First things first, let's start off with the most important thing about the house in Puglia:
It has kittens!
At least, it did this year anyway. The family who are in charge of maintaining the house and gardens have a delightful little kitten and puppy at the moment and I pretty much spent the whole week playing with them!
Now to back to business.
Every year in May or June we head down to Puglia to get the house ready for the summer season. Built at the end of the 19th century by Michele's great grandparents, it's one of the oldest villas in the area with lots of original features and more than a few antique touches.
It has high ceilings, cool stone floors and plenty of windows opening out onto the huge gardens, letting sea breezes flow through the rooms to relieve the summer heat during the day.
It's the perfect place to relax...
But whenever we're down there it's full speed ahead trying to get everything ready and sorted!
This year there was much less to do than last year thank goodness. Last year we arrived to find that there had been a flood over the winter and whilst the water had dried out, the entire floor was covered in a layer of dried mud. It took a lot of sweeping and scrubbing to get rid of it all and it wasn't all that fun in the June heat!
Instead, my jobs were to go around and oil all the doorknobs and hinges (and believe me, there are a fair few with all those doors and windows and shutters!) and oil and polish all the woodwork. Which I obviously threw myself into with gusto and didn't spend half the time lying down on the floor wishing I could go to the beach...
All in all, the house comfortably sleeps 12 people but you can squeeze up to 14 in if you really want to try!
There are four bedrooms that lead off a central room with a dining table and seating area plus another bedroom on the top of the house. That one was originally built as an artists' studio with views across the land once used for farming and down towards the sea which is only a couple of minutes walk away.
It has everything you could want. The isolation of a house hidden within its own grounds (which it shares with one other small cottage which sleeps 2 people or a family with 2 small children) and the conveniences of a small town with a supermarket, bar and pizzeria (with absolutely stunning views across the coast) just a five minute walk down the road.
For me there's only one problem; the houses in that area aren't connected to the main water supply so the taps don't provide drinking water (although with the supermarket nearby and a water fountain providing drinking water, that's never been a problem for us). It also means that the water flow in the showers is half-hearted at best but can sometimes tame to a drizzle. This is definitely something we're hoping to sort out in the future as it's the only thing guests have ever mentioned.
As such I have obviously gotten completely carried away by the prospect of having the bathrooms redone and as I am well aware that I am unlikely to have a place of my own to decorate within the next 20 years, I am wholeheartedly shoving my design ideas down poor Michele's throat. But come on, check out my Pinterest board for the house and tell me if I'm wrong?
So just out of interest, what do you look for in a holiday home? Sure, we're not talking 5-star luxury (the house rents out for about €1800 per week during high season, which when you split it between 12 friends is brilliantly cheap) but if you're going to stay in a house with some friends, what would be on your checklist?
(For me personally it's having animals around that I can cuddle!)
Let me know your ideas!
(And if you're interested in renting the villa, it's on Airbnb here)