Puglia is the long strip of land, 250 miles from north to south, that makes up the heel of Italy. For centuries it was a strategic province, colonized, invaded and conquered by just about every major power of the day – from the Greeks through to the Spanish. There’s plenty of architectural interest in Puglia, as each ruling dynasty left its owndistinctive mark on the landscape – the Romans their agricultural schemes and feudal lords their fortified medieval towns. Perhaps most distinctive are the kasbah-like quarters of many towns and cities, a vestige of the Saracen conquest of the ninth century. The Normans endowed Puglia with splendidly ornate cathedrals, while the Baroque exuberance of towns like Lecce and Martina Franca are testament to the Spanish legacy. But if there’s one symbol of Puglia that stands out, it’s the imposing castles built by the Swabian Frederick II all over the province – foremost of which is the Castel del Monte. Exploring the ancient cities, we will come across a peculiar indigenous building, the trullo, a beehive-shaped cottage built without mortar. And crisscrossing Puglia, we will travel along stunning beaches, beautiful landscape with its olive groves and vineyards. Culinary adventures await at each location.