its rocky scenarios will leave you speechless and will remain in your memories forever. On the road to Otranto, where you can visit the beautiful Aragonese Castle and enjoy the sunset on the lungomare of the fortress, don’t forget to make a stop in some of the small historic villages of the land. 

Here you can experience the most authentic Italian craftsmanship: in Cutrofiano the pottery tradition has been going on since 1650 thanks to the masterful work of ​Fratelli Colì and ​Nuova Colì. In Torrepaduli the same material is shaped in a completely different way by ​Kiasmo. A few kilometers away, hidden in a small hamlet near Otranto, there is ​Affreschi & Affreschi atelier, the first manufacturer of frescoes with plaster-based support.

Surrounded by olive groves and small clusters of white villages, stands proud the city of Lecce. Here you will be surprised by the presence of a majestic open-air amphitheater just in the city center, a few steps from Santa Croce Basilica and the vast Piazza del Duomo. The city is home of many other architectures, carved from the buttery local tufa or pietra leccese, masterly crafted by the local stonemasons. 

After your tour of the historic city center, don’t forget to stop at ​Gianfranco Conte atelier to explore the world of Apulian ceramics and at ​IJO Design shop for exquisite handmade textiles. The city’s surroundings are teeming with small family activities representing one of the most active design scenes of the region: from modern metal pieces by ​Da A to distinctive wooden furniture by ​Barba Design.

Discover Apulian Craftsmanship

Valle d'Itria

Hidden in the Apulian inland, Valle d’Itria is one of the most characteristic and authentic parts of the region. It is composed by a dense string of città bianche – white towns – each one with a story to tell. The town of Alberobello is worldwide known for the presence of small beehive-like stone dwellings called Trulli. If you fall in love with these ancient unique architectures, you need to visit ​Carola fra i Trulli atelier, where you can find some interesting ceramic reproductions of the Trulli. Another destination is ​Lab58, where wood is engraved and shaped to design contemporary furniture. Alberobello is only one of the Valle d'Itria white towns: the historic quarters of Cisternino, Martina Franca, Ostuni, Grottaglie and Locorotondo are all worth a visit and are within easy striking distance of one another.

While visiting these medieval hamlets, it is a pleasure to get lost among the wonderful narrow streets filled with small romantic restaurants and immersed in the scent of Mediterranean delicacies. Here it’s easy to find small craft shops such as ​Bottega Del Monaco in Grottaglie - one of the most important sites of ceramic production – or ​Tenda In and ​Lithos Mosaico Italia in Martina Franca.

Bari and Surroundings

Bari is the Apulian capital city and like many of the region’s towns, the most interesting part of it lies within the walls of the old city, or as it’s known here, Bari Vecchia. Following the narrow cobbled streets, colored with faded pastel shades and pure white, you can reach some of the most authentic examples of Romanesque style churches, such as the Basilica of San Nicola. Inspired by the beauties of the city, local designers and studios such as ​Gianluca Facchini and ​Apulia Design work to enhance Italian craftsmanship and the ancient tradition of wood working. 

Once in the old town, after a bite of the typical Barese focaccia, don’t forget to visit the Normanno-Svevo Castle: built in the 12th century, is one of Puglia’s most interesting fortresses and a fascinating example of medieval construction. From there take a walk and stroll along the Lungomare promenade to enjoy the golden hour with an exceptional view out to the horizon.

Bari is the perfect location to embark upon a longer journey, all dedicated to craftsmanship, through the Apulian countryside: in Altamura, a picturesque place where the sounds of the artisan workshops can be heard along the streets raising the value of Made in Italy, you can find ​Amura and ​Pietre di Monitillo ateliers, and the historic brand ​Ferri 1956; in Andria there are many important realities of contemporary design from lighting to textile such as ​Lux Illuminazione​Migliorino Design​Cibelle and​ Txxnty Brand Design. During your tour from the south to the north of Apulia stop in Gioia del Colle to discover ​Dimarmo and their minimalist marble pieces and in Castellana Grotte to explore the world of decorative Wallpaper at ​Rimura's workshop.

Gargano and Foggia

Called Italy’s spur because of its shape, the Gargano Promontory is a balcony over the Adriatic Sea. A real haven of peace full of leafy vegetation and romantic evocative places, it is characterized by stunning views of crystalline sea and a wild genuine appeal. As the most extensive National Park in Italy, Gargano represents a real nature’s jewel, perfect for the adventurer who wants to explore and observe nature from a privileged position. Here many small towns deserve a visit such as the beautiful Mattinata, with its large sandy beaches immersed in centuries-old tree groves or Vieste, an enchanting village with its majestic cathedral and castle.

A few kilometers from Gargano, rise Foggia, one of the most important Apulian cities. Here you can find many beautiful sites and historical architecture such as the Duomo and Chiesa delle Croci. Scattered all around the city, many workshops and design laboratories carry on the Italian craftsmanship tradition, from ​Frisoli’s contemporary style to ​Antonio Lariccia’s metal sculptures. 

Explore some of the best destination and retreats in Apulia and add a touch of authentic Italian style to your travels. From south to north you can find beautiful traditional Masserie, charming boutique hotels and relais where you can savor the luxury of slow living.

Our Destinations Around Apulia