The Maizza is an old friend of Bellini Travel. Originally the little sister of Masseria Torre Coccaro which is just a hop, skip and a jump over a few stone walls and  across a few olive groves, we have always enjoyed our visits to this peaceful part of rural Puglia. Last year, the Maizza was bought by Rocco Forte and dare we say is even more perfect than she already was. With only forty rooms, she still feels family run and fabulously cosy – the sheltered oversized pool tucked away in the walled garden is a welcome retreat and with no children allowed under ten in August, it’s a great escape from the nearby sandy beaches which albeit lovely could not be noisier or busier.

When we think of the Maizza, we see a cluster of whitewashed buildings draped in shocking pink bougainvillea. The 16th century watchtower has been restored and this is where you will find the presidential suite with its far reaching views over the olive groves and down to the Tyrennian sea. However, we almost prefer the deluxe doubles which are generous in both size and amenities and with that enormous swimming pool, we don’t feel the junior suites with their private pools which although lovely, are as necessary as in some of the other properties we love  in Puglia.

Dining under the pergola; a cornucopia of antique roses and ivy, or watching the sunset from the roof top bar pergola makes this a hotel that you could very happily never leave, however leave you must with the stylish Coccaro Beach Club just a short bicycle ride away. With its faded clapper board exterior and teak fans, it feels more reminiscent of the Hamptons, until little gangs of chestnut brown Italian children run in barefoot for their lunch of spaghetti whilst being swooped up by Giacinto and the other waiters. Then it couldn’t be anywhere else but Italy.