The heel of Italy is one of the most beautiful regions of Italy. Puglia is one of Flavours Holidays most popular holiday destinations. My name is Amy and I’m the Digital Marketing Executive at Flavours Holidays. With 4 activity holidays going on in the region, I knew it would be a busy fun filled week, which is why I decided to spend a week in Puglia!
The journey begins…
My journey was super exciting! I flew out from Edinburgh at 7:00am and arrived in Bari later in the morning. Once I collected my luggage, I headed out to the taxi rank and jumped in a taxi which then dropped me off at Bari Central train station. It wasn’t a long journey however, the drive from the airport to the train station was mesmerising. Seeing glimpses of Puglia really put me in the holiday mood! I arrived at the train station and was thankful enough to be able to spend an hour in Bari and explore a part of the city. I sat in the sun with a glass of Aperol Spritz and had a bite to eat. Although I certainly didn’t look it, I really felt like a local. I enjoyed my glass of Aperol along with some people watching, it was an incredible environment to be in. I could hear the sound of the waves coming from the sea, the smell of deliciousness coming from the restaurants, the sight of friends laughing together and the feeling of the sun beaming down on me. At that moment of time, all my worries disappeared and I knew I had a great week ahead of me.
An hour passes and I’ve hopped onto the train to take me to Lecce. I couldn’t believe my eyes every time I looked out the window as the route was so scenic! It was hard to believe that the 1 hour train journey showed me so much diversity in Puglia. From being at the sea surrounded by bright blue colours to arriving in Lecce with historic buildings, not to forget the olive tree farms that I passed on the way.
After a long day of travelling, I finally arrived at villa Leucca which is located on the coast and looks over the sea. I met Ele’s Pilates holiday group that evening over prosecco and nibbles before dinner. The group was very welcoming and they all got on really well together. The next morning I joined in with the guests to do an hour session of Pilates before breakfast. That was my first ever time trying Pilates and it couldn’t have been more perfect; Ele was so clear with her instructions and provided us with constructive feedback throughout the session, the group of guests made me feel comfortable and the sun shining down on us made it even more enjoyable, which I didn’t think was possible!
After breakfast everyone had a relaxing afternoon around the villa. Some had a splash in the pool, others would be seen reading a book and others, including me, would still be taking in the view from the villa! Later on that day we were all picked up and taken to a nearby town called Tricase. Our host, Vito showed us around as it’s his hometown. As we wandered around Tricase, Vito would tell us the history of the buildings and the town. We all sat down at a bar together and enjoyed a drink of Aperol Spritz or Negroni, I think we blended in with the locals really well!
I spent a couple of days with the Pilates group at villa Leucca until I headed off on my journey to Casino Pisanelli to meet the cooking group for the rest of my week.
My next stop in Puglia
I arrived at Casino Pisanelli early in the morning on Wednesday to meet the Puglia cooking holiday group. I joined in with their cookery lesson that morning which took them up to the afternoon. Antonio, the chef, advised the group with the recipes in Italian and our host, Luciana translated the instructions to the group in English. I was stunned to see how well it worked and the group worked like a dream team!
Our dinners were prepared every night by Maria Rosa. I remember getting excited when it came around to dinner time everyday, her food was that delicious! After dinner time, the sun had set and the moon was brightening up the sky. I sat outside in the seating area that was located in the garden of the villa and appreciated the beauty around me. Casino Pisanelli has a huge garden with a lovely swimming pool stretching from one side of the garden to the other. The guests enjoyed relaxing by the pool during their spare time around the villa.
On one of the days I headed out to Gallipoli with the guests for the evening. That place was so magical! Gallipoli is famously known for having incredible sunsets and let me tell you… No one was lying! After exploring the area and window shopping, I found a beautiful café by the harbour where I watched the sun set with a drink. Me and the guests couldn’t believe our eyes, it looked like the sun was swallowed by the sea. Definitely a view you didn’t want to miss on a visit there. After spending a few hours in Gallipoli, we headed to a restaurant to finish off the evening before going back to the villa. I had a seafood dish of local prawns, squid and anchovies with a side of salad.
As the week went on, more dishes were made and the more my taste buds would tingle. I absolutely love trying new foods and dishes so every time I saw Antonio and Maria Rose serve up the plates I was over the moon. Once you smell the food when it leaves the oven, the excitement begins! I had to stop myself getting used to that feeling as I knew I’d miss it too much when I arrived back home.
The last day
Sadly, Sunday morning arrives and I prepare myself for the journey back to the airport at 6:00am. The taxi woman came to pick me up early in the morning and we were both taken back by the sunrise. Pink, purples and oranges were painted all over the sky! I took it as a lovely goodbye from Puglia. I arrived at the airport in time for my flight and I reminisced about my week the whole flight home.
3 weeks have passed since my holiday to Puglia and I still remember all the smells, tastes and sounds I experienced that week. It truly was a holiday that I will cherish.