Thursday, September 1, 2016

An Italian hideaway

Ever dream of running away? Ditch the kids, jump on a plane and have a proper holiday?

Well I can tell you now - I'd highly recommend it.

I'm just back from a week of perfect peace at the stunning Masseria Tinelli in Puglia, Southern Italy.  

It's an unbelievable find - one of those almost-to-good-to-be-true-maybe-it-doesn't-actually-exist places on Airbnb. The ones that you close your eyes, click confirm and hope to god it'll be there when you touchdown. 

And fortunately I can confirm that it does. 

Surrounded by olive groves and fig trees, Masseria Tinelli offers the choice of staying in a small private trullo or a larger apartment in the old house, all based on a working farm that our host Marina and her parents still run. 

Our trullo was perfection. Quiet, secluded and recently renovated just last year. The design and build mean that it remains cool on those melting hot days and warm on the colder ones. 

The stroll from the trullo to the pool runs through the olive groves, and you can pick ripe fruit from the trees as you go. The communal pool was almost always deserted, with the occasional other guest passing through from time to time. 

Staying on a agritourisma site allows you to see parts of Italy, and meet wonderful people that you wouldn't normally get the chance to. We took full advantage of their Italian cooking class - followed of course by a huge traditional meal where we got to meet other guests, locals and family during a wonderful evening. With our party covering every age from 2 to 92 it was an unforgettable experience. Grandma's cooking was some of the best we ate over the whole week (and we ate A LOT). And Papa's homemade wine was rich and smooth with not a touch of a hangover the next day. You can't get better than that. 

Our lovely host Marina
Dinner by the pool
The farm is a 1k walk from the nearest town, which is lively but almost entirely devoid of tourists. The food is unbelievably good and almost insultingly cheap. Among the best dishes we sampled (did I mention that there were many, many dishes..?) were - wild boar pasta, lamb casserole, seafood linguine, aubergine parmagiano, courgettes with mint and lemon, pizzas, pizzas, pizzas, wine, wine, wine and of course always ice cream to finish.

We rolled home each night thinking of hot, strong coffee and fresh fruit by the pool the following morning. The most taxing task of the day being lifting my book a little higher to block out the sun's glare. And so the days melted into each other and the stresses melted away.

If you think you could handle non-stop eating, drinking, sunning and relaxing, I'd highly recommend it. Tell Marina I sent you, and don't believe her brother about his Dad's wine. No hangovers, promise.

Useful Info: 
Ryanair fly from Dublin to Bari
Bari to Noci is approx 1 hour by car
Airbnb link to Masseria Tinelli

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