Villa Tenuta MarVi, Salve, Puglia

Villa Tenuta MarVi, Salve, Puglia

With its fragrant gardens, luxurious amenities and elegant interiors, Villa Tenuta MarVi makes an idyllic Italian base for a getaway with friends or family this summer.

isn’t just for couples, in our book: it’s evening
aperitifs under festoon lighting draped in the olive groves; a
sunset catch-up conducted under a pomegranate tree; a candlelit
dinner out in the garden for the whole family to enjoy, the feast
whipped up by a witty Italian chef. And when we’re heading to
Italy, we want that love-filled ambience all around – even when
we’re travelling with friends.

Which is why we loved this gorgeous Puglian villa. It might be the ultimate honeymoon
location, with swoon-worthy interiors and perfumed gardens adding
just the right amount of romantic ambience, but Villa Tenuta MarVi is also bang on the money
for a platonic get-together with the gang. Blending modern and
traditional architecture, al fresco living and plenty of clever
touches to ease your transition into la dolce vita (including a
local chef on standby, fresh produce in the garden, and a fully
equipped spa tucked away in the greenery), there’s plenty of
Italian amore swirling around this luxurious abode, whoever you’re
bunking up with.

A bedroom at Tenuta MarVi, Puglia
Leading to the bedroom at Tenuta, MarVi in Puglia

Star-crossed lovers might prefer to snap up the bedrooms housed
away from the main building, in traditional trulli structures, but
Tenuta MarVi proves that romance is about much more than couples.
Excitement over the unknown, a warm, fuzzy feeling from being with
people who bring you joy – you could call it love, but we’d call it
a holiday feeling.


The villa sleeps 10 across five bedrooms – three in the main
house and two in the guesthouse – each with its own bathroom
stocked with organic olive oil-infused bath products and sporting
high, cathedral-like ceilings. As with the communal areas of the
property, interiors are playful, mixing neutral fabrics with pops
of vibrant colour, inviting you to settle in, pour a glass of
Primitivo and raise a toast to the good life.

Totter down past tufts of wild shrubbery, trees heavy with
pomegranates and prickly pear plants to access the traditional
trulli structure. Here, you’ll find two further guestrooms, both
decorated in the same palette of soothing neutrals with zingy
flashes of pistachio green, raspberry and cerulean blue across the
cushions, candles and artworks. Away from the main house and
cocooned by two courtyards and strings of fairy lights, these rooms
are slightly more romantic and, during our stay, were snapped up by
the Romeo and Juliets of the group. No complaints, obviously; we’d
rather fall asleep listening to the sound of the crickets than
anything else…


Stealing the show and coming for Carole Bamford’s wellness crown
is the ochre-coloured, Moroccan-inspired spa found at the bottom of
the garden. Inside, you’ll find a hammam, steam room, showers and a
hot tub (a soak in which is a great way to soothe any niggling
insect bites).

Elsewhere, there’s a pool framed by lazy boy bean bags, pampas
grass and lavender, a wine cellar equipped with an ice machine –
ideal for lunchtime Aperol-based cocktail-making – a pantry,
barbecue, pizza oven, organic fruit and veg garden and no fewer
than four al fresco dining areas. Plus, a terrace with prime sunset
views and two seats nestled next to an olive tree, framed by
pontoon lights.

Where should we go for a food shop?

When you arrive, you’ll find basketfuls of fresh fruit and
vegetables – all plucked from the villa’s garden by hero gardener
and handyman Daniel – in addition to mozzarella, Parma ham and
chilled beers in the fridge, a fully stocked pantry filled with
fresh pasta, homemade pasta sauce and pesto and, downstairs, a
cellar full of locally produced wine (charged extra).

After demolishing the supplies, head to the nearby town of Salve
to restock the cupboards.

The living space at Tenuta MarVi, Puglia

Any essentials we need to pack?

Aside from a thrilling novel to get lost in and Stanley Tucci’s
latest cookbook? Nothing. Between them, the villa owners and The
Thinking Traveller have taken care of it all. They can even book
you a wine tasting at the click of a button.

How about their green credentials?

Good. Think solar panels, an organic garden, circular waste
system and an instruction manual with detailed recycling
instructions that emphasise the respect the villa’s owners have for
the land.

What about accessibility?

Due to the sloping nature of the grounds, we’d suggest picking a
different villa from The Thinking Traveller’s vast collection if
ease of access is a priority.

Who should I bring?

That’s up to you. This is a great property at which to kick back
with your go-to travel gang or – equally – for a wholesome family
affair. Though younger guests might not share your joy over the
serene spa at the bottom of the garden…

Things I should know

Hiring a car is a necessity. Opt for something on the smaller
size to make navigating the winding roads around Salve a cinch and
to save the embarrassment of making seven attempts to parallel park
outside the bakery. Oh, and pack litres of lavender oil. Mosquitoes
are rife in the area and the oil is a natural deterrent.

Within a short walk I can find…

Aside from the vegetable patch, fruit orchard and spa, you’ll
find the sherbert-coloured town of Salve. It’s pretty (if a little
gritty), and an ideal place to stock up on fresh pasticciotto.
These bite-sized, custard or ricotta-filled golden nuggets are as
much a symbol of Puglia as croissants are of France.

The Lowdown

The villa costs from £3,731 to £10,510 a week, depending on