I don’t claim to have found Paradise, but I do claim to have found a very nice place on this planet. It doesn’t look much from the outside. In fact, as we pulled up to our hotel I think we were all wondering what was hiding behind those closed doors.
And then the door opened and Palazzo Siena came into its own. A small boutique hotel, decorated with near OCD attention to detail, I loved every bit of it. The owner, a chatty lady who didn’t speak much English (in fact no English) had recently opened the hotel with her husband and daughter.
The garden with homegrown vegetables, the swimming pool with sea water, the sleepy village; everything felt so far away from the stress of London that I even felt amazed by the fact that I could pick sun ripe tomatoes.
There were lemon trees, fig trees, apple trees, courgette plants, aubergines, strawberries and peppers that could provide more than a handful of hungry guests. At an impromptu lunch we gathered in the farm-style kitchen to eat friselle (a type of crisp bread from Puglia that you soak in water to make them semi-soggy) with tomatoes, olive oil and oregano. There was also an aubergine gratin for those that weren’t happy with just the bread.
As it was nearly 40°C, it was tough to move and I though I wanted to deepen my skin colour slightly (in Bari I go by the name of Mozzarella, I think you need no explanation for that) it was impossible to stay out in the sun if you weren’t soaking in the swimming pool. I sat in the shade most of the time from fear of turning into a lobster.
The upstairs patio didn’t protect from the midday sun either but it was brilliant for breakfast or as the sun was setting. We only stayed for 2 days, but it was enough time to find peace and quiet and a new favourite spot.