Welcome to Puglia where history, art, culture, a beautiful landscape, and sea unite in one of Italy’s most incredible regions. From the coast to the vast olive groves, from good food to hospitality: a perfect mix to make your holidays absolutely complete.
In a land so full of nuances and contrasts, the villages represent a romantic side, where the elegance of the stone houses blends with the beauty of unspoiled nature. In the quiet of these ancient villages, time seems to have stopped.
In this article, we will attempt to share the experience of meandering through the narrow, cobblestone streets and steps of the tiny whitewashed villages with the scents of local flavors and the sea wafting through the air.
The Village of Noci
Between Bari and Taranto in the land of the Trulli lies Noci– a splendid village that represents the beauty of this territory.
Surrounded by walnut, ash, and oak trees, Noci is the halfway point between two seas (28 km from the Adriatic and 35 km from the Ionian Sea). The ancient dwellings are known as gnostre (from the Latin word for cloister). Gnostre are small spaces consisting of three closed sides with only one side overlooking the main street. At one time, there were real alleys, but then they were closed to make room for the construction of new houses. This happened because of the demographic increase recorded in the eighteenth century, resulting in an area that is both semi-public and semi-private.
The fascinating journey into this wonderful village begins at its ancient nucleus. The Chiesa Madre or Mother Church overlooks Piazza Plebiscito. In front of the Mother Church, the clock tower is the reference point for the old town center. Noci’s center is characterized by imaginative stone chimneys, staircases, stone benches, wells, loggias and pergolas, shrines dedicated to the Patron Saint San Rocco alternating with the ancient and elegant manor houses, expertly restored. Among these winding alleys, it is still possible to come across children playing and women chatting while shucking fava beans.
Just outside of the old town center, you will arrive in Piazza Garibaldi and the pleasant shade offered by its many trees. This is undoubtedly the ideal place for delightful walks, moving towards the Church of the Holy Name of Jesus until you reach the Church of San Domenico on the opposite side of the historic nucleus.
Because of the location in which these churches are located, Noci is also called “the city of the three bell towers”. Whether you come from the Ionian Sea or from the Adriatic, you can see first the three bell towers and then the rest of the city. In every corner, there is a church to welcome the stranger and according to a historian from Noci, it is a sign of benevolence.
Exploring the Area
Noci is also located in a perfect location, halfway between Alberobello and seaside resorts such as Monopoli and Polignano. This genuine but elegant village can also be an excellent starting point for those who choose to bike ride between land and sea, along the Itria Valley Cycling Network. Immersed in the silence of the countryside, surrounded by the green of the prairie and white trulli, you’ll need to stop to catch your breath. Not because of fatigue, but because of the breathtaking view in front of you. You won’t need anything but a nice dip in the crystal clear sea of the surrounding area to relieve the fatigue of pedalling.
Food and Wine
The economy of Noci is primarily agricultural with numerous family-operated farms. Tourists have the opportunity to visit the Cantine Barsento winery in the Oasis of Barsento. This is a protected area that is part of the territory of Noci.
The wineries are composed of two large rooms carved into the limestone rock- one for aging wines and one for refining. You can enjoy the many quality wines produced by the Colucci family such as the Patruno, a ruby red wine with an intense fruity aroma. At the end of the visit, you can taste the typical dishes of the area, accompanied by the best wines and extra virgin olive oil labeled Barbera.
Farmhouses are known as masserie here and are typically cube-shaped. They are the ideal places to spend a day in contact with nature and enjoy local products.
These experiences are even more special because the locals are known for their hospitality and one will have no trouble finding hotels, farm holidays, restaurants, and all types of tourist facilities and activities.
Bacco nelle Gnostre is the most celebrated event organized in the area which brings 100,000 visitors every year in November. It is one of the most anticipated food and wine events in Puglia. Chestnuts, red wine, music, street artists and other cultural initiatives are all part of the celebration. Visitors can taste the best wines from local wineries served by over 200 sommeliers as well as farm to table dishes.
In 2013, Bacco nelle Gnostre was awarded the Eco Festa Puglia certification meaning it is an environmentally friendly event. The festival is a great way to discover all the beauty of the area and the characteristics of this small town, with centuries of history and enchanting landscapes all around.
In whatever season you choose to visit, Noci will most definitely capture your heart!
Copyright photos: agapuglia.it; informgiovaniagropoli.it; pugliaeco.it; bikeitalia-it; cantinebarsento.com; brindisilibera.it; ilturista.info; famedisud.it
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