The ‘village’ that won Justin Timberlake’s heart
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Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel tied the knot in Puglia, Italy
You’ll find the most impractically gorgeous hotel that I’ve ever stayed at in the heel of the ‘boot’ of Italy.
The region used to be called Apulia but these days it’s trendier to say Puglia.
Britons love Puglia for its trullis, the pretty, cone-like stone dwellings that traditionally were used as storehouses but have now been turned into shops, restaurants and holiday homes.
The town of Alberobello is famous for whole terraces of them.
But if you prefer a more exclusive address, choose the glorious Borgo Egnazia where Justin Timberlake married actress Jessica Biel in 2012.
Created in 2010 by local designer Pino Brescia, the luxury resort is like a picturesque village, complete with piazza and chapel, and is surrounded by ancient olive groves.
It lies in Savelletri di Fasano, about an hour from Brindisi, where British Airways has recently introduced direct flights from Heathrow.
In the resort’s main building, the white walls are somehow kept pristine.
There are white vases of white chrysanthemums, sacks full of walnuts, stacks of apples, lots of candles and backlighting, and a gnarled olive tree with pages from books as leaves.
Borgo Egnazia has 184 rooms: 63 (including seven suites) in La Corte, the fort-like main building; 92 bedrooms in the Borgo, or village, and 29 villas.
Borgo Egnazia has 184 rooms: 63 (including seven suites) in La Corte, the fort-like main building; 92 bedrooms in the Borgo, or village, and 29 villas
Up to 550 guests have 500 staff to look after them.
Romantic: Borgo Egnazia, which boasts five stars, is where Justin Timberlake married actress Jessica Biel
There are six restaurants too. Menus show a penchant for raw food – there’s even raw sea urchin.
Trattoria Mia Cucina offers cooking lessons, which cost £75.
Under the guidance of chef Andrea Schiavone, we fashioned focaccia, and tomato, mozzarella and fresh basil pizzas. Kids are welcome to have a go, too.
The unusual spa Vair (it means true) offers single treatments – a 50-minute massage costs from €125 (£110) – or assorted programmes.
The three-day Tarant, for example, costs €1,250 (£1,100) and is for women with a shattered soul, according to the brochure.
There are six restaurants at the resort. Above, La Frasca, which serves up traditional food
The unusual spa Vair (it means true) offers single treatments – a 50-minute massage costs from €125 (£110) – or assorted programmes
You could happily spend a fortnight just enjoying the facilities – tennis courts, four swimming pools and two beach clubs.
Different events celebrating wine, Christmas, and even the tomato, take place in the piazza. But we set out in a vintage car.
Puglia Auto Classica has more than 70 Italian cars and takes clients on lovely drives, stopping off as you wish. Gliding along in an open-top red Maserati was bliss.
We popped into Masseria Le Carrube in Ostuni, sister property to Borgo Egnazia, for an exceptional lunch.
And, of course, we stopped in Alberobello for gelato – and a trulli fridge magnet to take home.
The Private Travel Company (theprivatetravelcompany.co.uk, 020 3553 7543) offers seven nights B&B at Borgo Egnazia from £1,999pp, including flights and transfers.
British Airways (ba.com) flights from Heathrow to Brindisi cost from £58 one way.