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We are in Puglia

Masserie are characteristically Puglian manor houses which formed the heart of rural estates. Today, many of them have been converted to luxury residences, but they retain their timeless charm as a feature of the countryside in this very special part of Italy. They once housed local nobility and their guests, but were also part of working farms, with arable land, gardens, stables and staff living quarters. The most sympathetically restored masserie have retained some of these evocative features, whilst also offering the highest spec modern comforts. Masseria Della Croce enjoys

Many travellers are keen to combine a luxury villa break with pursuing a new skill or interest. It might even be one of their 2018 resolutions! One of the best ways to immerse in a new culture – learning about the food – is also one of the most enjoyable skills to acquire. After all, learning how to cook the local cuisine from an expert can give pleasure not just to you but to everyone around you, too. Fortunately, there are some properties in some of Europe’s most renowned culinary

Lecce is no Milan, Florence or Rome, with their haute-couture designer boutiques, trendy cocktail bars and international hotels . There are no Prada or Armani stores nor Michelin star restaurants, although there are some which arguably deserve a star or two. Lecce is more about authenticity, farm-to-table menus, slow living and simplicity. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Margherita Caputo in front of a plate of pasta with fresh tomatoes and zucchini. She is an architect who lives not far from Lecce and is Property Manager of Masseria Mauriani in Carpignano

Blue Flag beaches, white-washed villages, slow life, great food, welcoming locals and over 200 days a year of sunshine is what attracted me and my husband to Puglia, the “heel of Italy”, some ten years ago. Once Italy’s best kept secret, the region has enjoyed a surge in tourism in recent years, to be attributed greatly to celebrity weddings, Hollywood actors purchasing run down Masserie and a very prominent international marketing campaign run by the Region of Puglia across Europe. Once snubbed by discerning travellers in favour of more glitzy

Having spent the past 8 summers in Salento, I can honestly reassure you, you won’t have a bad culinary experience anywhere you go in Puglia. Yes, there are the odd and out of place kebap bars here and there or the stalls at the fun fairs, but I know you are wise enough not to get close to any of these, wherever you are in the world. Salento is a gastronomic paradise. Fresh, organic and honest food is served pretty much in every local restaurant, often run by extended families with the