My dad lived in Puglia for many years and took us to the beach at Porto Selvaggio and other hidden gems. We parked in Santa Maria al Bagno and walked up to the ruined tower then through the woods and down steps to the beach (15 minute walk), which is part of a small pristine national park (but planted less than 100 years ago). Even though the water is colder than other beaches nearby, because it is said that a spring feeds into the sea there, the sea is turquoise and calm, and it is a very peaceful place for a day out, a swim and picnic. It is great if you prefer wild beaches to managed beaches with rows of umbrellas. It would be a perfect tranquil setting but for the rubbish that gets washed up on the beach. The water wasn't warm by Italians' standards (June) but for northern Europeans it is still comfortable to swim in. This area and Puglia generally is worth visiting before the July/August invasion.
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