It’s no secret that I love Italy. In the summer, I especially love Southern Italy. Specifically, Puglia (Apulia). There is a part of the region called Salento that is just the best during the summer. We’re lucky to have made a friend who is from the region. We live like we’re truly locals in Salento, and this second visit solidified our enthusiasm. Salento is full of beautiful towns, stunning beaches, incredible food, and great wine. What’s not to like?

We drove from Rome into the region. Things just got more and more gorgeous as we drove. We stopped in a charming little town called Termoli, where we walked around the old city and had the most delicious seafood lunch.

We then checked into the loveliest boutique hotel in a historic family estate. Casa Pasca is the epitome of simple chic.

On our first full day, we headed to serene Torre Lapillo Beach. Lily was ready to hop in and practice the swimming skills she’s perfected over this summer.

The next beach we tried was Porto Badisco, which is great for kids because it’s more of a bay. I’m not surprised by this in Italy anymore, but the unassuming beachside restaurant was amazing–and really inexpensive. We had the best lobster pasta for fifteen euros. We also had delicious fish carpaccio, mussels in tomato and white wine sauce, fried calamari and shrimp, dessert, prosecco, and coffee. The total was less than 100 dollars. That meal was definitely one of the highlights of this portion of our trip.

Another highlight was visiting the town of Ruffano at night. It was absolutely breathtaking.

Our Salento trip gave me a travel first…I ended up in an Italian hospital. Our favorite beach in the area is Torre Dell’Orso. It is one of the most naturally beautiful beaches I’ve seen, and our second time lived up to the first. It was a great beach day, until…I saw a great photo opportunity and decided to follow in the footsteps of another beachgoer taking photos. Well, I almost lost my foot! I sliced the side of my foot on a jagged rock. The water turned red. We made a tourniquet out of Brandon’s tee shirt and ran into a pharmacy to disinfect and bandage my wound. When the bleeding continued, we decided to head to a hospital. Thankfully, I was treated kindly and quickly. I was in and out with minimal pain. At least I left with a great story (complete with the scar to prove it).

Hospital visit aside, we had a magical time in Salento. From the town festivals, to the beaches, to the memorable meals. I don’t think we’ll be able to stay away long. I’ll be more careful when it comes to photo locations next time…