Cool indie shops in Puglia, Italy

 In Indie Oxford Explore

As you might expect we’re big fans of Oxford but we also like to venture to places new and fill you in on their indies…

Last October I made the decision to ask for some holiday from work. Not a two-week break with beach and book (though that has made up some of it) but a good chunk of time off – 10 weeks. For many years I’ve wanted to travel around Italy so in mid-April I made my way out on my own with the intention to travel (roughly) bottom to top. I spent a good chunk of time in the region of Puglia before heading North West so here’s my indie discoveries from that region…

Note! I’ve found, especially in the South, there so many independent local shops, and I mean lots, with chains being the rarity. I’ve therefore picked indies and their owners that have really stood out to me. Enjoy!

Lecce

For the interior design nut who loves fabric, Epiphany Society is a must visit. It’s is a tranquil haven of beautiful, natural products for all over the home – I felt both instantly calm upon entering and insanely frustrated by the size of my travelling rucksack…

Their natural fabrics, dyed and created in Italy, focus on practicality, with the aim that they get better with age, and style (this is Italy after all!). Their belief is that the home is a sacred space that should be cared for and beautified as it surrounds us every day. Speaking to owners Rosanna and Christina, they’re clearly passionate about their products – they wanted to show off everything they offer and talk about all the press coverage they’ve had… A definite must visit but make sure you bring a large bag with you!

Gallipoli

After the city pace of Lecce, Gallipoli’s slower way of life was very welcome. I spent numerous sunny days and balmy evenings walking around the quaint streets of the historical town and came across two indie gems – Baguetteria de Pace and Nugae Gioielli.

Nugae Gioielli, situated on Palazzo Balsamo in Galipolli’s old town, is run by sisters Vittoria and Gulia with help from their mother. Their store offers a gorgeous range of handmade jewellery (I’m a sucker for good pair of bold earrings!) and ceramics with a strong focus on sourcing it locally or regionally. Vittoria was very happy to chat about her favourite products and is clearly incredibly proud of the five years they have been supporting the artisans they work with. If you’re in the area it’s certainly worth a visit but if not, you can shop online too! On departing, (and once again lamenting the size of my bag) I asked for any recommendations for lunch…

Say hello to Baguetteria de Pace, an adorable store down a side street that sells the best sandwiches. Everything they sell is grown, baked or sourced locally from Apulian suppliers so you’re certainly getting an authentic lunch. Upon entering you’re presented with a check list broken up onto categories – meat, cheese, vegetables, sauces, oils and pates and a whole host of different breads (the locally bread, Puccia, is a must!) – pick what you want and five minutes later you’re handed a little parcel of local deliciousness!

Monopoli

My final stop in Apulia was Monopoli, a lovely town on the East coast where I’d booked an apartment overlooking the bustling harbour. There was one indie that totally stood out here – Apulia La finestra sul mare, a business run by the wonderful Antonella and her husband Gianni offering a range of local products and cycling tours of the area.

My other half joined me in Monopoli and we went on one of the cycling tours. It was a leisurely 12k cycled over the course of four hours taking us to private homes with hidden cave churches, through ancient olive groves and fields of wild camomile, and to medieval olive presses concealed underground. All whilst learning about the history of the area and tasting local produce. A completely different and brilliant way of exploring this beautiful region!

Back at their store we tried delicious local wine (a few bottles came back with us…) and discovered that the business is even more of a local and family affair – her Grandfather makes the pasta and Paola, her sister produces a range of the products. If you’re in this area, make sure you visit!

It was lovely over the course of these few weeks to meet such a range of different people all passionate about the businesses they run. Upwards to Tuscany now…!

Anna

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