I have just eaten an unsaintly amount of burrata and my stomach is smiling.

Or so it feels anyway. Since lunchtime, the hours have slipped by in a haze of sunshine, searching for a coffee bar in this deserted pugliese town and exploring the overgrown gardens of the old villa we’re currently cleaning out.

Every year, Magro comes down here to clean the old house ready for the summer season. This is the second time I’ve been lucky enough to come with him.

This morning was spent doing little jobs around the house - polishing woodwork, counting and folding all of the sheets, towels and tablecloths, airing the sofa cushions and mattresses.... by which point it was time to sit down in a patch of sun and eat.

Ignazio put together a simple salad of cucumber, lettuce, carrots, wild fennel, onion and tomato and dressed it with red wine vinegar and olive oil. The produce here is really cheap and most of it is local (apart from the fennel which Ignazio and Rosanna brought on the coach from Sicily).

As soon as it was put on the table, there was this incredible scent of all the vegetables mingling together under the dressing. I don't think I've ever been so eager to devour a salad in my life.

The burrata was a rather messier affair. I think I'm going to buy one of these every day that we're here.

Dessert was strawberries. The juiciest, most vibrant strawberries I have ever encountered. To give you an idea of what they were like, just consider that I haven't edited these pictures at all.

After lunch, we wandered through deserted streets in search of a coffee (which was a success especially as the bar owner gave us a little espresso cup of coffee flavoured mousse. My goodness, how delicious!) On our return, I decided to explore the garden a little.

For us, staying here isn’t a holiday in the true sense. We’re here to sweep the rooms, chase families of earwigs out of corners, give the woodwork a lick of polish and any other repairs and maintenance work that might need doing after 9 months of abandonment.

There’s a lot of work to be done and a lot of spiders to be reckoned with but in between jobs, there’s always time for a snooze in the sun or a walk along the rocky shores just down the road.

Photos of Magro's family, from the man who built the house to the grandparents with whom he spent summers here with to his father Renzo as a child.
Housework here doesn’t feel like housework. It feels like an exciting project getting the place ready for the families and groups who flock here in the summer months. I personally have my heart set on really giving this place a bit of love and care, turning the five bedrooms into proper holiday rooms and transforming the overgrown land out back (which has been destined to be turned into a carpark for the last 10 years) into a relaxing space with a pool, kitchen garden and orchard for the fig and pomegranate trees that thrive in this climate.

The house is currently available to rent here.

But for now, we’ll keep sweeping and dusting and polishing. Who knows what the future might bring.