The first things I notice when I’m getting out of my car at the end of my journey, are the smell of ripe oranges and the chirping crickets. I have reached my destination for today: Borgo Valle Rita.

This magnificent old estate with large working farm is situated right on the border of two very interesting Italian regions: diverse Puglia and diamond in the rough Basilicata. House dog Rita greets me enthusiastically and leads me to the reception. After a warm welcome, I am shown to my room for the night: the spacious apartment ‘Rosmarino’, that sleeps 3-4 people. My apartment consists of two rooms – a living room and a bedroom – and is situated in one of the historical buildings on the estate, consequently breathing an atmosphere of times gone by. Beautiful old tiles decorate the floor and the wonderful fireplace. A kitchenette and small en-suite bathroom and shower complete the apartment. The spacious bedroom is very nicely decorated with antique furniture and a comfortable bed. If you prefer a more modern bathroom and design, I would recommend booking one of the six superior rooms, which have recently been added to the resort. There are also three detached villas for families or groups of friends – perfect for longer stays. Two of them are situated further afield, away from the central facilities, where your privacy is guaranteed. In the villas, you will have a fully equipped kitchen at your disposal.

Time for a drink and then dinner…..following the magically lit gravel way, surrounded by enormous palm trees, I am able to find the restaurant easily. Beautifully laid tables await the guests and the friendly waiters show us the utmost Italian courtesy. Dinner is simply wonderful and consists mainly of home-grown ingredients. Everything else comes from local farmers, thus enabling the restaurant to operate a ‘zero kilometre policy’, which I think is a great initiative! And the wine is made from grapes grown on the estate! Completely satisfied after such a sumptuous four-course dinner, that was accompanied by some lovely wines – how is it that the Italians manage to remain so slim 🙂 – I climb into bed for a good night’s sleep.

The next morning, the sun is shining beautifully and after a lovely breakfast, with a cup of very nice Italian coffee of course, I set out to discover this enormous estate. There are so many things to do here. For instance, there is a large (cold water) swimming pool; a tennis court and stables with horses. There are free bikes to take for longer trips or you can put on your hiking shoes and follow Borgo Valle Rita’s  many roads that meander through the vast surroundings. Fields with all kinds of crops, that colour the surroundings like a quilt, are interspersed with orchards. I cross the little bridge over the river Rita with my bike and realise that this is where the estate got its name: the valley of the ‘Rita’! In the distance, century old palm trees loom up and after yet another bend I come across a small deserted chapel, radiating an almost cinematically serene atmosphere. Wow, this place is gorgeous! Such care and devotion went into caring for the plants and flowers that grow here, simply beautiful!

In short, you won’t get bored staying on the estate, but the surroundings also offer some great opportunities for nice trips. The nearest beach is a ten-minute drive away; the historical city of Matera is twenty minutes away, don’t miss it! And Puglia’s highlights are also perfect for a day trip. And did your loved one propose to you recently? Borgo Valle Rita is perfect for weddings!

I was deeply impressed with this charming estate, where such care went into creating an authentic Italian country experience, without making concessions to the comfort of the guests. And what’s even better: this Hideaway is very reasonably priced!

Read more about Puglia & Basilicata in my blog!