Just a picture post today to show you the beautiful gardens at the villa in Puglia.

As nobody lives there for most of the year, some parts can feel fairly wild and even after three trips down there, I still haven't got bored of wandering around and exploring. There are some really interesting plants in there such as the "monster", that huge, spiky thing shown just above the first photo of the lizard. Seriously, that thing is absolutely giant - taller than the tallest person you know even if it doesn't look like it in the photos.

That's another thing; the lizards in the garden! And the geckos! The lizard in these pictures is called Francois and he was my pet when I went to the villa back in 2012. I haven't seen him around the gardens this year although I did see a lizard that looked just like him on the beach this year so I'll assume he's gone on to live a luxury lifestyle down on the rocks.

Last year we actually saw a snake; it was the first and last time I've ever seen a snake in these parts. I couldn't quite believe it as I've only ever seen tiny little water snakes before but this was a rather large beast, cooling itself in the gaps between the stone wall that runs along the edge of the property. I had no idea what to do - freeze? Run away? Instead I slowly reached for my camera but the snake was a rather shy one and he slithered off.

When we go down in June, there's always a beautifully fresh sea breeze playing through the branches so we tend to sit outside in the evenings to eat dinner or we set up the deck chairs underneath the trees. There are plenty of things to pick and eat in the garden depending on what time of year you go; there are almonds, figs, pomegranates and lemons. I'd love to plant more trees on the old field out the back and spend the summers harvesting the fruits and turning them into delicious treats like jams and cakes and preserves.

For us, it isn't all sitting back and admiring the scenery; there's work to be done too! I mentioned in my previous post all about the villa that when we head down we spend the whole time working. Luckily we've now got a lot more help with the garden and they're doing an incredible job making everything neat and tidy for the summer guests. Last year we had to do a lot of it ourselves; raking for hours and hours on end in the summer heat was really hard! But so worth it, especially when we got to jump in the sea to cool off in the evenings. One day I went out to buy some fish from the local fishmongers, only to come back to find half the garden on fire! It turns out that they needed to burn a lot of the garden waste in a controlled fire to keep it from being a fire hazard over the summer.

I love exploring it and convincing myself I'm in a far away land, possibly in the middle of a fairytale. Hopefully next year I'll persuade Michele to string some hammocks up between the fig trees too.

The villa sleeps 12 people and is available to rent on Airbnb here. There's also a smaller house that sleeps 2 people or a family with 2 young children. Your next summer holiday?