Villa San Michele
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What Oliver loves…
- This villa in Puglia was once the Chapel of San Michele and Italian nobleman’s residence
- The underground grotto with 8th and 11th century frescoes is a rare gem you won’t find elsewhere
- You’re just a km from Michelin-starred restaurants in Ceglie Messapica and a half hour from enchanting coastlines
Set on five acres among olive and almond trees and brimming with history, this villa in Puglia was once a chapel and monastery dating back to the 1300s. It’s now a tranquil and chic Italian getaway within 5-30 minutes of medieval towns and pristine beaches with secret coves.
Traditional stone architecture extends throughout, acting as a decorative piece of its own. The villa blends classic décor and antique furnishings with stylish modern features, such as craftsman vessel sinks. Four simple bedrooms sleep eight, each with their own bath, and the full kitchen and common areas are spacious and inviting, complete with fireplaces and ‘cantina’ dining.
Outside, a private oasis with sun loungers beneath canopies, a swimming pool, and exotic gardens with fruit trees await. Alfresco dining on original stone piazalle or covered terrace is a must with the wood-fired pizza oven on hand. Plus, the villa boasts a secret, underground limestone cave dating back to the 7th century with medieval frescos!
A stay at this ancient villa places you within walking distance to the foodie haven of Ceglie Messapica, complete with its famous Trulli houses. Be sure to try Osteria Pugliese – a local favourite and New York Times recommended.
Perfect Puglia: “Set in five acres of exotic gardens with olive trees and giant cacti (think Jurassic Park) our home for the week sleeps eight and blends stylish décor with antique furnishings and stylish modern features. 'Wow, we are sleeping in our very own castle!' shouted my excited five-year-old boy Zak…”
Read the full review of Villa San Michele, over on the Daily Mail
What you should know…
- The pool is a short walk through the beautiful garden
- While the nearest town is within walking distance, to really explore the region’s many treasures, a car hire is recommended
Villa San Michele can accommodate up to 8 people with 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms (further rooms can be added by arrangement). The accommodation is in the original stone construction whose thick walls keep the house cool in summer and warm in the winter months.
- Entrance room with vaulted ceiling and fireplace
- Large double height vaulted sitting room, 32' flat screen TV/DVD player
- Large vaulted´Cantina´ with a table seating 10, original stone floor, door to rear and large glazed arched doors to the front of the property
- Fully equipped kitchen
- Two double bedrooms leading off the main room, both with vaulted ceilings and en-suite bathrooms with showers
- Stone vaulted rear reception room
- Large bathroom with shower
- Large bedroom, en-suite bathroom with double bathtub and circular shower
- Twin bedroom and stairs to roof terraces
- Covered veranda for al fresco dining
- Large original stone courtyard
- Covered wood-fired oven
- Swimming pool (13mx6m) with loungers, pool towels, outdoor shower
- Table tennis
***The swimming pool is reached by twin sets of steps and is surrounded by a large paved area with loungers and umbrellas. A shower is ingeniously placed under the branches of a spreading olive tree.
***The grounds have been planted with desert plants, designed to stand the long dry summers in the region. Trees include Olives, Almonds walnuts, mulberries, figs, pomegranates, lemons, quince and prickly pears.
Near the property is a large natural limestone karst cave or grotto, some 52 metres deep. The entrance to the grotto, shaded by fig and olive trees opens to reveal a huge cavern. Stone stairs descend in two directions.
There is some evidence that the cave has been occupied by humans since Neolithic times. The cave was settled from around the 7th century AD by Basilian (Byzantine) monks who had escaped persecution in Constantinople, and this religious settlement remained there for several centuries.
Descending into the first part of the grotto, covered in stalactites, is a large altar hewn out of the solid rock. Above and to one side of the altar is a fresco of the Virgin (Vergine Orante), which studies have shown to be the oldest in Brindisi province, dating from the 8th century AD. Directly above the altar is a well-preserved fresco of Christ, (Cristo Pancreator) and another of San Michele, both of which date from the 11th century.
Locals say that tunnels lead from the grotto and run for several kilometres. During the 1800´s the land surrounding the house was a vineyard and during this time an important ancient Messapican vase was found, 30 cm tall, which was transferred to the archaeological collection of the Museum of Berlin.
Van San Michele is situated in Ceglie Messapica, a charming small town of whitewashed houses and narrow streets located in the province of Brindisi on the edge of the Valle Itria. It is famous for its Trulli; stone built conical buildings typical of this area of southern Italy.
The landscape is typical of the area, particularly rich in nature and history. Dotted around the surrounding land are countless Trulli as well as ancient farms called Masseria. It is home to dry, stone walls, olive groves, vineyards, and woods with ancient oaks.
The town of Ceglie is close and also rich in history and culture. It traces its origin back 15 centuries before Christ and was originally part of Magna Grecia (Greater Greece).
Puglia is considered one of the best places to eat in Italy by Italians, and Ceglie Messapica is regarded as one of the best places to eat in Puglia. There are many restaurants in Ceglie, ranging from simple trattoria to Michelin starred affairs. Many of them will offer some version of what is known as Cucina Povera, literally "poor cooking", derived from a time when the residents of this area of Italy had to make do with simple ingredients and transform them into something more.
Less than half an hour away are the beaches of the Adriatic coast where there are many quiet coves with crystal clear water and long, sandy beaches backed by dunes. A little over half an hour on the other side of the peninsula are the stunning beaches of the Ionian coast where mile upon mile of white sandy beaches extends south to the tip of the heel of Italy.
The airports of Brindisi and Bari, both with direct flights from the United Kingdom, are 30 minutes and 1 hour 10 minutes respectively from the property.
Salento Airport Brindisi
Bari International Airport
Shops and supermarkets
Bars and restaurants
There’s a reason Puglia is the region of the moment, or rather several: the excellent food, exuberant architecture dotted in the South, the breathtaking coastline and heaps more. Puglia is much bigger than you might first expect, but you’ll get both a wonderful and varied Italian experience here.Use our travel guide as a nifty sidekick (think of us like the Robin to your Batman) to help you plan the holiday of a lifetime.
And don’t forget we’ve got a selection of villas in Puglia that will add that extra special touch to your trip.
- Welcome pack of food and delicious local wine will be waiting on your arrival
At Oliver’s Travels we pride ourselves on going that little bit further for our guests. From private chefs to babysitters we can help you arrange those little extras that make it a truly memorable holiday. Simply fill in the concierge request form or contact the Oliver’s Concierge Team who will be happy to help. We can typically help you arrange any of the following:
- Maid service/extra cleaning
- Private chef/cook/catering
- Welcome hamper/pre-stocked fridge
- Local day-trips or tours
- Airport transfers
- Babysitting/childcare services
Simply fill in the concierge request form or contact the Oliver’s Concierge Team.
Please note that all services are subject to availability and must be requested in advance and that due to some rural/remote locations, not all services will be available at all properties. Prices are on request. We will always do our best to fulfil your requests!
Oliver's Travels Chef Service: A Gourmet Dining Experience
Make hosting a memorable dinner party at your villa an absolute breeze with our superb Chef Service. Our chefs will take care of everything for you from start to finish so you can just sit back and enjoy the gastronomic experience. They will bring all the necessary ingredients, cook and serve the food and even clean up afterwards. To find out more visit www.oliverstravels.com/chefs
These terms and conditions may be amended from time to time.
|Security deposit||€500 payable on arrival|
|Arrival time||4.00 pm|
|Departure time||10.00 am|
|Energy costs included?||Included in the rental price|
|Linen & towels included?||Linen and towels are included in the rental price|
|Pets welcome?||Pets not allowed|
|Insurance||It is recommended that all guests take out insurance to cover against potential cancellation and any accidental damage caused during your stay at the property.|
|Heating costs included?||Included in the rental price|
|Tax||Tourist tax included in the rental price|
|Internet access?||Wi-Fi connection included|
Prices based on an occupancy of 8 people:
|November 16th 2018 - April 13th 2019||£3,024.00|
|April 13th 2019 - May 11th 2019||£3,024.00|
|May 11th 2019 - June 1st 2019||£3,696.00|
|June 1st 2019 - June 29th 2019||£4,368.00|
|June 29th 2019 - August 24th 2019||£5,711.00|
|August 24th 2019 - September 28th 2019||£3,965.00|
|September 28th 2019 - April 11th 2020||£3,024.00|
|April 11th 2020 - May 9th 2020||£3,024.00|
|May 9th 2020 - May 19th 2020||£3,696.00|
Prices based on an occupancy of 8 people:
|November 16th 2018 - April 13th 2019||€3,263.00|
|April 13th 2019 - May 11th 2019||€3,263.00|
|May 11th 2019 - June 1st 2019||€3,988.00|
|June 1st 2019 - June 29th 2019||€4,713.00|
|June 29th 2019 - August 24th 2019||€6,164.00|
|August 24th 2019 - September 28th 2019||€4,278.00|
|September 28th 2019 - April 11th 2020||€3,263.00|
|April 11th 2020 - May 9th 2020||€3,263.00|
|May 9th 2020 - May 19th 2020||€3,988.00|
Prices based on an occupancy of 8 people:
|November 16th 2018 - April 13th 2019||$3,699.00|
|April 13th 2019 - May 11th 2019||$3,699.00|
|May 11th 2019 - June 1st 2019||$4,521.00|
|June 1st 2019 - June 29th 2019||$5,343.00|
|June 29th 2019 - August 24th 2019||$6,986.00|
|August 24th 2019 - September 28th 2019||$4,849.00|
|September 28th 2019 - April 11th 2020||$3,699.00|
|April 11th 2020 - May 9th 2020||$3,699.00|
|May 9th 2020 - May 19th 2020||$4,521.00|
How long have you owned the property?
What was it about the property that you first fell in love with?
When I first saw the house it had fallen on hard times and had been unlived in for many years. It was in urgent need of some TLC to bring it back to its former magnificence. It was clearly a house with a lot of history and it was this that made me fall in love with it.
Are there any interesting stories in its history?
The house is 700 years old and has a lot of history associated with it. It was a church, and after that the summer villa for a local noble family.
Have you ever had any famous guests staying?
We have had a well known actor and his family stay. He has starred in several big Hollywood blockbusters, and well as being in TV series back in the UK.
For anyone coming to stay is there anything in the surrounding area they should...
Wander around the charming medieval heart of Ceglie Messapica, our local town.
Ceglie Messapica is justly famous for its restaurants. The simplest ones are often the best.
The grotto in the grounds of the house, is awe inspiring. A huge underground cave 60 metres deep, which was used as a church between the 8th and 12th centuries. There is a large stone altar and frescoes from the 8th and 11th centuries.
Lastly, what insider tip would you pass on about the property or the area?
Ask Maria our friendly cook to prepare a feast of local food for you one evening. Our guests always write to say how much they enjoy it.
We really felt spoiled
Our visit to Villa San Michele was simply amazing. Thanks to the fantastic staff and the services provided. Kids and adults loved the pool and the grounds. We really felt spoiled! This place is a treasure and we will back.
What a treat!
Twenty-four hours after arriving at our destination – the really rather splendid Vila San Michelle, a fabulous family-friendly 13th-century former monastery with a swimming pool, pizza oven and even its very own medieval cave - I was on the phone to our 'hostess with the mostest', concierge Donatella Pia to take her up on her very kind offer of some babysitting. A definite holiday highlight was the lovely Donatella and her mother Mia cooking classic local cuisine – bellissimo. What a treat! Read Daniel's full review: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-5055635/Oliver-s-Travels-family-friendly-break-perfect-Puglia.html
It was perfect as always
Dear Owner, thank you for all the effort you put into making our stay so enjoyable. Everything in the house is always so perfect - you are lucky to have good people there to keep it running for you. It is lovely to be welcomed by your staff and to have such a generous and carefully chosen basket of goodies. The cactus garden is progressing well and interesting to see. Back to reality and an over grown garden - obviously there was a bit of rain when we were away. Hope to return in 2 years time when we will be able to come in September. Thank you!
Thank you for the most fantastic holiday. We absolutely loved your home. We felt such at home in this beautiful villa and a beautiful city. Thank you for the excellent recommendations. We loved our dinners, and our children loved their babysitting evenings with the staff. The wine tour was fantastic. We enjoyed every minute of the villa. Everything exceeded our expectations. We hope to be back soon as there is still so much more than we want to experience.
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Reserve today and if for any reason you change your mind in the next 48 hours you'll get a 100% refund, no questions asked!
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