Puglia has been a well-kept secret from non-Italians for many years, but
this is changing fast. And no wonder. Puglia's colours are memorable: - the green
of the olive and fig trees, the brilliant turquoises of the Adriatic Sea and the deep
blue sky, the white and pastel shades of the buildings, the jewel-like pinks, crimsons and purples of the ubiquitous oleanders and bougainvilleas, and the deep red soil.
But it isn't just the scenery and sunshine. Puglia is winning the hearts and minds of many new friends, with its fine unspoilt beaches, with fine white sand and clear,
turquoise seas, the wonderful sights and of course the food and wine.
(Click to enlarge these typical local delights in the Villa's garden)
Puglia is the unspoilt part of Italy, the 'real' Italy. When MacDonalds tried to
open up in Altamura, they were treated with such disdain locally that they were forced to call it quits. The majority of tourists are Northern Italians, who know
a good thing when they see it. English is not spoken as often as in some parts of Europe, indeed, some Pugliese use their dialect more often even than Italian. But
the sheer welcoming nature and friendliness of the Pugliese mean that this is never
a problem. If they don't understand you and sign language has failed, they will call over a relative, or another stall holder, and it will all be resolved with great good humour. But they are very appreciative of your attempts to use a few words of Italian!
And there is so much for them to be proud of. Puglia is large - 400km from the Gargano to the southern tip at Capo Santa Maria di Leuca. Villa Siena is between the ports of Brindisi and Bari, within easy reach of all the southern half of Puglia and parts of Basilicata. Ryanair have flights from Stansted every day in summer, either from Brindisi or Bari and 5-6 days a week in winter. British Airways also fly 2-3 times a week in summer into Bari from Gatwick, and there are daily Alitalia flights into Bari and Brindisi from Heathrow via Milan or Rome. Bmi have flights into Naples, which is almost 4 hours' drive away, but certainly worth considering if you want to explore more of Southern Italy.
Winters are fresh, Spring and Autumn are beautiful, and Summers are what the Mediterranean is renowned for. The Italian weather forecast appears to be more reliable than other web forecasts.