Looking up at the recent leaden skies, and waking up to frozen toes, thoughts of sunnier climes are beginning to enter my daydreams.
Most people who are heading to Italy tend to go for Tuscany or the big cities like Rome and Florence. Then, of course, there are the Amalfi fanciers (and who can blame them!) who head for the delights of that area.
But I’ve got news for you. Italy is a big country and there are tons of spots you probably haven’t even considered.
So why not take your love handles and ‘im indoors to a new place this summer. Today I’d like to recommend the incredible Salento region.
Many of you won’t even have heard of it, never mind considered it, but I can assure you it won’t disappoint if you give it a whirl.
Firstly, we’d best establish where exactly this delightful place is.
Look at any map of Italy and head for the heel. Yes! It’s right down there in the south of Italy.
One thing you will have to accept before you go is that it isn’t the most accessible place to go, and it’s not akin to a trip to Asda, but hey, ho it’s not exactly outer Mongolia either.
The nearest airport is Brindisi, though many people travel to Bari and then get the train down to the region.
This is a pleasant option as the train journey down is lovely, with views of olive groves and glimpses of the Adriatic Sea as you travel.
The Salento itself has some fantastic places, including lovely Lecce which many will recall I spent some time in.
Now Lecce is not to be missed if you are in that zone as it’s drop dead gorgeous, especially in the old centre - not to mention its moreish pastries which may admittedly add to your girth a tad. I’d suggest this as your first port of call in fact.
It has a magnificent Duomo and stunning warm-toned Baroque architecture throughout. In fact, it is known as the Florence of the south, for its sheer beauty.
I can also tell you, from personal experience, that there are some lovely people downthere, and also some big characters!
A big thumbs up to the Leccese from me.
So get your holiday heads on and get down there for your summer break.
Sunny Salento andiamo!