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April 17 2014

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Designer Diary: Michelle Smith’s Postcard from Puglia

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Many of us will hit the beach this summer, but few will have the same seaside experience as Milly designer Michelle Smith. Last month, Smith headed to the Masseria Torre Maizza hotel in Puglia for a Southern Italian adventure. Smith shares the details of her getaway here, exclusively with Style.com.

Michelle Smith in Puglia

Once a bustling territory of Magna Graecia, Puglia is an intoxicating mix of ancient civilizations and cultures, each of which left its distinct stamp on the region. Architecture enthusiasts will marvel at the examples of ancient Greek, Roman, Byzantine, baroque, and Moorish influences, all of which can often be found within the same village. One thousand- to 2,000-year-old olive groves are alive and well in Puglia, originally planted by the Romans. The Adriatic and Ionian seas surround Puglia on three sides. My typical vacation day consisted of a morning sail or swim, followed by a delicious, leisurely lunch, as only the Italians can do! The tradition of siesta is strictly adhered to, so Puglian villages shut down from 2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., but then they stay open late, until 11:00 p.m. It was always a pleasure to discover a new village in the late afternoon and stay through dinner. I also enjoyed the lively late-night scene around the piazzas. Puglia was, in one word, splendid.

Masseria Torre Maizza

Masseria Torre Maizza is an amazing watchtower converted into a luxury hotel. This is where I stayed. Torre Maizza has a beautiful spa, golf, amazing local Puglian cuisine, a beach club, and olive groves that tumble down to the sea.

An interesting angle of Puglia

Interesting angle.

Michelle Smith in Puglia

Strolling narrow, ancient streets in the white city of Ostuni—Byzantine church in the background.

Poolside at Masseria Torre Maizza

Poolside at Masseria Torre Maizza where there were ancient columns, bougainvillea, hammocks, and fresh fruit growing on the trees. Blissful!

Alberobello

The village of Alberobello, known for its typical Puglian cone-shaped Trulli houses. This is a Unesco-protected village.

A baroque passageway in the village of Cisternino.

A baroque passageway in the village of Cisternino.

A shady spot for relaxing under the sea pines.

A shady spot for relaxing under the sea pines.

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