Stars flock to Puglia for a one of a kind travel experience

July and August were especially high-profile months for Puglia, graced with visits from Madonna, as well as real estate tycoon Jeff Sutton and family, for daughter Renée Sutton’s wedding to Eliot Cohen, among others.

This was the Queen of Pop’s second year in a row in Puglia, where she returned to celebrate the big 5-9 at the coastal resort of Borgo Egnazia (just 45 minutes north of Brindisi) on August 16th.  Last year’s visit in July blew the star away, as she raved on Instagram about the beauty of Alberobello, Lecce and nearby Saint Mary’s Abbey in Cerrate, during her stay for a friend’s wedding in July.

This year she returned to the same resort in Savelletri, this time with her adopted four-year-old twins, Stella and Esther, for a more family-oriented vacation. Despite her visit being a family affair, she still got down and boogied a pizzicaa typical Pugliese dance and integral part of the local culture.

The origins of the dance go back thousands of years, as it was characteristic of the festivals that celebrated Dionysus (later known as Bacchus), the Greek god of wine and symbol of frenzied partying in general. It later evolved into a liberating dance whereby women who were supposedly “bitten” by a poisonous spider would dance and convulse hysterically with “therapeutic” musical accompaniment in order to expel the toxins from their bodies.

A dream wedding in Puglia, Italy’s up and coming tourist destination

wedding in Puglia this summer

Borgo Egnazia was also the hideaway for another high-profile family, that of billionaire Jeff Sutton, New York real estate developer, 522nd richest man in the world, and owner of some of the most exclusive properties in the Big Apple.

No expense was spared for his 21-year-old daughter Renée’s wedding to her fiancé, 19-year-old Eliot Cohen, at charming Lido Santo Stefano.

Over 400 guests were slotted to attend, including former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and former first daughter Chelsea Clinton. The couple took their vows against a backdrop of rocky cliffs overlooking the Adriatic sea.

The bride was  then escorted from St. Stefano Abbey to the beach (which was literally transformed into a massive dance floor) in a whimsical horse-drawn carriage.  A 20-page kosher menu and eight tons of flowers imported from Holland, plus entertainment supposedly provided courtesy of Lady Gaga, surely made for unforgettable evening. Let’s hope that the $25m bill ensures a marriage that’s just as long as that open bar tab.

Other celebs who’ve visited Southern Italy this summer

And if that weren’t enough, scores of other celebs have been flocking to Puglia as well: Hugh Jackman, Emily Ratajkowsky and Matt Dillon came to vacation in Polignano al Mare, Tom Hanks was in Ostuni, and French president Emmanuel Macron, as well as Helen Mirren, spent their summers in Salento.

Mirren is now the proud owner of a masseria (typical farmhouse) in Tiggiano, down towards the Cape of Salento, and is calling on other Hollywood elite to help save the centennial olive trees, which are being threatened with destruction by the Xylella virus.

The Heart of Southern Italy knows you’ll fall in love with Puglia too

Whether you’re looking for sunny weather, beautiful beaches, authentic travel experience or simply a foray into a new part of Italy, one thing’s for sure: The Heart of Southern Italy wants to make you feel just as welcome and enamored by this land as the big-name stars that loved on Puglia this summer.