A WEEK OF SPECIAL FAMILY TIME IN BEAUTIFUL PUGLIA....
A little over a week ago now, we returned from our visit to the beautiful region of Puglia in Italy. I had not visited this area before, but had heard such wonderful things about how unspoilt and uncrowded it was compared to other regions.
Puglia, in the 'heel' of southern Italy, is known for its whitewashed hill towns, many with the most beautiful Baroque architecture. The surrounding countryside with centuries old farmland growing an abundance of fruit and vegetables, olives and grape vines. There are also hundreds of miles of stunning coastline.
Our home for the week was in a beautiful architect designed villa with attached restored historic 'Trulli' which is typical of the area we were in, just outside the delightful town of Martina Franca. Alberobello and the surrounding Itria Valley nearby is particularly famous for these sand stone or often whitewashed conicular roofed houses, which reminded me of our lovely oast houses here in Kent.
Set amongst olive groves on quiet dry stone edged lane within peaceful countryside, our interesting home away from home for the week, was the perfect place to switch off and relax 'en famille'. With our three 'grown up' children having left home now, it was a particular treat to get to spend special time with them away from their busy London lives.
Some evenings, but usually lunch was spent exploring Martina Franca's beautiful marble streets, and array of wonderful little family owned restaurants...
...and most evenings at our beautiful villa, where we could all relax and have fun. The only sound to be heard was of the grasshoppers in the olive groves, our music playing without disturbing a soul, and much chat and laughter and the clinking of glasses!
We are all true foodies in our family, so the lure of the wonderful local markets was irresistible. Fabulous fresh produce and seafood to take back with us for dinner in the evenings. Puglia is particularly renowned for its amazing tomatoes and burrata cheese, which we ate in abundance!
We are very spoilt to have a 'Professional Chef' in the family! Thank you to my lovely daughter Georgie for all the delicious dishes you prepared....
...also to my lovely boys who too are very keen and accomplished cooks, and took great command over the bar-b-q and fantastic outside kitchen!
Holidays really are an opportunity to have the time to get creative and prepare uncomplicated but delicious food, especially when it is outside and in such relaxed and beautiful surroundings. Having said that, Mr. W and I got very little look in on that front, and just sat back and enjoyed the pleasure of being cooked for!
High on our list of favourite places in the region was 'Lecce', just an hour's drive south. Described as 'Florence of the South' for its numerous examples of baroque architecture, the uncrowded streets brought a beautiful suprise around every corner. Ending with a fabulous lunch in one of the many fantastic little restaurants tucked down these gorgeous historic streets.
Another amazing place of interest was 'Alberobello' near Bari. Although a little touristy and busier compared to other areas, we are glad we visited just to see the extraordinary array of 'Trulli' buildings which have made this small town a Unesco World Heritage site since 1996.
A day on the coast at a relaxed little beach bar and seafood restaurant, with swimming off the rocks, was truly magical.
Our last night came around far too soon, as with any happy holiday....
As Mr. W and I reflected on our happy week, we felt very blessed to have spent such a special time with our brood.
Puglia lived up to all expectations. As well as the beautiful unspoilt countryside, coast and historic towns, the people were just lovely....so warm, friendly and welcoming and with an appreciation of the important things in life, which is all about family, good food, and life's simple pleasures.... and I couldn't agree more!
PS. For a daily dose interiors, gardens, food, travel and lifestyle, follow me on Instagram @sophiahomelifestyle