Mediterranean Stepable

I'm in the middle of a big garden redesign, reducing the size of the vegetable area and creating a new family garden.
I would like to turn one of the veggie plots into a "stepable" lawn substitute. Can anyone suggest tough, earth-friendly, easy-to-maintain perennials that take foot traffic. Preferably aromatic plants and suitable for a mediterranean climate in Puglia, southern Italy (long hot summers with temperatures from high 20's often reaching low 40's, generally mild, can be wet, winters. Occasionally winter temperatures can drop to 0 but its unusual).
Also, should I weed kill the area before planting out, and if so with what, and how long before planting.
Thanks for all your help, suggestions etc!!
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LivingInPuglia


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