Masseria Cimino is a fully restored fortified farmhouse with a tower dating back to the 18th century, built just metres from the deep blue waters of the Adriatic. It's whitewashed rustic buildings exude a casual ambience, with just the right amount of quirkiness, this is not your regular 5 star resort hotel. It's getting dark so we should move inside, past the pool terrace & into the warmth.
The concierge will take care of our bags, so let's go straight to the restaurant San Domenico. The fire is blazing & the candles are flickering their welcome. Tonight there's a hearty Zuppa alla Tarantina (fish & seafood broth) served with warm crunchy pane, then Melanzane Ripiene (baked eggplant hollowed and stuffed with its chopped pulp, tomatoes, breadcrumbs, capers, olives, anchovies), Cavatieddi con la ruca (oricchiette pasta with cooked rocket greens, tomato and pecorino), Gniumerieddi (skewers of lamb & goat with slices of salt pork, pecorino and bay leaves grilled over the coals of a wood fire) & Torta di mandorla (almond tart) served with honey & fresh ricotta.
Then we can complete the evening in the lounge area enjoying a glass of Puglia's famous desert wine Aleatico di Puglia Francesco Candido.
Then to our rooms, stylishly presented. Rough-cast walls, white furnishings, mood lighting & beds framed in metres of soft muslin.
Candles softly lighting the room with their twinkling flame. A bowl of fresh regional fruit to be enjoyed.
A fire flickering in the fireplace to warm the cool night.
The bathroom is set with travertine stone basins & rustic taps.
And linen towels, olive oil & lemons for hand cleansing.
Tiny alcoves holding small glass vases lined with fresh olive branches are a delightful feature. Sleep tight, see you in the morning.
The morning brings a refreshing & invigorating swim in the pool.
Then into the Terrace Room for a yummy breakfast.
Fruit & freshly made yoghurt, just for starters.
Then the thing I've been waiting for since arriving. A short walk next door to one of the finest golf courses in Italy - San Domenico! Measuring 6300 metres, with a par of 72, it meets all USGA standards.
Being so close to the sea, the wind sets a real challenge on the course. Together with strategic bunkering, definitive fairway shaping and clever green design, a real test of golf has been set. Oh my heart!
Images: Masseria Cimino