An unadorned 1726 masseria, a charming family home – you couldn’t find a better place to stay for your discovery of Puglia. The outskirts of Mola de Bari may be unprepossessing but Rita’s smile, as she ushers you inside, brings instant cheer. The great hall with its uneven stone floor was once part of an olive mill and is filled with books, portraits and antiques with stories to tell. Lofty whitewashed vaulted rooms and metre-thick walls keep you cool in summer, and the light, gracious bedrooms are named after the women who once occupied them – four generations of women whose precious note books inspired the homestay cookery school here. There’s a real passion here for local produce, and you can sign up for their cookery courses. You’re welcome to browse through the impressive library of history books; Rita will also happily tell you about less well-known local places. Enjoy the food, the conversation, the atmosphere; dine by candlelight and you’ll sample ancient family recipes and liqueurs from the time the Bourbons reigned in southern Italy. Unusual and authentic.