Italy Today

Apulia: here is where Americans can enjoy the Italian Dolce Vita

Mild winters, great food, layers of history and art, blue skies and affordable

Apulia: here is where Americans can enjoy the Italian Dolce Vita

Claudia Astarita

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A few weeks ago the American magazine International Living tried to answer a very interesting question: Where Do Italians Go To Enjoy the Dolce Vita?

Before looking at how this question was answered, it is important to clarify that the US magazine identifies under the "Dolce Vita" label a file that is embedded in an amazing and culture-rich environment and that despite that remains affordable.

Although admitting that near Rome's Trevi fountain it is possible to pay $20 for an ice cream and that a gondola ride in Venice can be paid up to $120, International Living correspondent Steenie Harvey also admitted that "beyond the country's big-ticket destinations", life in Italy can be very inexpensive. "It's not a case of compromise either?"just like art treasures, history, and luscious landscapes, good living is everywhere."

As a general rule of thumb, it is fair to state that the farther south you go, the more prices fall. "A quick example: the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Milan is $1,000 and in Florence it's $700. But in Lecce, a flamboyantly baroque city in the Apulia region of Italy's deep south, it's $436."

According to the American magazine, Apulia is one of the most beautiful region in Italy. It is introduced as "a land of rustic plenty", a "glorious garden", a place where "whitewashed hill villages look down upon a patchwork of dry-stone walls, wheat fields, and fruit orchards. The colours are astounding: red earth, silvery-green trees, houses dripping with purple bougainvillea, and, from many places, the glimpse of the hypnotic, blue-green sea".

Olive grows and beautiful beaches are part of the region, too. While the majority of olive trees dates back over a thousand years, at the seaside it is frequent to spot brightly-painted boats bob in small harbors, fishermen untangling and mending nets on quaysides, and markets glistening with everything from swordfish to sea urchins.

To Americans and tourist convinced that Italy is beyond their means, International Living reminds that Apulia can easily prove them wrong. "Whether it's a cone-shaped trullo house in the olive groves or a city apartment, there are properties for every budget: $120,000 delivers a lot of options. [...] Mild winters. Great food. Layers of history and art. Blue skies. Why look any further? Apulia is an Italy you'll fall in love with, and an Italy you can afford.

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