The region that makes up the heel of Italy's boot goes by a couple different names—Puglia and Apulia both seem to apply, though the former is the Italian name.
Looking at a map of Italy, it's easy to see just how much of Puglia touches the water—the Ionian Sea on one side and the Adriatic Sea on the other. The vast majority of the region is flat (the exception is the mountainous Gargano promontory) and agricultural—Puglia produces more olive oil than any other region in the country.
Puglia is an increasingly popular vacation spot with foreign visitors, though Italians (and many Europeans) have been crowding its beaches every summer for decades. One of the UNESCO sites in the region is a big draw—the cone-roofed “trulli” in the town of Alberobello—and you can even stay the night in a “trulli” hotel. Puglia is also a frequent departure point for places like Greece, Croatia, and Montenegro.
While most of northern Italy is well connected by rail lines, southern Italy is not. You can easily get to Puglia's major cities—including Bari, Lecce, and Brindisi—but before you head for the heel make sure you won't also need a rental car to see what you want to see.
Photo credit: loloieg