Living La Dolce Vita

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living-la-dolce-vita

A Driving Holiday Between Two of Southern Italy’s Historic Hotels

This exclusive new driving experience takes guests from the Amalfi Coast, through the historic town of Matera and the heart of Italy’s inner ‘heel’ to Puglia, in a vintage Alfa Romeo Spider, complete with relaxing spa treatments, bespoke cookery classes and private local tours

The sun-drenched south of Italy with blue, twinkling coastlines have flittered through our daydreams over these last months but restless travellers, both in Italy and abroad, are finally able to live La Dolce Vita again. Travellers wishing to reclaim their summers and reconnect with family and friends can embark on a glorious drive into Southern Italy, twinning two of the country’s most historic and beautiful family owned boutique hotels. Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel & Spa is a converted monastery, built into the side of a cliff on the iconic Amalfi Coast, offering one of the most dramatic views in the world, while Castello di Ugento is a restored Norman castle overlooking the lesser known town of Salento in Puglia. To elevate the experience further, guests on this package can choose to rent a vintage Alfa Romeo Spider 1967 for the duration of their trip.

Flying into Naples, guests can start their trip in the spectacular Amalfi Coast, spending three nights at the iconic 17thCentury, Monastero Santa Rosa. This 20-bedroom boutique hotel comes complete with a famous infinity pool which ‘floats’ over the edge of a cliff in Conca dei Marini. Here, visitors will enjoy the hotel’s pristine and spacious grounds, which include the stunning landscaped gardens, historical herb garden and 12th century chapel. Guests will feast on seasonal menus from Michelin Star restaurant Il Refetorio and unwind in the award-winning spa, with a treatment per person included in the package.

This exclusive treatment using Santa Maria Novella products, can be done outside on the spa terrace overlooking the sea or inside the extraordinary Monastero Spa, designed by Jane Goff to fit within the original 17th century vaulted ceilings and rustic stone walls. For those keen to explore away from the crowds, the hotel team can organise privately guided hikes around the hidden trials of the Amalfi Coast. Monastero Santa Rosa will be re-opening this summer with a reduced occupancy, helping to put guests minds at ease alongside various other health and safety measures.

From Monastero, enjoy a scenic, leisurely 5h30m drive towards Puglia. Guests can break up the trip by stopping in Matera – a little-visited, historically-renowned town and the filming location of ‘The Passion of the Christ’. Here, they will enjoy a two-hour, privately guided tour of the Matera ‘Sassi district’ by an expert local guide. Next, they will drive onwards to Salento, where they will venture through the heart of Italy’s inner ‘heel’, with unbeatable views of Puglia’s olive groves, white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters, known as ‘The Italian Maldives’.

The trip concludes with a three-night stay at the eight-bedroom Castello di Ugento in Puglia, the most historic family property in the region, which has been lovingly restored back to its former glory. The Castello is famed for being a culinary destination in its own right and visitors will delight in the use of 100% local ingredients, including fruit and vegetables from Castello’s own kitchen garden as well as all bread and desserts made on site by talented Pugliese Chef Tommaso Sanguedolce. They will take part in private cookery class at the world-renowned Puglia Culinary Centre, followed by lunch as part of the package. They can also picnic in the expansive grounds of the Castello, enjoy the gorgeous aperitivo hours in the Castello’s 18th century garden and enjoy day trips to some of the best beaches in Italy.

Guests can benefit by exploring the cultural wonders of nearby Salento, Lecce and the picturesque port of Santa Maria di Leuca, without the usual tourist crowds, while the expert concierge team can also organise private wine tastings at a local vineyard and experiences at a nearby olive oil farm.

BOOK IT

This Exclusive Southern Italy package starts from €3,440 (approx. £3,088) based on two people sharing one room for three nights at Monastero Santa Rosa on a bed and breakfast basis, including a one hour spa treatment per person, a two-hour private guided tour of the Matera ‘Sassi district’ and a three-night stay at Castello di Ugento on a half board basis, including one cookery class and lunch for two.

Optional add on: Rental of vintage Alfa Romeo Spider 1967 for the duration of the trip (seven days), for delivery at Naples Airport and collection at Bari Airport will cost €1,660 (approx. £1,488).

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