Whether you take photos just for yourself or in the pursuit of profession, Italy's diverse Puglia region is delightfully photogenic. Cities like Bari or Brindisi feed the street shooter, and architecture fanatics will delight with beautifully unusual combinations, while nature lovers are blessed with beaches, groves, and rugged hills.
Who can deny the charm of these strange little houses? It could conceivably be argued that the trulli of Alberobello put Puglia on the map for travelers. While the conical roofs are now permanent, they were originally built without mortar so that they could be dismantled when the tax man came calling. Surrounding Alberobello are expansive olive groves, with back roads cutting through and lined in many places with delightful low stone walls.
On the way to Alberobello is the tiny town of Locorotondo, with narrow streets and whitewashed buildings so common in southern Italy. It's a great place in the blue hour or even high noon, when the bright white contrasts so sharply with rich blue skies.
Baroque splendor abounds in Lecce, anchoring the bottom of the heel. With architectural details galore, Lecce makes it too easy to while away an afternoon on splendidly ornate details.
Also called "La Citta' Bianca", this quaint town perches quietly on a hilltop rising over the countryside. On a clear day, find a rooftop to even catch sight of the sea.
5. Gargano Peninsula
While not a single city, the stunning Gargano Peninsula sits at the top of the region as the spur that juts into the Adriatic. Towns perch dramatically on cliffs over the sea, spilling down to slender beaches, occasionally punctuated with distinctive fishing platforms called trabucchi. Much of this promontory is taken up with the Gargano National Park, which spreads from the center to the sea, including the Tremiti Islands.
For many years relegated as a take-off point for exploring Puglia or hopping a ferry, Bari is enjoying a deserved turn in the spotlight. With the labyrinthine old town huddled by the port, you'll find nonne working on the famous Orrechiette pasta in their doorways, and sometimes ragged but always beautiful mish-mashed architecture.
Photo courtesy Michele Cannone on Flickr
Image courtesy Michele Cannone via Flickr
At the very tip of the heel, you'll find Gallipoli. Here, men mend fishing nets in the sun, sea walls are perfect sunning spots, and after strolling the compact old town you can sit quietly and take in the achingly blue sea.
This is just a short list, I could easily keep going to twice as many or more. If you have a favorite town in Puglia for flexing your creative muscles, share it with us in the comments below.