Paradise Found at Don Totu
Puglia, sun kissed wild, uncommercial, land of olive trees, beautiful wine and friendly gentle people.
We had such a special stay in this beautiful part of southern Italy and we would love to do it again. Don Totu is an 18th-century palazzo concealed behind a demure façade. The palace, with its sun-blushed courtyards, achingly tempting pool and breezy four-poster bedrooms, the place was simply breathtaking, a lot of magic surrounded the house, it was like stepping through the door to another world.
I found out about our lodging through an article in the Telegraph, their writer Charlotte Johnstone wrote it was modern Italian-chic at its finest and the more that I read about it, I knew that we had to try it and it did not disappoint! Every room they have is beautifully elegant, with the best linen, beds, pillows, everything you could wish for.
We booked a family room, although there was just the two of us, we like large rooms and wanted a balcony and this was superb for us; we could not fault anything.
The structure of the old renovated building with beautiful pieces of art everywhere, the palazzo is quite large and rambling, yet there is only 8 rooms for guests which makes it quiet and very private. The house has gardens and grounds stretching out behind it with an amazingly warm super clean pool which has standing behind it a pool house where drinks are served. Every morning breakfast was served in the private courtyard and it consisted of a buffet of local fresh cheeses, freshly baked ham, tarts, eggs cooked however you wanted along with the fresh juices, and great Italian coffee.
On an evening the place and all the stairways became alive with candle light. One of the most romantic settings that you could imagine, every evening the amazing staff would offer you a drink and nibbles before you went out to dinner. I got to try the local wines, the best primivito wines that I have tasted also totally organic. The staff here made sure that you wanted for nothing.
We had fun cycling on the electric assisted bicycles to the near by olive groves and all we could hear was the birds singing and the gentle humming noise from the bikes.
The region is called Salento and it has villages that look steeped in history, getting on with everyday life and a lot of the people only speak Italian, but still smile and try to help you when you find yourself lost, which we did on our little adventure.
To get to Don Totu we drove down to San Cassiano from Naples in a hire car. It was a bit scary getting out of Naples but once we got used to it then our adventure began. As you go down toward the Salento region you become aware of less traffic, more olive groves, more a farming and fishing community.
The only thing that our accommodation lacked was a restaurant which meant that you had to go out on an evening. Our hosts at Don Totu were able to sort out for us and had an arrangement with a minibus that would collect the guests and take them to and from restaurants, it was an extra charge for this but it was well worth it. the had a list of restaurants in the area that they knew and that other guest recommended , the list explained the style of restaurant and also an idea of pricing. We found this so useful and we used this service each night , it also meant we could enjoy the local wines and not worry about driving! I truly did not want to leave this paradise we had found. Please check out there website.