This Breathtaking Seaside Town in Italy is the New 'It' Destination
Come summer, it seems the entire fashion set packs up and jets to Italy. This year, it was undoubtedly Puglia that became the locale du jour, and for Anina Hee, the London-based designer behind the very chic new label Refine, the time to go was after the crowds had returned for fashion month.
"After launching Refine in May, I have been working throughout the summer. So having a later break in September offered the perfect occasion to visit Puglia," she said. "Like many places in Italy, it can get overcrowded if you go during peak season. We profited from less populated beaches and cities whilst the weather was still warm and the air balmy."
Here, Hee shares her must-visit spots for food, wine, and shopping in Puglia.
Stay at this little hotel
Masseria Moroseta is where we stayed the majority of our trip. It’s only a short ride from Ostuni, one of Puglia’s picturesque villages.
Masseria is what they call the farmhouses here and a lot of them double up as small hotels. Masseria Moroseta only has six rooms, which made our stay a very personal and authentic experience. It is perfectly located to discover the towns the region is famous for, such as Alberobello, Polignano a Mare and Monopoli.
READ REVIEWS Masseria Moroseta
Visit this intimate dining destination
A few days a week, Chef Giorgia Goggi and the team behind the Masseria host a farm-to-table kind of dinner with local ingredients, served at big communal tables. Expect traditional dishes interpreted in a modern way. We also enjoyed the company of the very international crowd that finds its way to the Masseria.
What to order at Masseria Moroseta
Farm-to-table breakfast at Masseria Moroseta is served on beautiful ceramics from the nearby town Grottaglie.
There is no restaurant at Masseria Moroseta but their talented chef, Giorgia Goggi, prepares you pranzo (lunch) on demand. We loved her modern take on the local flavors. She is well worth following on Instagram for inspiration as well.
Wear this ultimate vacation dress
Ven Store has become my go-to brand for travel essentials. Here at Masseria Moroseta, I am wearing their kaftan made of Irish linen which I basically lived in during the trip.
Shop at these must-see spots
A must-visit is the small town of Grottaglie. The town is famous for its ceramic manufacturers, most of which are family-run businesses over several generations. We visited the factory of Fasano Ceramiche which counts some of the best-known design stores around the world.
Here you can see an employee at work, coloring plates with the splatter technique which is one of the most popular designs.
Don't miss the UNESCO World Heritage Site
Visiting Matera was one of the highlights of our trip. It is one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites, and its prehistoric look has made it a popular location for movies including the upcoming James Bond which they were filming this summer. We arrived in the afternoon and enjoyed strolling around the sassi (cave houses) and having an al fresco dinner in one of the trattorias.
Anina wears a bodysuit by Khaite, the Lydia skirt by Refine and sandals by Ancient Greek Sandals.
Don't forget to take a dip
One of the most Instagrammed places in the area is Polignano a Mare, a town built on cliffs by the coast. Go for a swim in the famous Cala Porto bay and eat lunch at Pescaria if you are ready to queue—it's the most famous lunch spot in town.
For a more upscale and intimate lunch go to Don Ferrante in Monopli which is the next harbor town that's only a short drive from Polignano a Mare. They have a rooftop terrace with a view of the Adriatic Sea.
Make a second stop in Palazzo Daniele
Our second stay in Puglia was Palazzo Daniele in Gagliano del Capo, at the very southern tip of Italy's heel. The recently opened boutique hotel is part of a Palazzo that was built in the 19th century and they kept a lot of the original tiles and wall decorations, which alongside modern furniture, make it a unique place to stay.
The South is also worth visiting for its white sandy beaches with crystal clear water, which they call the Maldive del Salento. We loved spending the day at Lido Elite which was less crowded than the more touristy parts of the strand. Go to the nearby town of Tricase for dinner on the piazza at Locanda del Levante, a very authentic place where you find yourself amongst more locals than tourists.
READ REVIEWS Palazzo Daniele
Take the scenic route
They call Lecce the Florence of the South for a reason. Go for a walk between their baroque buildings made of the local limestone.
Don't miss one of Puglia's famous bays
Porto Ciolo is one of the famous bays of the southern part of Puglia where you'll see locals jumping from the cliffs into the sea.
Pack the essentials
"The Rachel dress from REFINE is the perfect summer day to evening dress, I wore it in pale blue in Puglia."
"I don't wear makeup when I'm on holiday as I like to give my skin a break, the only beauty product I use is Organic Sun Oil from seventy-one percent."
"My large Loewe's beach bag - I also use it as my hand luggage for flights in summer - it fits the world!"
"I pack quite a few sandals, flats during the day and a mid heel at night, The Row's bare sandal comes in both variations."
*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com
*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors