There are lots of reasons to love Puglia, Italy weather, but in the summer it’s taken to a new level.
#1 Beautiful Beaches
OK, this one is a bit obvious, as it applies to just about anywhere during the warmer months. But this one deserves to on the top of list as Puglia has some of the world’s most amazing beaches along with a very active beach culture.
Italians talk about warm weather directly in relation to whether they’ve been able to go to the beach. For example, they’ll say, “The weather’s been so cool this year. I’ve only gone to the beach twice so far.” To them, the warm weather goes hand in hand with the beach.
In fact, we have friends who are in their 80s who go to the beach just about every day during the hot summer months. They feel rejuvenated by the salt water, as well as refreshed and cooled by the water and sea breeze.
And the beaches down south in Puglia are pretty spectacular.
#2 Guilt-free naps
Naps are standard all year long in Puglia. Everyone heads home for lunch at 1PM. They then eat lunch with the family (almost always with a pasta dish), and then retire for a nap before heading back to work around 4PM.
This is a nice tradition they keep up even during the winter, and it’s mandatory during the summer. When the sun is beating down and temperatures are rising, you really don’t want to be in the sun between noon and 4PM. It’s just too brutal and dangerous. Thus, you head indoors.
During the winter months, I can feel a bit guilt sneaking in a nap after lunch. After all, there’s always something to do. However, when it’s super hot in the afternoon, the guilt melts away with the heat and nothing feels as good as that afternoon nap.
#3 Longer days
This one almost goes hand in hand with the guilt-free naps. When you are able to take a nap, it’s nice that the sun doesn’t set until 9PM or so. Thus, you have a good 5 hours more of daylight to get your work done if you start again at 4.
I don’t know about you, but I always feel so much more productive when there’s more light. Even if I don’t actually DO more during my day, I still FEEL like I do.
The longer days also seem to bring more time with family and friends. When it’s dark out, I think it sometimes feels strange for someone to stop by and just say, “Ciao.” So the light brings family and friends over for visits late into the night.
Plus, the longer hours allow you to sit outside with them and enjoy #19.
#4 You don’t sweat
That’s because, while it does get very hot, it’s a very dry heat. Not really humid.
This is different from the Texas summers where I grew up. Or even NYC summers where I lived for 15 years. There, you could just be standing on a street corner for a minute and you’d be soaked in sweat. Gross!
Here, I seem to rarely have that problem. Which sometimes means I don’t realize just how much moisture I’m losing to the heat and forget to rehydrate. But I’ll take that problem over sweating any day of the week.
#5 Warm weather brings tourists
First, let’s be honest, a big part of our business if focused around hosting those tourists during the warm weather months. So of course I’ll always be happy to see them.
But it’s more than that. We genuinely enjoy sharing the wonders of Italy, our new home, with the rest of the world.
And we are never short of things to share with guests. From culture to history to food and more, Puglia has a ton of amazing things to share with any traveler.
Every time you see see a guest truly enjoying the Italian lifestyle, we get to enjoy again through them. We get to renew our fun and love of our favorite towns or our favorite meals.
And along the way, you make amazing new friends. I like to use the term Villa People, as they all become part of our Villa Cappelli family. Many return and second or third time. And when they aren’t here, we’re sharing stores on email or Facebook.
It’s brought so many wonderful people into our lives, I can’t help but look forward to meeting a new batch every summer.
#6 Your laundry dries faster
So every season, the nice dry summers are a welcome change. Clothes will seriously dry in half and hour or less. It’s very efficient. You can even leave your whites out extra long for an extra dose of bleaching sun action to get them even whiter. And the UV from the sun is an added extra layer of protection to get rid of any germs and odors.
Plus, hanging the clothes gets me away from the computer and kitchen and down in to the garden so I can get my own dose of sun as well!
Why haven’t environmentalists seized upon this notion and pushed for it in the states? Dryers must use a ton of electricity. Just imagine all the energy we could save if everyone hung out their laundry like back in the day.
And, as I said, it’s just as fast as any dryer cycle, plus with a few added benefits.
#7 It’s wedding season
Summer brings warmer temperatures, beautiful brides and handsome grooms.
It also allows the happy couple to take full advantage of the wonders of Italy. True, during the winter months, the couple can sneak outside to take photos, but guests are usually stuck inside. During the summer, you can use more of outside space and even have the entire wedding and reception outside.
For example, at our last wedding (which we cover in this podcast), the ceremony took place in the olive grooves, the antipasti in the courtyard, dancing poolside, followed by the meal indoors, and dessert and wedding cake all outside. While they certainly could have done all that indoors, the warmer weather allowed to make full use of the space and keep the crowd entertained during a long Italian wedding.
Speaking of, here’s a video of some of the wedding fun we’ve had at the villa.
#8 Crazy delicious cherries
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Italians definitely know how to eat seasonally. You just won’t find fresh cherries in the store in the month of October. Which means their arrival in May and departure soon after make you look forward to them all year. It’s a treat.
And Mamma Mia. I don’t really trust a person who doesn’t like cherries. What is not to like? So sweet and delicious. Every one a burst of deliciousness. Probably one of my favorite fruits.
Bonus fact: Cherries are a very low glycemic food. Meaning they won’t spike your blood sugar levels, which is really important for us all to consider, not just diabetics. A spike in your blood sugar will give you a burst of energy, but leave you feeling drained later.
I have to be honest, apricots are not my favorite fruit by far. When eaten fresh and raw, I find them usually a little too tart, and I’m not a huge fan of the texture.
For me, these sun-kissed morsels really shine when you make them into a conserve (like ours here) or bake them into a pie. I also like to throw them into my mourning smoothie where they aren’t overly sweet and blend up nice and creamy.
#10 Plump Peaches
I might not be considered a southern boy (south Texan or south Italian) if I didn’t love peaches. But they should be picked at the peak of their ripeness, which means they are juicy and succulent and not easily transported over long distances. If you don’t have your own tree, try to definitely find a farmer’s market for these bad boys.
Their full of vitamins and minerals, like Vitamins A and C, along with being low calorie and a source of fiber. But try to enjoy them as is, without sugar. If they are super ripe, you really shouldn’t need any.
#11 Fresh Figs
Let me explain. I never had a fig the way it was supposed to be eaten, right off the tree, until being in Italy. Most of the figs you find in the store are picked when they are way under-ripe. It’s the only way to transport them to the store without them falling apart.
But a fig, if left to mature and ripen on the tree, is literally bursting with flavor. And I mean literally, as many begin to burst and leak their sugary goodness all over the place.
As one guest put it one year after eating about 10 off the tree, “They’re like candy!”
If you don’t have a tree, I suggest you make friends with someone who does. You’ll be very happy you did.
#12 Perfect Plums
It’s purely a personal preference, mainly because they make the most amazing conserve (you can check out ours here).
When it comes to jams or conserves, plum is definitely not high on most people’s list. But it’s one of my favorites. If you’ve never had it, think of it sort of as a cherry and fig combination. Sweet and bright like cherry, but with a deep, rich flavor like fig.
#13 Lavender’s in bloom
Why more of Puglians don’t plant lavender I don’t know. It does very, very well here. Paul had the foresight to plant quite a few when we first started renovating the villa. Now they are huge plants that generate the most amazing flowers every year.
Some we sell to locals to resell at the wholesale flower market. The rest, we dry to put into our Erbi di Puglia.
I really love everything about lavender. The beautiful color. The bees buzzing around them going crazy for their pollen. And that amazing scent. It’s a proven calming agent, helping eliminate tension and help people sleep. There are tons of other benefits of lavender essential oil as well, but that’s for a whole other post.
#14 Yummy Zucchini
Grilled. It’s pretty basic. Just slice then, grill your slices, top with Villa Cappelli extra virgin olive oil, raw chopped garlic, chopped mint, a sprinkle of Villa Cappelli Sea Salt, and a touch of balsamic. Great because you can make ahead (they’re actually better this way as they have time to absorb all the flavors). And you can serve room temperature, so you don’t have to worry about reheating them.
My second favorite way is as a zoodle. That being, a zucchini spiralized into a noodle. Don’t know what a spiralizer is? Here’s an example the actual brand I’d recommend.
Essentially, the zucchini gets cuts into thin long strips making a zucchini spaghetti which I can then toss with just about any pasta sauce. Thus, I can still enjoy the pasta course like everyone else, but not eat any grain.
#15 Appetizing Eggplant
For me, it’s sort of blank canvas vegetable. While it does have a taste, it’s not overpowering so the egglplant usually takes on the flavoring of whatever seasonings you put on it.
It’s also amazing prepared just like the grilled zucchini above. Actually, I usually do them both at the same time if we are having a big lunch event.
However, for me, my love came with making eggplant parmesan. It is a pain in the butt to make, but it can feed a lot of people and it’ll last all week as leftovers. The Reader’s Digest version of the recipe: fried slices of eggplant, layered with tomato sauce and cheese. Essentially, an eggplant lasagna.
Get. In. My. Mouth. Now! So good.
#16 Sciupatiz (the local Terlizzi dialect for Carosello)
What the heck are they? They are delicious, that’s what! OK, kidding aside, they are a small, short oval shaped vegetable (see picture). Like a short, plump cucumber or melon. And that’s the taste as well. Sweeter than a cucumber, but not as sweet as a melon. They are somewhere in between.
Personally, I like them peeled and deseeded, sliced and drizzled with some extra virgin olive oil, a touch of vinegar, salt and pepper. I like putting them in the fridge first so they are nice and cold, this way they are super refreshing.
Hopefully that description does them justice, because they are great. I wish I could tell you where to find them in the states or elsewhere, but your best bet is to find some seeds and grown your own. Here’s a link to some I found on Amazon.
#17 Out-of-this-world Tomatoes
However, there is no comparison when you get tomatoes that are in season and not from a hot-house. Sweet. Juicy. Tasty. Sooooo good.
I was never a fan of tomatoes growing up, and I think because when my dad wasn’t growing them, we got them from the grocery store. Here, they had been picked green, shipped across the country and then pumped full of gas to turn them red. Thus, they were mealy, tasteless red balls.
Now, I pop ’em like candy when I need a snack. Who knew this “vegetable” could be as sweet as the fruit it is?
Creamy. Smooth. Delicious. And with less fat and calories than ice cream. It’s made with more proportion of milk to cream, and in churned at a slower rate than ice cream. Thus it has less air. So it’s denser and servered at a warmer temperature than ice cream. All this makes it silky, soft, melt-in-your-mouth amazing. Plus, the lower fat content lets the flavor really shine.
And that’s the best part, the flavors. They range from your usual chocolate and hazelnut to fun fruit varieties like fig or melon.
Don’t be afraid to explore! The workers in the gelatorino will be more than happy to give you a taste of several flavors before you decide.
#19 Summer drinks
I don’t think the benefits of these need explaining. And I hope to share them with you poolside one day!
So what’d you think of the list of reasons to love Puglia, Italy weather in summer? Would you add something else? Take something out? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.