Some of the best beaches in mainland Italy are in Puglia – particularly in a string of pristine sandy strands south of the historic towns of Avetrana and Manduria, the latter famous for its Primitivo wine. For white sand, translucent water and informal beach-shack lunches, head for the seaside villages of Punta Prosciutto (“Ham Point”) or Torre Colimena. The scene is molto informale, with families from Lecce, Taranto or Bari coming down for the day and either draping their beach mats on the sand or renting a sunlounger under an ombrellone, for example at laid-back Lido degli Angeli (lidodegliangeli.it). The nearby town of Porto Cesareo has the best selection of hotels, but it’s also worth looking at agriturismi or country hotels just inland – like the very chic Masseria Potenti (00 39 099 973 5408; masseriapotenti.it). (Lee Marshall)

Beautiful

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