If you've ever had the joy of summer spent in southern Italy - you'll know that Puglia is the perfect balance of rolling hills and turquoise coastline. The region boasts incredible design and architecture, grottos bursting with beautiful artisan wares, and masserie serving up fresh and simple local fare. We share some of our favourite places that will have you glowing with a European summer tan and feeling positively inspired (until next summer)...
A traditional Masseria is the best way to experience Puglian accommodation, with so many historically restored farmhouses dotting the region. They are simultaneously austere and luxurious, simple yet spacious and retain much of their original charm in the architecture and fittings.
Constructed in 1861, Palazzo Daniele is set in the the village of Gagliano del Capo and only opened the doors to the public in April 2019. Home to four generations of the Daniele family, the property is the former family palazzo of Francesco Petrucci, founder of Capo d’Arte, who entrusted the task of restoring and renovating to Milanese architects Ludovica + Roberto Palomba. Inspired by the idea of ‘absence’, the architects stripped back as much as possible, with the contrast between the traditional and the contemporary, art and function, extending to through to each of the nine suites. A haven for the art and design minded, enjoy the vaulted ceilings with restored Monastic frescoes and 150-year-old exposed cracks and mosaic tiling sitting alongside a growing collection of contemporary art. This is also where we shot our Casa D'Arte collection (check it out here.)
Masseria Anguilli Piccollo
Only five minutes from Grottaglie, Masseria Anguilli Piccollo sits on over 85 hectares of rolling hills, olive groves and vineyards. Built from Tufo, a type of sandstone typical of the area, each room feels airy and bright with high vaulted ceilings and robust wooden furniture pieces softened with striking artworks. This place is perfect for multiple families; hang out in the pool for sunset Aperols while the kids run around on the grass courtyard and pick olives, pears, apricots, pomegranate and almonds from the gardens. The farmhouse was actually abandoned for years, with nature taking over its interior but it was very carefully restored over many years by current owners who went to great lengths to retain its original history (thankfully!)
Masseria Moroseta exploded onto Instagram in a BIG way a few years ago and started a flurry of interest in Italy’s little known heel, and it doesn’t disappoint. As you drive down an old country road lined with century old olive trees, you will come to a simple, modern white stone structure standing proudly on a ridge overlooking the Adriatic Sea and the nearby town of Ostuni. Built with local materials and using traditional techniques (YES!), its modern architecture was influenced by the great estates of the Puglian countryside. Surrounded by five hectares of organic olive groves, the farmhouse is an enclave of tranquillity and rural simplicity.
Everywhere you go within the region, there are restaurants and cafes that offer the best of southern Italian fare – however for the most authentic meals – eat at one of the many Masserias that are dotted throughout Puglia. You will be assured a modern and rustic home cooked meal from paddock to plate. Our favourites:
Set in half a square mile of its own olive groves, kitchen gardens and vineyards, Masseria Potenti is a working farm that prides itself on being self-sustaining. Most of the food on the menu is grown here. If you stay here as well you get the pick of the buffet breakfast, which includes homegrown cereals, yogurts, homemade jams, freshly baked and typically Puglian "ciambella" cakes, and eggs straight from the henhouse all served under a vine tangled gazebo.
The food here also lives up to the hype – with only a very small number of bookings per sitting and a beautiful outdoor shared table– it has the vibe of a private dinner party where the guests are a surprise. An incredible menu using local and seasonal produce – much of which is grown on site - the gazpacho here was a personal favourite –flavoursome tomatoes the way only Italy can produce and topped with olives grown onsite, fetta, watermelon and mint.
Taverna Del Porto - Tricase
A seafood & pizza taverna right on the beach of the picturesque town of Tricase. The perfect post beach pit stop. Kid friendly too.
The whole coast is dotted with Lidos to suit any sort of traveller, however be warned – some come with a hefty price tag so do your research before you settle into your sun lounger!
Punta Prosciutto Beach
Puglia boasts some of the most pristine beaches on mainland Italy – one of our favourites is Punta Prosciutto (literally Ham Beach). Think white sand, translucent waters and beach shack lunches. If you’re in Solento or Lecce definitely plan a day here!
Piscina Naturale - Marina Serra
Located pretty much at the bottom of the heel on the Adriatic side - this ‘swimming pool’ is a natural cut into the rocky coast at Marina Serra – sitting below the ancient coastal watch tower on the sea that is part of Tricase and Corsano. To reach to water you need to venture across stone arches and steps, before taking a dive into the enchanting pool. The kids can still have fun here too with the water being shallow enough to play safely while you sit on natural stone ‘seats’ and soak in the sun and sea.
Our favourite beach stop - surrounded by the typical dry stone walls and the cliffs of Marina di Novaglie, "Lo Scalo" offers a breathtaking view from two large terraces. provided with gazebos that allow you to enjoy the sun whilst watching the kids jump of death defying rocks into the crystal clear ocean. Sunset apertifs of Campari served with Calamari were the perfect ends to the best days spent relaxing.
Santa Maria Leuca
Situated on the southern most tip of the Salento peninsula on the heel of the boot, Santa Maria Leuca is the ideal spot to hire a boat and take to the seas. Snorkels and picnics are a must as you can spend a day exploring the many hidden grotto’s that are scattered up the Salento coast line.
If you love ceramics then this is for you. With more than 50 ceramic stores in a ceramic region of the old town, this tiny town’s history is steeped in the tradition of making ceramics. And while the town is know as the "citta della ceramica" it is also called "citta' dell'uva" (of the grape), so if ceramics are not your thing, then the wine is most certainly worth tasting. Our favourite vineyard Masseria Anguilli Grande was conveniently located up the road from where we stayed – try the award winning Primitivo, belissimo!
If you’re looking to stay in town, let Lecce be that town. It doesn’t take long to fall in love with Puglia’s “City of 100 Churches.” It’s romantic and easy to navigate, and around every corner is an ornate Baroque wonder that deserves its own opera—like the unusually enclosed Piazza del Duomo. Keep your neck craned upward as you walk around the gleaming city—many of the stunning Baroque architectural wonders the city is known for are on display above eye level.
As small town in the the region of Bari – the UNESCO world Heritage site Alberobello is the home of the Truli the UNESCO world Heritage site. It’s touristy yes, but as the kids said, it was like walking through ‘a fairy & goblin village’ – and who doesn’t love that?