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The best bed and breakfasts in Puglia, for true Italian charm in characterful settings

Please note our writer visited Puglia prior to the coronavirus pandemic

Puglia, an olive-grove-swept region that takes the form of Italy’s long, narrow heel, is divided into three seas: the Gulf of Taranto; the wild, green Adriatic; and the glassy-blue Ionian. It’s half-a-thousand miles of coastline drenched in millennia of history. Between its shores are dramatic ravines scored with Stone Age cave-settlements, Greek-style whitewashed hill towns, theatrical Baroque cities, and Unesco-listed sights like the fortress-citadel Castel del Monte and Alberobello – a fairy-tale of cone-topped trulli. Amidst all of this, the wanderer will find heartfelt hospitality in ‘scattered hotels’, b&bs and guesthouses with bucketfuls of character. Here’s our pick of the best bed and breakfasts in Puglia.

Don Totu hotel, Puglia
This 18th-century dimora storica (historic house) has been carefully restored to a luxurious, six-bedroomed boutique b&b with a zero-mile dining ethos. Whitewashed walls, exposed natural pietra leccese stone and star-vaulted ceilings create rooms which are airy and light, bespeckled with pretty ornaments and crockery by ceramicists from Grottaglie and Vietri. In the heart of the Salento region of Puglia, the palazzo sits in the sleepy village of San Cassiano near Lecce. There’s no bar or restaurant (these can be found nearby), though a delicious breakfast is served and you can help yourself to drinks and gelato throughout the day. Before you go out for dinner, aperitifs and canapes are served on the terrace. There’s a lovely pool, subterranean hammam and bikes (electric, push or Vespa) are available to borrow.

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From £ 205
Albergo Diffuso Il Casale, Puglia, Italy
Consisting of a cluster of ancient cave-dwellings and historic limestone buildings, Il Casale is an ‘albergo diffuso’ (literally, a ‘spread-out hotel’) that unfolds along Via Bacco in Ginosa’s old quarter, only 15 miles from its more famous big sister, Matera. Owner Mario and his wife Antonella have restored its atmospheric spaces with empathy and humility: the style is spare, simple, timeless. Outside, the various roof-terraces offer unforgettable vistas over the melancholy ruins, the wildly beautiful ravine and the karst plateau beyond. For most of the year, breakfast is served on a panoramic roof terrace, a relaxed and convivial affair which, with its generous sweet and savoury options, easily turns into brunch.

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From £ 70
Sotto, Le Cummerse, Puglia, Italy
Sotto le Cummerse is named after Locorotondo’s steep gable roofs, and offers bed and breakfast in 10 handsome residences, forged from the chunky golden limestone typical of the area. Some have fabulous views from their terraces or balconies – just the spot to enjoy Locorotondo’s sparkling wines; all ooze rustic Puglian style. The main facilities are the town itself, with cafés, bars and restaurants all on your doorstep. In your room, you’ll find a complimentary bottle of wine, homemade biscuits, and a fridge stocked with bottled water. Unlike many of Puglia’s tourist accommodations, this one is open year-round, so you can escape the high-season crowds.

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From £ 136
Masseriola Antiche Fogge
This small but dignified masseria (a traditional Puglian manor farmhouse), a five-minute stroll from the old centre of Fasano, has been converted into a refined b&b. Dating from the 19th century, it’s an architectural gem, with chunky limestone walls, barrel- and cross-vaulted ceilings, stone fireplaces, arches, alcoves and niches. Outside, an inviting sunken pool is the centrepiece of the courtyard, edged with olive, lemon and pomegranate trees. With just four rooms and two suites, stylishly done in natural materials and earthy colours, with a softly Romantic touch that compliments the period of the architecture, the atmosphere is secluded and intimate. In fine weather, you can eat breakfast out on the pergola-shaded terrace.

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From £ 79
Palazzo Baldi, Puglia, Italy
The décor is homely antique rather than cutting-edge design, but Palazzo Baldi’s real calling card is Pugliese hospitality at its warmest: get into conversation with owner Dante De Ronzi – an expert on local history – and it’s likely you’ll end up getting a free guided tour of the town, including the dazzling 15th-century frescoes in the church of Santa Caterina d’Alessandria. There’s a pretty courtyard and a terrace that’s perfect for sunbathing. The 14 rooms and suites rooms come in all shapes and sizes, from a comfortable single to the six-person Notar Verdosci suite where self-catering equipment can be provided. Breakfast highlights include excellent local pastry delicacies and a selection of fresh fruit, and there’s a bar.

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From £ 70
Convento di Santa Maria di Costantinopoli
Way down in the elegant, stiletto heel of the boot of Italy, hidden away in Salento in the Puglia region, is the somewhat unconventional guest house, Convento di Santa Maria di Costantinopoli. The 15th-century Convento is run by Lady Athena, the wife of the late Lord McAlpine, who eloquently describes a stay at the guest house as a cross between an English country house party and a summer a Greek island. There is a charming rooftop terrace with potted cactus plants and a pleasantly cool and peaceful inner courtyard. Each of the six rooms is decorated in its own individual style, and guests can feast on breakfast until the late morning, before lunch a little later. All guests are free to walk in and out of the open kitchen and help themselves to wine, Italian birra, fizzy drinks, and freshly made treats which are on offer all day.

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From £ 400

Contributions by Charlotte Johnstone & Debbie Pappyn

Source: Telegraph Travels

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