Archive for September, 2011

Untouched Puglia – a little slice of Italian heaven

September 25, 2011

Growing up, the Italians living in my hometown always said that Perth weather was very similar to the Italian Mediterranean climate. I never really believed them and after travelling to Milan and Tuscany I still couldn’t see the similarities.

Then I went to Puglia. Located in the heel of the Italian boot, the region borders the Adriatic Sea and therefore is south enough to have agreeable temperatures all year round.

Similar to the Aussie bush but with ancient stone instead of billabongs

Puglia has a diverse history, being ruled by Ancient Greece, the Romans, the Byzantines and the Normans in various points in time. Visiting the town of Ostuni, this history can be seen in the architecture. The white washed walls remind me of Greece yet strong Roman influences can also be seen in the pillars and arches that surround the town square.

White-washed walls are reminiscent of Greek architecture

Of course, none of this reminded me of Australia, but the environment sure did. The nearby beach was very clean for European standards
and virtually deserted which made a change from the usual ritual of fighting for a space to lay your towel.

Deserted beach on the Puglia coast

The food is inspired by the region and the seafood was the freshest I’ve tasted since moving from Australia to London nearly three years ago.

Straight out of the sea

We stayed in a villa called Impisi. Built by a British couple, they embraced their natural surroundings, constructing the guest rooms out of ancient limestone rock found on the property. Both artists, the pair have decorated the grounds with sculptures and mosaics; whilst making sure the design remained true to the area’s interesting history.

A sculpture within the villa's garden

Sitting on the roof terrace of our villa, you could see Ostuni in the south and the ocean in the north. The garden is dotted with olive trees and cacti, plants that grow in abundance in the Swan Valley region of Western Australia – the similarities were apparent.

Plants that need little water are suited to the hot climes

The villa’s pool seems as though it has been carved out of the natural limestone in the ground, giving the effect of a rock pool that you might find at the beach rather than a manmade swimming hole in the middle of an olive grove.

The view of the pool from our room

A very relaxing trip in inspiring surroundings, I’m surprised I managed to do what I came to do – write! Stay posted for my Italian short story.

As for Puglia – I can’t wait to go back!

'Impisi' Villa

To check out how the villa was built, watch this episode of Grand Designs: