The Apulia region in the south of Italy is known for its unspoiled scenery and relaxed way of life. It is a land of bright sunshine, bright colours, and simple food with bright flavours - the raw ingredients are so good, it's a shame to waste them in complicated fussy cooking.
Although the area has taken culinary influences from nearby Greece - notably in the use of lamb - and from it's closeness to Africa and the spice route, most of the food eaten is pasta with excellent vegetables and fish cooked simply. What meat there is is often bought at rosticceria butchers, where it is cooked over coals as you wait - preferably while sipping a glass of wine!
Pasta is a Puglian staple, and the most common kind is orechiette, or 'little ears', which is traditionally handmade in vast quantities and served with a simple sauce of olive oil, chilli, and whatever vegetables are to hand. No eggs are used in the pasta of the region, as is common across the southern parts of Italy.
The olive oil of Apulia is vital to the region's economy, with an estimated 40% of Italy's total production coming from here, and it is used liberally in even the most simple of dishes. Another staple is bread, made from a mix of durum and wheat flours, with the town of Altamura's bread having a protected status as a regional delicacy.
Apulia is well known for its robust wines, of which the most well known is probably Primitivo, and red wines from here tend to be full and well flavoured. There are many vineyards and cantinas around the region, especially in the Salento area, and organised wine tours are a favourite of the area's relatively few tourists who know a bargain when they see one.