Puglia, Italy: The Unexpected Wedding Destinaton (Chicago Agrees!)
I just discovered an underrated dream vacation and wedding destination that I have NEVER heard about before: Puglia, Italy! If you haven’t heard about Puglia either, you’re not alone. Puglia (pronounced “pull-ya”) is known as the unexpected wedding destination. But it’s one you’ll be glad you discovered from me after you read all about it.
As a blogger, I was invited to attend an informational session by the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans at The Emily Hotel, a STUNNING boutique hotel in Fulton Market. We heard from several leaders and artisans from Puglia, Italy about this breathtaking place and all its wonderful attributes that make it perfect for tying the knot!
Table of Contents
|Fun Facts About Puglia|
Renting a Castle for Your Wedding
Specialty Cheeses & Wine Knowledge
|Exciting Outdoor Activites|
|The Fashion Scene|
|Celebrities Who Have Wed Here|
|Local Artisans to Help Plan Your Wedding|
|Start Planning Your Trip|
Little Known Attributes of Puglia, Italy
While my boyfriend and I have always envisioned having a rather small intimate wedding, seeing this presentation definitely got me thinking outside the box. Say, getting our families together to elope inside a castle, maybe? In Puglia, that is totally possible.
This hidden Italian hotspot sits at the heel of Italy’s boot and is decked out with castles that brides and grooms can rent for their big day! Depending on the size and amount of day, I was told by officials renting can start between $2-$5K. Public castles can be a bit harder to acquire last minute in Puglia, Italy because they’re so popular. But private ones can also run a bit higher in price.
Castles among Sunshine Almost year-round
Puglia, Italy also boasts 300 days of sunshine! This makes it the perfect place to play princess (I mean bride, haha) for a day without the clouds and rain like England or Ireland. Along with castles, there are several gorgeous historic villages and coastal towns that sit on 500 miles of coastline.
Another aspect that adds to the beauty of Puglia, Italy are the 60 MILLION olive trees! I don’t know about you, but I LOVE me a fragrant bottle of extra virgin olive oil.
Mediterranean Cuisine For the Win
Speaking of fragrant olive oil, which the natives call their “green gold,” try having some freshly baked Italian bread or pasta to go with that! The food here really needs no introduction. It’s Italy. Even people who haven’t been know how amazing it is, myself included.
Formaggio e vino, sì grazie!
But a few fun facts for you about cuisine in Puglia, Italy… While, of course, you can count on a strong espresso and fluffy croissant in the morning, what really makes me drool is, get this: Burrata cheese. The word “burrata” means “butter,” and this soft textured, rich, and creamy cheese is made of mozzarella and cream. DROOL! Although I’m pretty lactose intolerant in the States, I’ve been told that all goes away when you travel abroad to Europe (thank GOD!)
Of course, don’t forget the vino! What makes Puglia, Italy so prominent when it comes to wine is the fact that there are over 27 native grape varieties.
Weddings aren’t complete without honeymoons if you ask me… Well, Puglia provides the perfect opportunity to stay another week (or two, or three…) for an epic, romantic honeymoon with the boo!
Since living in Seattle and also being in the military for almost ten years, I’ve become quite accustomed to being outdoors. Mostly because my boyfriend kind of forced us to get out into nature when we lived in Washington State haha. But while being outdoors in the Pacific Northwest didn’t seem as appetizing, what with the bears and mountain lions and all, Puglia makes it look like an absolute DREAM.
Some of the activities couples can partake in include horseback riding amongst the hills (so romantic!), biking along the coastline, surfing the Adriatic or Ionian Sea, and boating. Car enthusiasts can also rent classic cars, such as an Alfa Romeo as well.
The Fashion Scene Is Molto chic!
Fashion has begun to grow in Puglia, Italy, especially this year. Next month from November 3-7, the first-ever Fashion Week in Puglia will happen! Dolce & Gabbana has led the way in this region, creating its Alta Moda collection this summer, which was inspired by Puglia. According to Vogue France, the fashion show drew a crowd of 500 to Puglia, including VIP celebrities such as Venus Williams, Christian Bale, Kim Kardashian and Kris Jenner!
Famous Celebs Who tied the Knot Here
Speaking of VIP celebrities, a few have actually married in this gorgeous Southern Italy destination! Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel tied the knot in Puglia in 2012. And fun fact lovers: they’re still married! Guess who else? Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard were ALSO married in Puglia in 2009 in the Providence of Brindisi… AND THEY’RE ALSO STILL MARRIED! There must be something incredibly magical in the air here!
What’s even more incredible is that Maggie’s wedding was quite the intimate affair with only 40 people; so while many brides and grooms choose to throw big weddings in Puglia, smaller ones are totally acceptable as well.
The Land of Craftsmanship & Artistic Talent
Puglia is home to approximately 275,000 businesses and 3.9 million people. Of its businesses, 90% are small artisan companies filled with exceptionally talented craftsmen! Many of them design for weddings. I had the pleasure of meeting a few in person who flew in from Puglia and they were just delightful and so inviting!
Faniuolo Illuminazione has been around since 1875 and makes the most incredible light installations! You simply have to see his website and his work to understand how beautiful they are. Deni Bianco is another artist who makes the most intricate and breathtaking paper mache masterpieces, some of which are 30 feet tall!
All the wedding bells & Whistles
Brides and grooms wanting to plan their entire wedding in Puglia, Italy don’t have to worry about a single detail. With all of these artisans ready to create beautiful designs, there is absolutely nothing you would need to worry about bringing over from the States. For fashion, several designers are available to dress your entire wedding party.
Some of the designers who spoke to us in-person at The Emily Hotel incuded the following:
- Sartoria Latorre — men’s fashion
- Massacri — men’s fashion
- Michele Guadiomonte Couture — women’s fashion
- Rossorame — women’s fashion
- Elata — shoes
Pack Your Bags Jetsetters!
Despite the 300 days of sun, we were told the best months to visit Puglia is April through September. But August is not recommended since it’s the most expensive and crowded! Needless to say, this is just the BASICS of traveling to Puglia. Be on the lookout for my more in-depth blog after my boyfriend and I actually have the chance to visit and detail every part of our stay!
For more information on Puglia and places to stay, head to WeAreInPuglia.IT. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to actually be in this dreamy region posting on Instagram #WeAreInPuglia!