You can’t go wrong with family holidays in Italy, especially Puglia. It’s perhaps a little less conventional – or at least our trip was – but I think that’s part of the appeal. We recently enjoyed six days in Puglia with our six month old baby girl and two year old boy.
We spent our days running in whitewashed alleys, marching up steep hills to find little towns perched at the top and peering down cliff edges to beautiful turquoise waters. It wasn’t about kids clubs, but more about enjoying the simple life – something the Puglians know a lot about.
We lived on a diet of pasta and gelato, and every day we woke with a smile, happy to play in Puglia. The fresh sea air and the running about resulted in the kids crashing out straight away at the end of the day. With Nova sleeping in his own wing of our stylish villa it meant that every evening we were able to have a parent escape. The good wine and Prosecco also meant that we always woke hangover free which to be honest, never failed to surprise us!
Things to Do in Puglia
We were immersed in history, but without stepping foot into a museum. We saw the ‘mountain houses’ as Nova called them, or trulli to everyone else, at the gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage site, Alberobello. We saw bakers knead bread using methods from many generations ago and we watched old ladies hang their pasta out to dry. It’s a perfect part of the world to inspire curiousity.
Thanks to our base we were only a five minute drive to Ostuni (otherwise known as the White City thanks to its collection of whitewashed buildings), a 25 minute drive to Carovigno, a 30 minute drive to Cisternino (one of the prettiest villages in all of Italy) and many more gorgeous spots. It was really hard to choose which towns and villages to visit during our stay, but we knew we wouldn’t be disappointed with any of them. That’s the big pull for me when it comes to Puglia. Everywhere is simply beautiful.
Unlike most places we rarely heard English and instead became familiar with Nova’s quizzical glance up to us to ask what they were saying. Our mini-explorers were showered with affection from the locals, meaning we got a break as they were entertained by others. The guys at Raro Villas who organised some fun activities for us really stand out. They played with Nova and looked at him with as much adoration as we do. By the end of the trip Nova was asking where Eeegee (Luigi) was and if he’d be coming to play. Too cute.
Even in March we had blue skies and sunshine so we could spend our days outside. This time of year it is really quiet, so we enjoyed the perks of the shoulder season; flower terrace restaurants to ourselves, empty countryside roads to cruise down and the chance for Nova to run about at full pelt without losing sight of him. It was bliss and instantly made us relax. Back at the villa the boys even managed to get in the outside pool. It was heated, but not quite enough for my liking, so I was happy to watch them from the side.
Where We Stayed
This part of Italy (the heel of the boot) is authentic, endearing and importantly for family holidays, affordable. Our flights were around £60 for each adult, our car rental was only £90 for an estate car for six days and the food was super cheap. We stayed in a beautiful villa (Corte Dei Messapi) courtesy of Bookings For You and Raro Villas. It’d be perfect for a big family and friends trip as it is made up of a main villa and two smaller ones at the bottom of the hill.
We stayed in one of the smaller ones – I say small, but it was more than enough space for our family of four. Nova had his own bedroom with en suite and we had a living area in the middle, with a fully equipped kitchen. There was a lovely travel cot and highchair waiting for us too. It immediately felt like a home from home, despite the fact unlike our house, it has a private pool!
The only downside was that the shiny, hard floors meant we couldn’t really put Kit down as she’s learning to crawl and has a habit of suddenly face planting! We got round it in the end by moving the travel cot outside with us or all hanging out on one of the beds.
I’m not normally a fan of returning to the same destination – too much of the world I want to see – but I made an exception with Puglia as I wanted to share this piece of magic with my own little family. I really hope you get to have your own family holiday in Italy too.
Replicate the Trip
Fly: London Stansted to Bari via Ryanair – 2hr 30min
Drive: Astra Estate via Alamo
Visit: Alberobello, Polignano a Mare, Ostuni (each half a day )
Pin for Later…
Big thanks to Bookings For You and Raro Villas for hosting my stay.