Hand Picked Puglia has been created for discerning people like you, who are looking for something a little bit different. We not only want you to visit Puglia, but we want you to get under its surface and meet the people living and working here. We want you to really experience this fantastic region and hopefully fall in love with it, like we have.
As your friendly, down-to-earth hosts our aim is to ensure you will want to keep coming back to Puglia to experience something new, exciting and somewhat out of the ordinary through our hand picked tours.
Who are your hosts?
Masseria Giulio and Puglian Pleasures have come together to share their insider knowledge, experience and passion for the region to offer an insight into Puglia that you will not find elsewhere!
Ian Allan, owner of Masseria Giulio, has been a regular visitor to Italy over the last 15 years. Early in 2013 he found a derelict historic farmhouse without a roof, windows, doors or floors and decided that this was his dream property! After two years of extensive restoration work, he moved out with his family in 2015. His children are now at the local school in Latiano, despite them only knowing a few basic words and phrases of Italian when they first arrived.
He loves to meet people who are enthusiastic and passionate about what they do and why they do it – whether it be builders who are preserving centuries old construction techniques; carpenters who hand craft windows, doors or furniture; butchers who know almost which field the meat they are selling came from, or; wine makers who are producing delicious and interesting wine from the local grape varieties. For him uncovering the personal stories and history behind the local produce and traditions is part of the joy of living in this amazing region.
Valerie Rice, founder of Puglian Pleasures, writes a blog which gives a sneaky peak into Puglia, its culture, traditions, local events and quirky stories of general life here.
She fell in love with Puglia when she moved here lock, stock and barrel 5 years ago. She embraces everything Puglian from; learning to cook like ‘nonna’ (grandma); to trying out the local pizzica dancing. Top of her list of local pleasures, is, yes, you’ve guessed it, wine! Followed by the Pugliese food, culture, traditions and ‘piano, piano’ (slowly, slowly) the Italian language!
During her 5 years in Puglia, she has built-up an extensive network of contacts in the food and wine industry, which has enabled us to carefully hand pick the perfect tour just for you!
Lucy Allan, is the real ‘capo’ (boss!) at Masseria Giulio, ensuring that everything runs smoothly behind the scenes. She is a keen traveller and has already lived in Japan, Spain and Belgium before moving to Puglia. Lucy loves languages (and talking!) and in addition to running Masseria Giulio, she also teaches English at a local language school.