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What makes Puglia Italy’s hottest new destination?

But it was the opening in 2010 of Borgo Egnazia where Justin Timberlake married Jessica Biel, also near Savelletri, that really established Puglia as a destination for sybarites. The creation of Melpignano’s husband, who commissioned the building, and son, Aldo (who, as a postgraduate student in the US, had interned for Ian Schrager’s Morgans Hotel Group), it was a new build (not that you’d guess) designed to resemble a gleaming citadel of rough-hewn local white tufa, surrounded by a village (or borgo) of two-bedroom houses and palatial villas with butlers and private pools.

Unlike the masserias, it’s also right on the beach. For though Puglia has 500 miles of coastline, lapped by the Adriatic to the east and the Ionian Sea to the west, its seaside is not its real glory. It may have a handful of modish beach clubs with sunloungers, laidback restaurants and DJs, notably Coccaro near Monopoli and, further south, White Beach near Torre Canne, but much of the coast is undeniably down at heel. 

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