Overlooking the southernmost part of the Adriatic Sea, Apulia is often referred to as the heel of Italy. Bucolic and sunny, Apulia boasts Middle Eastern flair and a unique zest for life. Medieval villages, hectic ports and coastal havens all clutter the peninsula. Taste-test gelato, window shop and dodge reckless drivers in the surprisingly modern city of Bari. Opera, soccer matches, jazz fests and a horde of university bars make it the cultural heart of the region. Just outside the city, the caves of Castellana Grotte are truly spectacular and shouldn’t be missed. The natural caverns were once believed to be the entrance to the underworld. Nowadays visitors delight in searching for strange formations in the whimsical stalactites and stalagmites. Trulli, rows of white limestone dwellings strung together across a bizarre landscape of olive groves and low scrub are another must-see specific to Apulia. Like something out of a strange fairy tale, each structure is topped by a conical roof, many with hex symbols believed to ward off evil inscribed on them.