Puglia is the sun-kissed heel of Italy’s boot. For the coast, culture and delicious food alone, it makes an excellent choice as a holiday destination. I also love it for the laid back lifestyle, rural tranquillity and welcoming locals.
Over the last 20 years, there has been a marked increase in the number of stylish holiday villas in Puglia with a private pool.
The overall quality and design of Puglia’s rental homes now rival the high standards set in well-established Italian destinations. Sardinia, the Amalfi Coast and Tuscany hold a timeless appeal, yet their grand villas with antiques and oil paintings do not always attract family groups nowadays. In Puglia, the trend is more for contemporary design, up-to-date facilities and practical space. With a backdrop of untouched natural surroundings, it makes an alluring combination for a new generation of villa guests.
My favourite villas are set in the countryside, not far from the sea. They tend to be surrounded by ancient olive trees, within an easy drive of sandy beaches, good restaurants and charming, historic towns.
Here are my top five villas in Puglia with a private pool:
1 – Masseria near Torre Sant’Andrea beach
It is hard to believe that this elegant holiday home was once an abandoned Norman tower in an olive grove. When I visited this villa, I loved the location. Now it is established as one of the best masseria conversions in the area. It works well for a family or group of friends as it sleeps up to 9 guests. Living areas are spacious both inside and out. Framed by lush plants and ancient olive trees, it makes an attractive, private setting. The solar heated pool is situated in a pretty courtyard which can be closed off with large gates, so it is ideal for those with young children. Location wise it strikes the right balance between seclusion and easy access. Just a cycle ride or short drive away is a village for local shops. The sandy beach of Torre Sant’Andrea is nearby and just beyond is the coastal town of Otranto. It also makes a perfect base for exploring Salento.
2 – Child-friendly Trullo in the Valle d’Itria
Authentic and charming, this whitewashed trullo and villa for 12, is ideal for families with young children. A lawned garden, play area, fenced pool and toys will keep little ones happy for hours. Parents can then relax and enjoy the peaceful, rural setting. Restaurants, white villages and sandy beaches are all within easy reach. It does tend to book up quickly so you are best to reserve your week early. Read more on this page about Trullo in Puglia with pool.
3 – Three Generation Villa with 15-metre pool
A fantastic holiday home for 12 with a 15-metre pool, roof terrace, garden, toys, barbecue and a pizza oven. This place is set up well for three-generation groups who prefer modern design. All the rooms are on the ground floor with independent access to a central courtyard. Head up to the roof terrace for evening drinks and admire the sun setting over ancient olive trees. With thick walls, a courtyard and garden, it feels private yet there is a village a short drive away and gorgeous sandy beaches are not far off.
4 – A Classic Trullo with Contemporary Style
A traditional trullo with a coned roof and a stylish modern extension. I like this villa for its unique blend of contemporary, moorish style, authenticity and comfort. The outdoor space is furnished for alfresco living, complete with a fabulous 12-metre swimming pool. The surrounding palm and olive trees make a wonderful natural backdrop, so typical of Puglia. Villas in the countryside are rarely within walking distance of a restaurant but this one is. So you can leave the car behind.
5 – Family Villa with playground & trampoline
For those with children, this 5 bedroom masseria is for you. Over the last few years, the owners have been kitting it out with everything to make it family-friendly. Firstly, the pool is heated and has an electric cover, unlike pretty much all other pools in the area. Under the shade of ancient olive trees you will find a trampoline, a children’s playground with swings, slide and sand pit. Your kids will have a ball here. Two mountain bikes and two kids bikes are on hand for exploring country paths which weave towards the coast. Inside entertainment includes a 3D TV, Satellite TV, an iPod docking station and DVDs. Outside you’ll find a hot tub and a large Weber gas barbecue for relaxed family gatherings in the warm summer.
What is Puglia like?
One big attraction in Puglia is the untouched coastline which curves from the Adriatic coast to the Ionian sea. It boasts a variety of wonderful beaches. They vary from long sandy stretches such as Porto Cesareo or the Alimini lakes to more intimate coves like Polignano or Porto Badisco. If your ideal beach is family-friendly, a fashionable hangout or a more remote hideaway, you will always find a beach to suit you.
Puglia is pretty flat and open in the south, so it is fantastic for cycling, running or gentle walks through olive groves or along the coast. Here you can find modern holiday villas and spacious, historic ‘masserias’ (originally fortified farmhouses). Many have been converted into magnificent holiday homes which are ideal for three generations and celebrations.
The Valle D’Itria
Further north you find the gently rolling hills of the Valle d’Itria, a short drive inland from Bari and Brindisi. Here impressive white hill towns appear above the olive groves below. Two of my favourite hill towns are Ostuni and Locorotondo while the UNESCO world heritage sight of Alberobello is not to be missed. In this part of Puglia and in the surrounding countryside, conically shaped houses called ‘trullo‘ or ‘trulli’ can be seen. Some of are now stylish holiday villas with pools. They tend not to be that spacious unless they have a modern extension, but they are characterful and fun.
Life in Puglia
For a real taste of Puglia life, after a day at the beach, I recommend joining the locals for an evening stroll or passeggiata. Head to the historic centre of your nearest town or village for this. I used to love winding my way through the narrow streets of my local town, Lecce. In summer it was always Otranto or Santa Maria dei Leuca. Stroll past beautiful historic buildings, visit artisan shops or boutiques before stopping for a cool drink or gelato on the piazza while watching the world go by. I must admit that I have a bit of a soft spot for Puglia, having lived there in my 20’s. The people I met there were always welcoming, with a strong sense of family, fun and a passion for good food and living well. In Puglia you really can taste la dolce vita so it makes a great place for a holiday.
Find out more about villas in Puglia with pools
To find out more about my top 5 villas in Puglia with private pools or to see more villas in Puglia, please contact me. Tell me villa holiday dates, numbers, budget and any particular requirements, then I will send you suggestions. Even better, please contact me so we can talk it through.