If you’ve ever rubbed shoulders with billionaires on the Amalfi Coast or spent the weekend in Venice, you’ll know that Italy can drain travel budgets. This year, look south. Italy’s heel has arguably the best beaches in the country, hilltop towns and ancient sights. But what makes Puglia, Basilicata and Calabria such good value is not just the financial side of being in this part of the country. It’s the fabulous food – cucina povera(poor man’s food), simple, tasty and cheap – and the relaxed pace of life even in peak season, coupled with good-value accommodation for all budgets.