I had heard a lot about PUGLIA which is known as the Tuscany of the south, famous for its olive trees, beautiful villages and stunning sandy beaches.
Having never experienced this part of italy before it was hard for me to recommend PUGLIA as a destination to my clients - I was always slightly hesitant on what people can do while there and exactly where to stay. Now that I’ve been I have more of an understanding which I am delighted to share with you.
Flying in from the UAE gets you into Naples. From the airport it’s a 3 hour drive down the autoastrada (motorway) across the country to the Apuglia Region, which is where PUGLIA is located. From the UK or Europe you can fly directly into Bari or Brindisi.
We rented a car from Naples airport via Sicily By Car hire which was pretty straight forward - booking online, collecting and returning the car back, hassle free.
The drive is a little boring as the scenery doesn’t change much but the autoastrada has no speed limit so just bomb your way down.
Masseria Torre Maizza
We were staying at one of Roccofortes properties, Masseria Torre Maizza which is in the Farsano area. This was a hotel I really wanted to experience as its recieved such wonderful reviews and it ticked every box for a luxury stay.
I would suggest while in PUGLIA you find an area to make as your base and take day trips everywhere from your base location. Make sure your hotel has things to do so you can spend lazy days at the hotel and still be close enough to enjoy day trips.
Let me introduce you to Masseria Torre Maizza, an authentic Puglian hideaway - a beautiful renovated farm house which has been standing from the 16th century. The white washed Masseria was designed by Olga Polizzi, who included traditional Pugliese arts and crafts with contemporary Italian design.
As you enter the main gate into the grounds you are instantly welcomed by so many olive trees which are over 1000 years old and cover the entire property grounds. The fresh breeze in the air makes it difficult not to notice the scent of jasmine from the gardens.
It’s a boutique family friendly property with most of the rooms having swimming pools. There’s also a large communal pool. For golf lovers there’s an 9 hole golf course and only 6k drive away is Bambu Beach the hotel’s private sandy beach club with complimentary shuttle service.
We had a beautifully designed junior suite in a natural colour palate with a lounge area and opens up into a lovely garden with heated pool and views over looking the olive trees.
Not every room comes with a private pool but they all have lovely small gardens to relax in and enjoy the views - some over looking the golf course. The two bedroom suites all have their own swimming pools which are lovely and spacious - perfect for families. I would opt for the Torre Suite which is the top floor of the tower, very private.
You may laugh but traveling the world, I can always spot the little extras and great hotels win extra points for having a good hair dryer and at Masseria they had a GHD hair dryer!
Breakfast and dinner was served in the same restaurant which is indoors/ outdoors and over looks the main swimming pool.
Breakfast is served at your table with a tower of cheese and cold cuts, buratta and salmon, basket of bread and croissants along with fruit. From the menu you can choose any choice of eggs, pancakes etc
For dinner a reservation should be made.
The Roccos Forte signature spa uses products from Irene Fortes luxury skin care brand.
You can’t expect anything else from a Roccoforte hotel, their attention to detail is unparalleled and their service is of the highest quality. With the global hospitality industry recovering from Covid and service standards being affected globally, the fact that Masseria did not miss a beat is a testament in itself to the Roccoforte brand.
As a luxury travel curator which supports sustainability, Masseria Torre Maizaa keep sustainable practices at the forefront of their services. The water is recycled which keeps the golf course green and most of the food served is grown on the property.
This is a hotel which exquisitely blends local heritage and surroundings with contemporary luxury and unparalleled service.
Day trips while in Puglia
Top of your list should be Alberobello.
Alberobello, a UNESCO site is home to the typical trulli houses - pretty limestone dwellings which are remarkable examples of corbelled dry-stone construction, a prehistoric building technique still in use in this region. These structures, date from as early as the mid-14th century. You will notice that symbols have been painted on the houses roofs, these are primitive, religious or zodiac symbols in order to protect the property.
There are many cute places for lunch and some great fashion boutiques. Only 25 mins drive from Masseria Torre Maizaa it's a great way to spend the day.
Known as the White City, this is a charming example of Mediterranean architecture.
Ostuni boasts a wonderful medieval village, rich with alleys and whitewashed houses, in a maze of streets which recalls an Arab Kasbah. Take a stroll in the old town centre, called “la terra” (the land) to distinguish it from the more recent “marina”: it offers picturesque spots amid the alleys, sloping stairs, courtyards and small squares, where whitewashed houses and the cathedral appear, embellished with shops & restaurants. It will feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
Polignano a Mare
A charming becah town set on the cliffs and overlooks the Adriatic Sea. The ocean is clear blue but it does get busy in the summer so go early. Its not a sandy beach so wear shoes and dont forget to watch out for the locals cliff diving! Do wander the streets and check out the cute restaurants and bars!
Is a charming fishing town that feels very Italian – a more slower pace more locals than tourists.
The grand dame of Puglia, is a dazzling city all dolled up in baroque embellishments. The buildings of the city are built in local limestone, lathered with joyous ornate carvings and adornments done with such exuberance that it gives the city a sense of gaiety. Lecce is extravagant, even flamboyant. It is the cultural capital of Puglia, with so many monuments, churches, palaces, and museums that it has been given the nickname, “The Florence of the South.” With its elegant city center and vibrant feel, it’s impossible not to love Lecce.
To book your Puglia experience, please contact: