Puglia: A guide to Italy's new hotspot
Hello from Queensland, where winter means we finally can wear jeans without feeling all Sweaty Betty by lunchtime. Of course, since I've spent most of my adult life living in the tropics, I can manage about a month of cooler weather before getting itchy feet for the heat again. This time last year I was planning a winter escape to Puglia. Forget a Roman Holiday (although that’s undeniable gorgeous), everyone is talking about Puglia as the newest ‘must-see’ and having been there, I’m talking loudly! The south of Italy is breathtaking in its natural beauty. No-one would be unmoved by its historic villages, white washed walls, unique cone shaped trulli houses, the stunning coastal scenery of the Adriatic, olive trees as far as the eye can see and, most importantly, the wonderful Southern Italian hospitality.
Let me share with you some of my favourite spots.
Our first stop, Locoratondo, happened to be the prettiest and most charming of towns. Also, Locoratondo is reknowned for its wines, which made me a very happy girl!
Here I savoured an espresso at the steps of the cathedral and browsed tiny shops filled with artisan products - think beautiful ceramics and hand made lace.
The medieval city of Ostuni was instantly captivating with its tumble of white washed buildings and maze of alleyways and archways. There we had the most memorable and delicious lunch in a traditional Apulian restaurant, Osteria del Tempo Perso.
Puglia’s baroque jewel, Lecce is a place just to enjoy wandering the streets of golden sandstone, finding hidden piazzas, enjoying lazy lunches and drinking local wine. In saying all that, my absolute highlight was a cooking class with the gorgeous and effervescent Gianna at the world-famous mother-daughter cooking class, The Cooking Experience. We had the most fabulous time at the local farmers market selecting produce, making pasta from scratch, all the while, sipping wine, because as Gianna says, ‘I could not cook without wine.’ How could I not fall in love with this woman?!
Where to Stay
The highlight of our holiday was staying at a gorgeous all-white Airbnb. The kids loved the pool and Ralph and I loved taking back local cheeses to enjoy as the sun slowly set into the olive groves. There is a huge selection of gorgeous houses to suit everyone. Take a peek at Airbnb
You’ll see the word ‘masseria’ pop up a lot when you’re looking for accomodation in Puglia. A masseria is a restored farmhouse that’s been converted into a hotel. Here are some particularly beautiful ones:
Recommended by Vogue France and Vogue Australia. And if it’s good enough for them, then it’s good enough for me!
A 16th century slice of heaven in a grove of ancient olive trees.
This takes the concept of La Dolce Vita to a while new level.
I've no words for the magnificence of this hotel by the sea. Take a look at the link and be instantly transported.