Having driven from Bari airport (NB we flew BA from Gatwick and I had forgotten what a pleasure a proper airline was compared to the budgets) we were delighted that the directions worked well. I find it stressful enough driving on Italian roads so good directions are a real bonus. We were really pleasantly surprised to find Terra Sessana - it's hidden away down a narrow lane about 10 minutes outside Ostuni - and were welcomed on arrival by the owner (and their very friendly dogs).
We stayed in the small villa (own pool , about 250 yards down a dirt track past the fields, olive groves and trulli that surrround the property - very adequate for two but no more) which is one of three lets at the Masseria one of which is 3 beds and again has own pool .Great to have a complimentary bottle of the home produced, organic red awaiting our arrival. One minor moan - the villa is very well equipped but it would have been a nice touch to have a few basics in the fridge freezer - a bottle of water, juice, milk and some bread and cheese?
Settled in to the property and found the nearest supermarket (on outskirts of Ostuni ) and stocked up on local produce ( fresh fruit and veg grown locally and "proper" Peroni (red label) - Tesco / Waitrose could learn a few lessons on quality produce from them).
We ate out most of the seven nights we stayed at Terra Sessana. Ostuni is fantastic - the "centro istorico" is full of bars and restaurants. You can meander through the old streets at leisure and feel relaxed and blend in wit the locals. The central piazza (pedestrianised each evening so traffic free) always had some form of entertainment going on - nice to sit and sip a coffee or beer and just "people watch".
Terra Sessana also have their own open air eating and entertainment area - low key and only used if demand is there. The food is organic/vegetarian and grown and prepared on the Masseria by the owner and his wife . The area is set up for live music too but when we were there there were only two couples staying - so just food. Marvellous banquet with bottle of wine included served in the open air under the stars by candle light - magic and at 30 euros per head good value.
Overall, a marvellous place to chill out (the unseasonal 30 degrees mid-September heat made the air con in the villa essential for us) and Ostuni (as with most of Puglia) seems to retain a high degree of authenticity (e.g. most of the people eating out or enjoying the entertainment at night were Italian).It has plenty to see - best done during the evning and combined with food / drink - the old church is marvellously decorous, and there is a great range of restaurants (Cafe bars ,Pizzeria, Osteria and Ristorante styles and degrees of formality, all available in abundance and serving up local cuisine), shops and art galleries. The atmosphere is genuinely "local".
Another place not to be missed is Alborobello - short drive from Ostuni and a world heritage site for its preserved Trullis. Beaches are a short drive away including a stretch that is a nature reserve.
Puglia is very different from other parts of Italy - we barely scratched the surface but it is absolutely worth a visit. It retains a truly authentic feel of the Italian rural way of life that you can feel a part of.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A few kilometers from the "white" Ostuni and the attractive beaches of the Apulian coast , immersed in a beautiful country punctuated of trulli and secular olive trees, stands Terra Sessana. The property takes its name from the area in which it is located: Contrada Sessana, whose name, in turn, derives from the Latin “sanus”, meaning “healthy” and brings to mind the idea of a healthy life in harmony with nature. Terra Sessana is a distinctive resort that extends over 7 hectares , and consists of four houses: the Blue House, the most prestigious and spacious residence, the ancient Trulli, a typical stone building called Lamia, and a Villa with a large veranda overlooking the gardens. Each house has its own private pool and a panoramic garden with areas of lawn and secular olive trees, from where one can enjoy a wonderful view of the valley. The interiors have antique flooring and vaulted with stone. The furnishings are elegant and comfortable. The blue sky, olive trees, fragrance and colours of the natural Mediterranean vegetation provide a perfect backdrop to this enchanting place; offering guests peace and serenity in close contact with the regenerative powers of the countryside. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Terra Sessana Ostuni, Italy - Puglia