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The beaches (both rock and sand) of the Adriatic are not far from the charming white washed baroque village of Cisternino, where every weekend  the piazza has live jazz. A weird thing to come across in this rural, southern region. But the jazz is supposed to be excellent. The surrounding olive trees and vineyards yield an abundance of fruit, and the sun and rich red earth yield much fresh produce. One of the things that is fabulous about Puglia is the inexpensive, enormous portions at the restaurants. An enormous meal with a couple of bottles of wine at a private table in a stone piazza may set you back 1500 euros. This region had a unique and powerful position of Italy during the 13th century when the great Federico II, King of Sicily (which included this region at the time) and Emperor of Germany turned Puglia into a grain powerhouse. Alfalfa, wheat and other life sustaining grains came from here and proved to be an economic machine. Soon after fortified hill towns began appearing and later Baroque castles were raised. All these places make this an interesting region to visit. Perhaps best yet, because tourism is not.....developed here (although more affluent Italians are making this area their home for vacations), you feel like you are the first to discover this place.

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