I continue my journey through beautiful Puglia and take the coastal road to the lovely fishing village of Savelletri. The town is somewhat empty, which is hardly surprising, considering it is nearing the end of October. The weather is still nice, however,  and the beach is inviting for a nice stroll. Through the windows of the various local fish restaurants, I see people enjoying the most wonderful meals…..however, this will have to wait.  First, I must find my Local Hideaway for the night – or actually, two Local Hideaways. For the owner, Vittorio, owns two beautiful Masserias – estates- which I will visit both.

Leaving the coast behind, I drive inland, where magnificent olive groves, gnarled over time, stand tall and proud in the landscape. They’re almost magical and appear to be telling ancient stories. Later on, Vittorio will tell me that these trees, surrounding the old “Via Appia” from Ostuni to Rome, may well be the oldest olive trees in the world.

A white tower looms up ahead of me, the old watchtower of Masseria Coccaro. I couldn’t have timed my arrival more perfectly, for afternoon sunlight casts a golden glow on this grand old Masseria. After checking in, I am shown to the junior suites. My room, elegantly classic, is in the tower and boasts a splendid view. It is very spacious and comes with a bedroom, an additional room and an en suite bathroom with hydro massage bath. And even though the design may be classic, I’m glad to say it certainly isn’t old-fashioned, for that wouldn’t really be to my taste. No two rooms are the same, here. There are several very luxurious suites with private swimming pools and another suite next to the idyllic chapel, also with its own private swimming pool and garden. But there are also smaller deluxe rooms and suites for smaller budgets, which were designed and decorated equally tastefully. Rustic and elegant are the key words here, perfect for this grand old Masseria. And the old fruit trees and olive groves only serve to enhance this rural atmosphere. In the garden, all kinds of vegetables are grown for the restaurant. The meals are delicious and the white linen-clad tables promise a night of fine dining. By the way, your children will be very welcome here as well. This is Italy, after all – kids just join in (a nice plate of pasta is universal children’s food!) What’s more, Masseria Coccaro specifically caters to children and organises various nice activities during the summer months. For example, there are cooking workshops, sailing courses, nature workshops, etc.

And let me tell you about breakfast, which is outrageously extensive; there is so much to choose from! All kinds of pies and pastries, cheeses, yoghurts, fruit(juices)……and everything homemade! This will mean an extra lap in the swimming pool or an extra training session in the gym, but you will have every opportunity for that here. Or you can take a bike and discover the surroundings or go the beach. Also, there are shuttle buses to take you to Masseria Coccaro’s private beach club. The Coccaro Beach club is a stylish lounge club/restaurant/bar where you can enjoy the beach life from March through October. These same shuttlebuses can also take you to the Masseria Torre Maizza, Masseria Coccaro’s sister hotel next door. Here, you will find a unique golf course with century old olive groves and a phenomenal view of the sea…..This hotel also has a wonderful gourmet restaurant……perfect for  change!

Not quite de-stressed yet? In that case I would recommend a visit to the Aveda Spa. Situated in the estate’s old caves, you will find it to be an oasis of wellness. Aveda is one of my favourite brands, as it is completely natural with no artificial additives…. Utter indulgence!

Thankfully, I won’t have to say goodbye just yet, for my next stop is the neighbouring Masseria Torre Maizza. I can’t wait to find out what that’s like!

Read more about Puglia & Basilicata in my blog!