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Acres of olive groves, sun bleached landscapes, Italy’s longest coastline dotted with beautiful villages and beaches. Small harbours where traditional painted wooden boats can be seen coming home every day with their rainbow-tinted catch of prawns, squid, octopus, crab and fish. Festas and Fieras, processions and pageants, carnivals and celebrations abound in every village as each town and celebrates a deication its very own special Saint and Patrons day. Bands and musicians playing in the Piazza entice locals into traditional dances, young and old alike cavort in the exuberance of the Pizzica and the famous Tarantella with swirling skirts and clapping hands.

This is Puglia, Italy’s heel, a unique part of the country where two seas meet – the Adriatic to the east and the Ionian to the south.

The fact that the entire region looks out to sea explains the many varied layers of history. Everyone has invaded including the Normans, the Spanish, the Turks, the Swabians and the Greeks. Each culture and civilization has left its own impact forming threads of the rich tapestry that makes up Puglia and its inhabitants today. Their architecture, cuisine and customs intertwine in this beautiful and exotic destination. Walled towns and villages cling to hilltops, built there originally for protection and security.

Fresh fish, melons, figs and locally produced olive oils and wines all make up the renowned “La Tavola Pugliese” – oftentimes claimed to be the best cuisine in all of Italy and of which the Pugliese are so justifiably proud. The region produces almost all of Europe’s pasta and 70 % of Italy’s olive oil so food is an important industry here too.

Despite all this unique character and charm, alongside some of the best beaches to be found in Italy, Puglia remains little known to outsiders. Italians flock here in the summer and in lots of small towns it is quite rare to hear English spoken. The rest of Italy seems to love this laidback playground of blue sea, golden sands and olive groves – but they keep it to themselves!

Richard & Noirin Bates are an Irish couple who first experienced Italy in 2001. Their 12 year old son did a school project on the San Marino region and he was so taken with it, he persuaded his parents to bring him there that summer on holidays. They fell in love with the country and visted many different areas before finally making the move in 2009 to lease their business in Ireland, sell the family home and create a new life in Puglia.

They have been busy since then and now offer a choice of four beautiful villas to rent in the area. All of the villas are renovated and decorated to a very high standard give guests the chance to experience luxury Italian living close to villages and all within walking distance of beaches. One of the extra nice touches you get when you stay here is a welcome basket from Richard & Noirin with some essentials and local delicacies to get you started on the path to food heaven!

Take a look at the four beautiful properties they have on offer below or vist to explore the area further, get travel information or get in touch.

Villa Nicola

Villa Nicola is a two bedroom detached Villa  (sleeping 4 – 6), in the beautiful seaside village of Lendinuso on the shores of the Adriatic sea. Completely restructured and renovated with great care and attention to detail this two bedroom villa features a private pool, al fresco dining area under gazebo, roof terrace with panoramic views of the village and seas, a fully equipped kitchen with everything you need to make cooking at home a pleasure, a flat screen TV and DVD library and a 350 metre walk to the nearest beach.

Find out more about Villa Nicola here.

Villa Sun Beach

Located just 400 metres from the sandy cove in Zona Canuta and its uncommercialised beach Villa Sun Beach is perfect for  both relaxing and exploring the Puglia region.Outside, the villa boasts a beautiful, newly-built swimming pool with Roman style steps and sparkling crystal clear water.An extensive mature orchard contains many types of fruit trees and there is a choice of outdoor garden areas.Inside the Villa is tastefully furnished with cream leather sofas and rocking chairs in the living room, a Leccese stone fireplace, three bedrooms (two double) and a modern fitted kitchen equipped to the highest standard.

Find out more about Villa Sun Beach here.

Villa Gallese

Villa Gallese is a beautiful totally modernised and re-constructed Villa set in a walled private courtyard. Inside the double entrance gate steps lead up to the roof terrace,  ideal for private sunbathing and offers views over the village of Lendinuso towards the sea and the courtyard. A newly built 9 metre swimming pool with Roman complete with sun loungers and a full set of garden leisure and dining furniture will make it to leave this pretty place to sample the sights and attractions outside the gates. The owners have spared no expense inside to achieve a level of finish that makes relaxation come natuarally. The villa has air conditioning, all new furniture, two double bedrooms and a twin single bedroom, a huge living area, dining area, a rebuilt bathroom and a newly fitted kitchen with the latest kitchen utensils,  crockery and tableware.

Find out more about Villa Gallese here.

Villa Azzura

Situated in the seaside village of Torre san Gennaro this two  bedroom Villa has been totally renovated and modernised during 2011 and available to rent sine spring 2012. Secluded from the quiet laneway by traditional solid walls in the attractive local sandstone, entrance is through timber gates into a tiled parking area adjacent to the walled in front garden.
Newly landscaped, the front garden is adorned with numerous palm trees and flowering shrubs in graveled beds, and boasts newly planted Lemon and Kumquat trees, and a mature, red-fruited sweet pear tree standing over a cascading herb feature offering a range of fresh flavourings for your cooking. The poolside sunbathing area is furnished with solid wooden loungers and set with flowering shrubs and planters, providing the perfect temptation to laze around and soak up the sun, before slipping into the crystal clear pool waters to cool off. Inside, Villa Azzurra is totally renovated, with tasteful furniture and fittings of high quality and a brand new wooden fully fitted kitchen that any qourmet would enjoy. Both bedrooms overlook the front garden and have adjustable window shutters and ceiling fans.

Find out more about Villa Azzura here.