Puglia’s a funny old place.
Tucked away down in the sole of Italy’s boot, it is naturally beloved by Italian holiday makers but somewhat lesser known to the rest of the world. The world flocks to the liked of Rome, Tuscany, The Amalfi, Venice, while the rustic, cacti covered, foodie paradise of Puglia remains somewhat undiscovered.
A huge region with too much to explore in one lifetime, we started near Monopoli.
In a very sweet, basic little hotel – Masseria Cimino.
All white washed walls and soft edges, it’s a chic and cosy take on a traditional Puglian property.
Breakfast is a very beautiful, communal affair in the old farm house.
The food is very simple, the coffee spectacular (god bless the Italians), and anywhere that serves nutella pie for breakfast is ok by me!
We spent the morning scoping out our new digs.
The hotel might give of a fabulous “family run, indy vibe” but is in fact part of a group of Puglian hotels. This is the most simple (and in my view nicest) of the bunch. But they all sit a stone’s throw from each other, sharing the facilities of the Queen Bee – Borgo Egnazia, which is a bit like a flash Four Seasons.
It’s hard not to fall in love with Puglia’s fading charms.
Peeling walls, unruly succulents and friendly cats growing fat on tourists’ graces.
Loose, cool clothes are the order of the day. Come supper time you’ll need a wrap.
Button up linen dress
Mini Basket // Braided sandals
If you’re curious as to why we would have seen so many spots in Puglia…
…we were venue hunting!
We’d like to get married next summer and the combination of Puglia’s dusty whites, pale blues, and laid back vibes seemed the perfect place to do so.
On this first day we visited two spots near Monopoli, I’ll tell you which just in case a Puglian wedding tickles your fancy too!
Masseria Spina – A beautiful, incredibly rustic spot with the most magical red courtyard, a little chapel you could fill with candles (think Romeo+Juliet 1996) and have a choir sing from the small balcony. The sunset floods in through the doors and you can party all night long in the grounds. Cheap as chips to rent (it’s also a b&b if you want to stay there!)
Masseria San Nicola – A very simple farm yard sort of property. Immaculate, crisp and clean. The ultimate white canvas for an event.
And nearby your guests will find Monopoli, which should amuse them for an afternoon or two!
A pretty, remarkably untouristy fishing town, perched on the edge of the sea.
A winding maze of streets, filled with potted plants and Italians chatting between balconies.
The salty breeze carries the smell of the sea and mingles with the hot wax from the churches you’ll find on every corner.
In London you’re never more than ten steps from a Starbucks, in Italy the same could be said of churches.
Not that you’ll find me complaining!
We stopped for an espresso and then continued on, deeper into the maze.
The marvellous thing about visiting somewhere new and off the traditional tourist paths, is that is doesn’t matter if you get lost. You weren’t going anywhere anyway.
We sat on the harbour’s edge and listened to a pianist tinkle away on the ivories, the notes drifting out to sea with the tide.
Should you visit Monopoli, park your little Fiat 500 beside the port and continue into the old part of town on foot.
You’ll inevitably end up walking in a circle and end up right where you started.
Leaving you ready to race out of town for lunch on the sea.
Book a table at Saleblu (No website, find them here and call +39 080 801066 for a table!), 5mins drive along the coast.
They just so happen to have one of the prettiest lunch terraces in all of Europe.
Who could resist a table for two like this?
Take a seat beside the turquoise waves, sip on something Puglian and choose your catch of the day.
Be sure to try the local red prawns, as well as the purple ones.
And get the crudité for nibbling on.
Followed by any of the pastas, when in Rome!
And the mixed grilled fish.
The tiramisu didn’t count. If I don’t take a picture then it never really happened.
We watched the sun set with an exceptionally good glass of wine back at the hotel.
Which was followed by a very disappointing supper. The hotel is fab, but I would suggest going out for dinner.
If you’re wondering which venue we chose, just hold your horses! There were a few more to see before any sort of decision could be made… pop back tomorrow!