We had a wonderful relaxing week at the Trullo of Dreams this June, it was everything we’d expected and Susan's warm, welcoming, calmly attentive, friendly and efficient customer service and advice made it all the more special.
I had long thought about visiting Puglia, this beautiful corner of Italy with its great food culture - it has a deserved reputation as the breadbasket for the country - it's lovely historical centres and tropical style beaches. Most of all I had been drawn to its original and quirky round, conical roofed buildings - so when I started my research I was delighted to find a wealth of converted 'Trulli' available to rent.
These trulli, traditional farm buildings, are mainly concentrated in the northern half of the region near the picturesque centres of Alberobello and Martina France, the Trullo of Dreams is a short drive outside the latter. The trullo sits in a very loose scattering of other, all eccentrically slightly different, trulli in a quiet, sporadic network of country lanes and fields.
With the trulli and the flat, expansive, but by no means uneventful, landscape you get a slight sense of otherworldliness, perhaps a touch of the Shire from Tolkien's imagined Middle Earth; certainly that sense of quaint rural idyll which, just as a holiday destination should, acts as a welcome impenetrable barrier to the stresses and frenetic pace of modern life.
The Trullo itself had everything we needed for a very comfortable stay with plentiful touches of luxury. Firstly we had two tots in our party, a one and two year old and after easy communication with Susan during the booking process she's ensured we had the high chairs, cot and even gone to the trouble of checking prices and local suppliers for other items - nappies, milk etc. for us. You get the sense with Susan that nothing is too much trouble and she’s always on hand when needed.
When we arrived Susan met us just outside Martina Franca and we followed her through the twisting lanes and through the electronic gate into the driveway area, which has space for at least four vehicles. She gave us the tour and made sure we knew how everything worked, especially in the well equipped kitchen; the fridge and cupboards were already amply stocked with essentials and some lovely extra treats, plenty to cook a nice meal for all of us including local specialities and bottles of local wine.
The bedrooms, one with an en suite, are very comfortable and the decor throughout the whole Trullo is of good quality and tasteful. The well documented history of Susan's relationship with this particular trullo - as seen on TV in the House Hunters International show - reveals this was originally intended to be her personal sanctuary and home before she branched out into making it into her livelihood. This is very evident in the love, attention and pride in the way the it's been developed and presented. I've been in many holiday rentals with the odd picture and hastily selected ornament dotted about, in this trullo you feel every lovely object has a story behind it and isn't just a bit of cheap set dressing. There's a strong Caledonian feel to some of the things on display too - and when you hear Susan's Glaswegian tones and see the odd St Andrew's crosses dotted around you understand why!
The living room area, which is the main part of the original trullo structure with the conical roofs above, light walls and dark wood furniture is cosy and cool with dining and TV area - not that we spent much time there this because we practically lived outside, but I can imagine in the real heat of mid summer it would be a welcome escape from the heat. The bedrooms are in an extended part of the trullo, beyond the central kitchen, but are equally cool and the space flows well.
It is the secluded, large and stunningly attractive al fresco part of the trullo that really makes it special. From the kitchen and lounge you enter a courtyard dominated by an ancient olive tree, which then flows into a patio stretching to the perfectly sized pool, complete with excellent and flexible sunbeds (made of painted pallets supporting large mattresses). The rest of the area is made up of another lawn fringed patio with a hammock strung lazily between trees in one corner, a table shaded by palm covered frame in the other and dominated by a traditional open wood burning oven. Wood and lighters are supplied if, as we were, you are tempted to fire this up for homemade pizzas.
When not exploring the region we spent many hours drifting through the days enjoying the tranquillity, splashing in the pool, dozing in the hammock, cooking up tasty meals and lying on the mattresses until late at night under the star filled skies listening to sounds of nature (whoever believes the countryside is a quiet place at night has never really been to the countryside!). The trullo was large enough for four adults and two little ones to be both sociable and also to spread out, relax and sleep undisturbed in their own space under the Puglian sun. It's great for small kids too - the grounds are very secure.
The trullo also has a washing machine, dishwasher, a table tennis table, wifi, espresso machine, music system, TV, DVD player, a stock of DVDs and books, board games and lots of gadgets and tools and housewares. There are abundant herbs growing around the grounds and fruit trees and tended vegetable patches, when in season, should provide plenty of fresh goodies for guests (it was a little early in the year for us – something to look forward to for next time!)
The Trullo of Dreams is a great quality, great value and special place to spend a holiday. We’re delighted to have found it, it was lovely meeting Susan and enjoying what she’s achieved in making it, as the Italians would say, perfetto!
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