In Europe, 76 destinations off the beaten path
Looking beyond Rome, Paris or London? Consider Europe's lesser-known destinations, such as Monschau, Germany, a town so quaint you can hardly believe it isn't a theme park or San Marino, one of Europe's oldest and smallest countries (drive through it slowly).
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Puglia, Italy( Rocco De Benedictis / For The Times )
Six years ago or was it a dream? I spent a day and a half in southern Italy on the Adriatic coast, and there I was left mesmerized by the sun-bleached stone, the blue sky, turquoise sea and dazzling white hilltop towns with twisting cobblestoned streets. I feasted on exquisitely pristine seafood and savored homemade orecchiette sauced with limpid green olive oil and bittersweet rapini served in shallow bowls decorated with blue dots. And I'll never forget the taste of the creamiest burrata cheese, still dripping with whey.
Good food and faraway places cast a spell on me. It may take months, it may take decades, but eventually I find my way back. And I finally did, returning last September to Puglia, one of Italy's most mysterious and compelling regions. Of course I got lost. Over and over again. But getting lost only makes getting found more interesting.
-- S. Irene Virbila
Related: Visiting Puglia? Don't forget your pickax
Pictured: The town of Ostuni in the hills of Puglia.