Villa Neviera, Celino San Marco, Puglia, Italy – A room fit for a King

Lecce could be described as the capital of Puglia in Italy, located in the country’s heel. It’s a busy city with stunning baroque architecture attracting tourists in droves. This forces the prices for hotel accommodation up, so we chose to stay just outside of the city, about 20 minutes away, in a small town called Celino San Marco.

I made a mistake. I chose the accommodation using based on the price, location and photos. I had not considered that the hotel, the church and an excellent restaurant were all that you could talk about in Celino San Marco. As I later found out the local properties were closed everywhere, and the town was deserted.

However, a few days before we arrived, we received an email saying that our accommodation had been changed due to faulty air conditioning.

Just on the edge of Celino San Marco, set amongst the olive groves and vineyards, Villa Neviera stood at the end of a long gravel drive flanked by two huge wooden barrels.

This stately home towered over the vineyards, our home for the next four nights. It was in a fab location that allowed us to explore Lecce and its surroundings. We were able to park the car freely in the grounds amongst the olive groves, so we had no parking issues.

Villa Neviera is a wedding venue/hotel, but it benefits from a few extraordinary rooms, the likes of which I have never seen.

The few staff were delightful despite limited English and could not do enough for us.

Our friends took The President Suite, and we took the Andronaco Suite at the top of the property overlooking the driveway. And what a room it was!

The towels, bedding, pillows and bed were of the highest quality and breakfast the best in Puglia.

On our last night, my wife and I went out for dinner in Celino San Marco.

The town felt deserted as we drove around the one way system to get to a restaurant that we had booked., but once parked up we could see that there was a crowd gathered in front of the church. Then heart shaped balloons were released and gradually the crowd began to disperse. I asked a local if this was a wedding or celebration of some sort, only to be embarrassed that it was in fact related to the death of a local.

The church was opposite the hotel we were originally due to stay at called the Kelina Charme Hotel by Cantine Due Palme. You can read more about this wine manufacturer Due Palme here. They appear to be the main employer in the area.

If you’re visiting Puglia and want to stay somewhere really special then I can recommend Villa Neviera.