With its sun-soaked olive groves, whitewashed villages and rocky cliffs, Italy’s ‘heel’ has a Greek feel to it – but with a love of fine food and drink that’s authentically Italian. Along the stretch of Puglia’s sleepy coastline you’ll find plenty of secluded coves and sea caves sprinkled with sandy beaches, idyllic wild swimming spots which are all much quieter than the popular resorts in northern Italy. To sample the slow-life soul of Puglia, our coastal-meets-rural retreats will lull you into la bella vita…
A former fish hatchery turned boutique hotel, wake up to the sound of the sea at La Peschiera, an exclusive slice of paradise on Puglia’s shores. Natural stone walls, thatched canopies and crisp, white interiors give this thalassic refuge a cool, calm look. But the oceanic backdrop takes the starring role – gaze at the Adriatic from your terrace, dip your toes in the water at the hotel’s private beach, or swim in one of the seven pools which seem to melt into the waves beyond. When it’s time to eat, La Peschiera’s Saleblu restaurant serves fresh seafood on a lantern-lit terrace right beside the water. And if you’d like to make your Apulian plate all the more authentic, you can catch your own octopus along the rocky shore and cook alongside Chef Vitoo.
Positioned right on the seafront in Torre Canne di Fasano, a small, sleepy fishing village in one of Puglia’s more secluded corners, Canne Bianche Lifestyle Hotel puts you within dipping distance of the sea. An effortless blend of clean lines, boho décor and lime-wash colours, the sound of warm waves lapping onto the hotel’s bagnasciuga can be heard from your king-size bed swathed in soft natural linens. There’s an array of alfresco areas to soak up the sunshine, from the beachfront hammocks and cabana-lined sun deck to the stylish loungers by the main pool. Cool off after a day of exploring the nearby town of Alberobello, known for its conical trulli, with an invigorating ice waterfall at the Aqua wellness centre before sitting down to a locally sourced spread at Timo Restaurant.
A converted 17th century masseria set amidst ancient olive trees and rustic stone courtyards, Il Melograno immerses guests in its farmhouse heritage whilst being a short shuttle ride away from Tamerici Beach Club. With its outdoor pool, serene spa, and antique tables laden with local delicacies made using ingredients grown in the hotel’s own kitchen garden, you’d be forgiven for never wanting to leave this country estate. Aspiring artists can learn to sketch and paint with the hotel’s expert tutor – choose a shaded corner within the masseria to capture the bougainvillea tracing the original white cocciopesto walls, or spend an afternoon under the branches of a tamerici tree at Il Melograno beach club, painting a soothing seascape.