Driving up the winding road into the hills, I gazed down at the beautiful coastline of Puglia, bordering patchwork fields of olive trees. I was heading away from the main city of Bari where we landed, and was on my way to the tranquility of the Tenuta Monacelle hotel, a stunning resort set in a 20-hectare farm estate.
I was slightly nervous. I’d never stayed somewhere so secluded before, opting more for busy city centres and resorts. But pulling up to the gates of the complex, I knew I was in for a treat. I could see the tips of 7 traditional Apulian huts and golf buggies greeting us ready to take our suitcases (and ourselves if need be) down to our rooms.
We let our suitcases go but chose to walk down the sun-bleached path to our very own masseria. These were old, stone farm houses split into five rooms – all located through separate doors from a patio surrounding the house.
I was upstairs, my room leading from a stunning terrace overlooking the pool area.
Although minimal, it carried a certain charm. High ceilings, exposed white brick walls and lamps dotting every corner meant that it carried off a certain cosiness I expected from an old-school Italian guest house.
But what won me over was the pure calmness the hotel had to offer. At night it was silent, in the morning the only sound I’d hear is a far off groundsman mowing the lawn.
Walking to breakfast I’d wander past a thousand cherry trees that surrounded the estate, and if guests are visiting during cherry season, they’re urged to join the staff in picking the berries. In fact, each room of the estate is assigned their own tree that guests can adopt and care for, and the staff even make jam with the pickings.
Breakfast was spent sitting on a terrace in the sunshine, surrounded by the little trulli houses, ‘a perfect wedding venue,’ was the only thing that crossed my mind as I ate stunning homemade bread and fresh tomatoes.
Dinner was just a beautiful, a private meal hosted in the Ciliegeto restaurant on our first night, where we spent hours around a huge table drinking red wine, and laughing (a lot).
All I know, is that I’m incredibly eager to return to this beautiful slice of Italy.
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