Beautiful Puglia. Welcome to a corner of Italy that even the Italians forget.
Charming villages, pristine coastlines, food, art, lazy days and a vibrant local atmosphere: Puglia’s attractions aren’t dissimilar to the rest of Italy. They’re just mostly undiscovered.
The obvious theory is that Italy has too many famous places. How could you miss Florence or Rome for less-fashionable Puglia?
An alternative opinion is that Puglia doesn’t offer the quality of accommodation demanded by discerning travellers. Sure, it has good hotels. But it’s not like being in Venice or Sicily, where the place you stay is the reason you go.
Introducing Castle Elvira
That’s why we’re so excited about Castle Elvira, just outside of Lecce. Converting castles and fincas into contemporary accommodation has been trendy in Italy’s most famous regions. Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco in Tuscany is a great example.
But in Puglia? In a region where the only other outstanding accommodation is Borgo Egnazia, a sprawling low-rise coastal resort, surrounded by olive groves.
Castle Elvira was abandoned for almost a century, which is perhaps why it’s so enchanting. The original late 19th-century design details haven’t been diluted or lost over time, merely restored during a three-year renovation.
Space and Privacy
Opening in the spring, the castle is like all good castles – there are far more rooms than are necessary.
Four en-suite bedrooms. Then two salons, a formal dining room, informal dining room, bar and piano room, two lounges, cinema room and a drawing room turned business suite.
They have restored the groundskeeper’s cottage as well. A “groundskeeper’s cottage” that features a private garden with a sunken 12-person jacuzzi and swimming pool.
A Castle in Puglia
Puglia is rightly famous for its castles. For almost a millenia, it seemed every VIP passing through Puglia wanted to build their own castle here. In the late 1800s two Neapolitans built a castle for their daughter Elvira’s 17th birthday.
Being proud Neapolitans they copied the design of a Naples castle owned by Eduardo Scarpetta. In gratitude, Elvira planned a feast to thank her parents, but tragedy struck. Elvira’s parents entered the castle and found their beloved daughter dead.
She had handpicked mushrooms from the castle grounds, believing them to be porcini. The castle was abandoned, before it was even lived in.
Castle Elvira owner Steve Riseley says:
“Whether a fable or reality, I fell in love with the castle and Elvira’s tragic story. From the moment I saw the property I wanted to breathe life back into the decaying buildings, restoring the glory, filling the park with love and magic so that the story of little Elvira can live on.”
Your next Italy Holiday
Castle Elvira is currently available on an exclusive-use basis, although this is expected to change after the summer. A nearby tower has also been converted, offering a further four bedrooms and entertainment space.
Whether Puglia or elsewhere in Italy, we can plan your holiday around what’s new, so you experience it before everybody else.