Car hire is essential if you really want to explore. Chancing upon remote villages as you drive along is all part of the fun.
There are airports at Brindisi and Bari, both with regular flights.
Puglia's main towns and cities are connected by train, though local services are often scenic and slow. Remoter areas, such as the 13th-century Castel del Monte, require a car.
Country code for Italy: 39. Local area codes: Foggia: 0881; Bari: 080; Brindisi: 0831; Lecce: 0832; Taranto: 099. Remember, with Italy you need to leave in the 0, even when dialling from abroad.
Casa Rossa by Francesca Marciano; Heel to Toe by Charles Lister.
Do go / Don't Go
If you don't fancy sweltering-hot weather and busy beaches, visit in early or late summer for milder conditions and the chance to bag a decent spot on the sand. Fine, sunny weather starts in spring and lasts well into autumn this far south, and sees the region at its best.
Enjoy an abundance of sun-ripened fruit and vegetables and delicious olive oil. Definitely try the local pasta orecchiette or 'little ears'. The region produces huge amounts of wine, too: Salice Salentino, a full-bodied red, is one of the best.
Trying to hail a cab on the street won't get you anywhere; go to a taxi rank or ask your hotel to order one for you. They are metered and levy small extra charges for luggage and for travelling after 10pm.
A service charge is usually added to restaurant bills, but it is customary to tip an extra five or ten per cent.
Summer wardrobe staples - think laidback southern style, not chi-chi Capri.
Don't go to Puglia without seeing the trulli. The Itria Valley is home to thousands of these circular dwellings, with beehive-shaped roofs and whitewashed walls, particularly around Alberobello.
Puglia was once a Greek colony, and nowhere suggests this heritage better than Ostuni's gorgeous whitewashed houses. Go along later to join the locals on their evening passeggiata - the see-and-be-seen stroll.
Bari's Via Sparano is the place to go for fashionable boutiques. Bari also has some excellent delicatessens. De Carne, on Via Calefati, is popular for local meats and cheeses. Almost every town in Puglia has its market day where, in addition to the fruit and vegetables, you can find handicrafts, such as terracotta and embroidery. Ostuni's market is on Saturday.
The hilltop mediaeval town of Locorotondo on the Murge plateau gives panoramic views of the surrounding Itria Valley.
The shopkeepers in the trulli-town of Alberobello pride themselves on their hospitality and their wares. Many offer free wine tasting in their shops.
June One of the oldest motorcar races in the world, the Rally del Salento, takes place in Lecce - a nail-biting event characterised by its sharp turns (www.rallydelsalento.com). 20 July The start of the Festival della Valle d'Itria - a three-week event in the town of Martina Franca, with opera, classical and jazz performances (www.festivaldellavalleditria.it).