The Villa Vacanze Paradiso is designed for your every need. You will be able to live the Italian way of life, outside in the perfect weather, and enjoy our accommodation at the same time. The complex sits amid a beautiful walled garden about 6000sq m with olive trees, lawn and flowers, an ideal environment for your family where your children can play safety. We can offer you both self catering cottages and rooms only. Our accommodation are perfect for various sized families, or couples on their own, or, because of the tranquillity and safe environment of Southern Italy, and the friendliness of our staff and the local people, someone on his or her own. There is a swimming-pool suitable for both adults and children in the olive grove. A solarium and shower with deck-chairs and sun-beds offer the added bonus of a beautiful view over the Apulian countryside.A short car journey will bring you to many of the important areas of culture, to enjoy the traditions of the Salento peninsula.
Pizzica express : Italians love Salento, in the unspoilt 'heel' of the country, for its great weather, beaches and party atmosphere. Sue Clayton lets us in on some of its secrets.
Most of us know Puglia only because of its trulli houses and Bari, port for the Greek island ferries. Few venture further south - yet Puglia's lower province, Salento, is pretty special, full of southern Italian ebullience and a heady mix of traditions.
The remains of Greek and Roman temples and pre- historic monuments are scattered all over the dry sierras, popping up amid cactuses, olive groves and tobacco farms.
The coast north of Gallipoli is heavily Arabic in architectural style. In villages around Castrignano dei Greci the dialect is still effectively ancient Greek. At Giurdignano, a prehistoric menhir towers over an underground Byzantine crypt, which is still used today for worship.
But go inland and there are some superb 'classical' Italian towns: Lecce, known as the Florence of the South.
Festivais: Every town and village has a yearly festa, so in summer there's a choice of several to attend every night. Check listings magazine QuiSalento or the local bar or tourist office for dates.
Many involve old religious rites, like the carrying of a Virgin Mary statue around Lecce (August 24-6) or into the sea at Otranto (September 6). Others, like Novoli have bonfires and spectacular fireworks (January 16-17).
Almost all will include the pizzica , a fast and compelling rhythmic dance done to the accompaniment of the tambourine, accordion and violin.
The atmosphere is pulsing, whether it's a modest village festa or the August event in Melpignano, which has international guest stars and attracts audiences of 15,000.
Thousands of lights and torches create a carnival atmosphere. The pizzica band will start playing at 11pm and when the whole shebang gets going, you'd be pushed to match the spacey atmosphere at any nightclub.
Towns: Salento's capital, Lecce, is a must. As well as the castle, the marvellous churches of Santa Croce and Chiesa del Rosario and the Palazzo Vescovile, there's a market on Mondays and Fridays around the central Piazza St Oronzo with local produce and ceramics and majolica from Grottaglie, the original home of terracotta.
Nearby is Oria, its steep winding streets leading to a massive Gothic castle and battlements. Below, next to a bizarre Renaissance-style gendarmeria, is Caffé Visconti (Piazza Mandfredi 26), a very superior enoteca - wine cellar - built into the old Roman walls. It serves simple food and over 50 local vintages - look out for Salice Salentino, much loved by the cognoscenti; ruby-red, slightly frizzante, but robust and full of fruit.
What an amazing place. I spent the whole of July telling people that it was called Villa Paradiso because it was! Perfect in everyway. Great accommodation, a beautiful oasis to spend time in or return to at the end of the day, lovely people who really look after you and fantastic food, should you fancy an evening off. Thank you so much to Paulo, Louisa, Maurizio and everyone! I think we all will be back!
Best wishes from Caro
Villa Vacanze Paradiso takes its name from the surrounding area. The peninsula salentina, among Gallipoli (Kalè polis, 'beautiful city'), Lèuca (the white) and Otranto, whose name reflects memories of vital water, acqua vitale“. As well as these beautiful and interesting places , there are also other prestigious and equally fascinating places: the historic town of Ugento, the attractive Santa Cesarea, Castro and, on the other side from Gallipoli towards Taranto, Saint Maria al Bagno and Santa Caterina, Porto Selvaggio, and with its extraordinarily clear water, Porto Cesareo. Not to forget the cities and suburbs of the hinterland, often rich in monuments, steeped in tradition. Lecce, with its Baroque architecture, is a truly fascinating city to explore.