Keen to explore Puglia. Hatta Byng find herself and her family living it up in grand bohemian style in a 17th-century masseria. Just outside the town of Ostuni.

When we decided that we wanted to head to Puglia last May with our children and other family, it was to Italian travel experts Bellini Travel that I turned – and it was Masseria Lamacoppa, just outside Ostuni, that they sent us. We spent a heavenly five days pretending to be the grand owners of this handsome masseria and its 73 hectares of gardens, orchards, cork forest and olive groves. And the largest private swimming pool probably in existence – certainly the largest that I’ve ever seen. Whether you want to throw a dinner for 100 people in a Venetian palazzo or are after a peaceful weekend à deux in Umbria, Emily FitzRoy will sort it for you. Her Bellini Travel team will ensure that whatever you are doing will be far from the obvious, a little bit unexpected and always stylish and interesting. We were not disappointed.

Masseria Lamacoppa, dating to the 17th century, is a truly special place (reflected in its rental price). It was bought by the late Leonardo Mondadori – of the Mondadori publishing dynasty – in the late Eighties and is now owned by his sons, Francesco and Filippo.

Approached down a long straight drive through the olives, the masseria looms imposing an austere in front of you. The main villa is a two-storey block with windows only on the first floor at the front, and ornate chimneys and finials at the corners. You enter, via a door within a door, in the center of the façade, into a walled garden filled with lemon trees. Inside, the cool, airy rooms feel grand in scale but personal and treasure- filled, mixing heirlooms with contemporary pieces collected by Leonardo and his former wife, interior designer Katherine. The rooms on the ground floor include a vast, vaulted sitting room and a dramatic long dining room with glorious pink plaster walls. We were able to eat every meal in a different place – be it by the pool, in the pink dining room, in a pretty little breakfast room or in a covered area of the courtyard.

The pool is approached through another walled garden (filled with poppies when we were there) and overlooked by a pool house and a cover dining terrace for long, lazy lunches. The vast pool has a channel that leads off to a large Jacuzzi and a shallow end that shelves like a beach, which the children loved. We spent many happy hours around it, when we were not gorging on plentiful food prepared by Latifa, the Moroccan cook, or following Bellini Travel’s detailed advice on where to go and what to see locally.