30 June 2014

Italy: where we stayed

So I'm back. Home. A year older, a year wiser? In the week or so since my last post, I've spent the five days in Italy, moved house and started back at work. No rest for the wicked, huh?

So how was it? In one word, relaxing. It was just what I needed after a crazy few weeks at work, and being able to switch off in 30 degree heat in rural Italy was just what the doctor ordered. We booked the trip just over a month or so before we went - hours and hours spent trawling for the perfect Greek hotel were fruitless and after lots of searching, we ended up buying the deal through Secret Escapes. Simple, easy - a five day 'twin centre' break with car hire in a little known area in the heel of Italy's boot.

We spent the first three days in the Relais Corte Altavilla in Conversano. In the heart of the medieval town, the hotel was built on the site of William The Conqueror's son's house and is made out the beautiful local stone. A sweet little boutique, there's a spa on the ground floor (which we used on the Saturday of our stay, more on that soon) then three floors of rooms with the restaurant up on the rooftop.

Completely unexpectedly, we were given an apartment with two double rooms (that is actually my room in the photo) and a balcony for the perfect pre- and post-breakfast sunbathe. As part of our stay, we were given breakfast everyday, a four course meal on the first night (again, more on that soon), a two hour wine tasting (yep, more soon) and time in the spa. Could it be any more relaxing?!

After three nights, we moved to our second hotel, the Masseria Don Luigi, nearer the coast in Fasano. An achingly chic farmhouse set in the heart of ancient olive groves, everything was perfectly whitewashed and teamed with cool grey decor, entwined with lemon trees. They even have their own lemon orchard. 

Rooms are dotted around the pristine pool and each have a private patio perfect for sipping wine, eating the fresh fruit they bring or devouring two huge authentic pizzas on our last night. There was a bit of a mix up with the rooms and the language barrier made it a little tricky to get to the bottom of things but it was a great base for exploring the rest of the area and getting to grips with Apulian wine.

I spent the majority of the holiday devouring books and my bodyweight in mozzarella and bresaola. Staying in hotels rather than an airbnb flat, like we did in Nice last year, meant that most of our money was spent eating out - having said that, food (and wine) was so ridiculously cheap that asking for another portion of huge prawns was definitely a thing. Yep. And I wasn't even ashamed. 

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