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The best hotels in Puglia

Courtesy of Borgo Egnazia

Italy’s heel has been steadily garnering fans for a few years now – Helen Mirren has a holiday home here, it’s where Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel got married, and the Beckhams are cycling around there as we speak. It’s more rustic and rugged than, say, the pristine rolling hills of Tuscany, but that’s just part of the charm. These are the region’s best places to stay.

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Don Totu

From its unassuming, townhouse-style facade and sleepy-village setting, it would be easy to assume Don Totu was a discreet boutique hotel, albeit with enviable interiors, but not a lot of outdoor space. Cue a Narnia moment: spanning out behind the main building are pristine green lawns with plenty of siesta spots, a lengthy pool (with colourful poolhouse) and several rooftop terraces. It’s a charmingly simple set-up, with just six rooms, no restaurant (but plenty of traditional osterias within a short drive) and helpful multi-tasking staff – and, despite the mafia-conjuring moniker, absolutely no link with any organised-crime boss. Aperitivo hour is hosted by the pool or up on one of the precarious rooftop perches. Guests can order lunch at breakfast if it’s a pool day; otherwise, beach bags are lined up by the front door ready for shoreside adventures. The towns of Gallipoli, Castro…

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