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“Castello di Ugento Adventure”
Review of Castello di Ugento

Castello di Ugento
Ranked #11 of 35 things to do in Ugento
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: The ancient walls of a 17th century castle in Puglia are now primed to cradle a series of curated cutting-edge exhibitions and art installations. Castello di Ugento is set to become a vibrant cultural hub for the Salento region.
Reviewed 28 June 2018 via mobile

WOW!! We had a spectacular adventure at Castello di Ugento. We were there the fourth week of their initial operation and felt like a part of the family.
Each castle suite is unique. We were able to look at most of the suites and saw how different each one Really is. The owners Massimo and Diana have done an excellent job of describing each suite on their website.
Piero Popoli coordinated our reservations and provided concierge services. Piero did an exceptional job in setting up and coordinating our activities including our full day cooking class with Chef Odette Fabar, boat trip to visit the many grottos and a wine tasting and ancient olive oil press visit. We were delighted with each adventure.
The cooking class with Chef Odette was my favorite. We purchased fresh seafood from the market and harvested fresh vegetables and herbs from the castle’s garden. Learned to make Tarallis, orchette and cavitelli. We thoroughly enjoyed eating the end results.
Our cocktail hours and dinners were hosted by Fabio. As our matre de and sommelier he selected our wines for which we were never disappointed. Chef Tomasso prepared a delicious 5 course dinner each evening. The service on the outdoor plaza was exceptional.
The beautiful pool, the gym and bicycles are located at the sister hotel which is only a few minutes away. A MBZ van and driver provide shuttle services between the properties.
When arriving at Castello di Ugento for the first time follow the GPS directions through the very narrow streets carefully. Once you know the way it is very easy to come and go.
The Castello di Ugento is definitely a 5 star property. Already looking forward to another visit next year.

1  Thank PHILinNYC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 16 May 2018 via mobile

Bellissimo! Benissimo! Molto buon! Perfecto! Fantastico!

My wife and I have travelled extensively around the world and have stayed at literally 100s of the nicest properties in the world. Aman, Four Seasons, Six Senses, Peninsula, Relais & Chateaux, SLH, Preferred, etc.

We also have a hobby of dining at Michelin-starred restaurants and spending the night at the restaurant’s usually wonderful associated property.

I WOULD LIKE TO TELL YOU THAT MY BEST EXPERIENCE IN 30 YEARS OF TRAVEL has been just now at the newly opened CASTELLO DI UGENTO in Ugento, Puglia, Italy!!

Where should I start?

Perhaps with the words “authentic Italian”. The hotel is actually a “living” museum with 1000-plus years of history. A true castle that includes large Norman frescoes and towers and seemingly endless discoveries / restorations by the Italian 22nd-generation owners of the property who have returned from working in New York and Milano to live at this small town hotel managing all aspects of the property. One could spend days at the hotel and the surrounding complex learning of the wonders of early Puglia. All without the crush of tourists, the hassles of parking, the commonly boring city restaurants, and the pressure to get it all done in a few hours.

But the property also includes the most modern Italian design elements from Pucci, Poltrona Frau, custom work, etc. This is not a cold drafty castle that is full of untouchable antiques. But rather a beautiful well-planned monument to current Italian design surrounded by 1000 year old walls. Large guest rooms with wonderful furnishings, luxurious showers and spacious bathrooms, modern and reliable high-speed Internet, etc. Truly the best and most tasteful combination of “something old - something new” that I have ever experienced. If you are into design you really need to come to this property.

The hotel is at the center of a small southern Italian town called Ugento where people still walk the streets together and leave their doors open and sit together outside at bars in the small town square. We came to Ugento to find today’s authentic Italy and certainly did! This is not the busy Venice or crazy Rome or even tourist-driven Matera. This is a town and a hotel where you will want to slow down and absorb the beauty. But if you do want to experience more large scale history, Lecce is less than an hour away. But driving past Lecce on your way to Ugento and having them arrange a guide for you is the way to go. Trust me...the extra time it takes to get here is well worth it.

The hotel is also the home of the Puglia Culinary Center which hosts students from the CIA for a semester of concentration on Italian cuisine. The multiple kitchens, lecture halls (with Norman frescoes on the surrounding walls!) etc are all equipped with the full complement of modern equipment. The work of the chefs and staff do not disappoint when it comes to the results for dinner and breakfast. All authentic and local food from the region.

It will only be a short matter of time before Michelin finds this restaurant and awards it stars. But while the food and wine is BETTER than most of the starred restaurants in which I have dined, the slow and authentic small Italian restaurant atmosphere is not lost here. You will meet the chef in the hotel’s BEAUTIFUL formal gardens gathering herbs, the sommelier will choose a wine to enjoy with your meal that more likely than not will be local to Puglia, and perhaps you will even dine with the owners. An AMAZING new dining room will soon be completed that I am sure will make the pages of the leading design magazines along with the rest of the property.

If you want additional activities of course the cooking school is open to the guests. And you are just 10 minutes from some wonderful sandy beaches with crystal clear water. As noted before Lecce is close by with world renowned Baroque architecture to which the hotel can arrange private tours. And the sister hotel Masseria Le Mandorle is a wonderful 15 minute walk through town (or you can drive or the hotel will drive you) where you can use their well-maintained tennis court, basketball court, pool, or exercise room.

Everybody on the staff is wonderful! Service is impeccable. Atmosphere is always positive. The owners have thought hard about how happy professional staff can make a difference and it really shows. All are very accommodating with English and are perhaps some of the most guest-oriented I have ever experienced.

I wish I could write more. I truly cannot describe in words how much you will love this hotel. If you are a romantic couple or perhaps a grown family in search of a relaxing vacation or reunion this is a wonderful place to experience true southern Italy. Perhaps you want your own small royal wedding. Perfect. Or if you are responsible for arranging small executive corporate retreats please consider this location. The owners personally have extensive C-level executive background at large multinational corporations and it truly shows.

Don’t be hesitant about the remoteness at the bottom of the heel of Italy. Brindisi airport is close by and easy to get to from Milan, etc. Driving is very civilized and parking anywhere in town, at the hotel, and at the beach is easy and safe. You cannot get this same relaxing convenience staying in Rome, Florence, Lecce, etc and it should not be underestimated.

Take some time to look through the hotel’s wonderful web site. There are many many many layers to this property. The web site gives a good idea of what you can expect.

But to experience Castello di Ugento in person is truly La Dolce Vita!

P.S. - My wife and I are private travelers. We are not associated with an agency, blog, etc. With this review we simply want to share what a wonderful full place this is so that you might experience it too!

2  Thank ericmelvin1961
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 May 2018 via mobile

We stayed at Le Mandorle the sister property of this magical place. Diana and Massimo have created a spectacular hotel, restaurant and cooking school with no detail left undone. Our dinner there was just perfect. The food and wines were excellent and we felt like royalty.

The cooking school they have in collaboration with the CIA in Hyde Park, NY is the most creative teaching environment I have ever seen. Our group was lucky enough to have a private lesson in the state of the art kitchen by master chef Odette Fada using the freshest ingredients I have ever been privileged to cook with and eat.

We had a tour of the Castello and will definitely be back to Ugento to stay there.

Thank coughy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 August 2017

We visited the Castello d'Ugento during our wonderful stay at the Masseria le Mandorle, this summer. The Castello is in the last stages of renovation and is an amazing example of architectural renewal. The history dates back to Norman influence in Salento and spans through the important periods of Italian history, with gorgeous frescoes from the Renaissance and Baroque eras. The restauration of the immense construction has been done with a sense of detail and elegance...
We were lucky enough to have a guided tour by the owner who informed us there will be several aspects to the Castello: a museum, a cooking school featuring state-of -the-art equipment, a conference center and a luxurious boutique hotel and restaurant.

1  Thank emeraldfrog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 25 June 2017

If you love to cook, love the Italian culture, love the sea, love art and history, love fresh and delicious food, and love beautiful gardens, then the 17th century restored castle Castello di Ugento and it's nearby Masseria le Mandorle is the place to go. I took a trip alone as I wanted a week just for me to do as I wish. I was immediately embraced by the family who owns the castello and found friends in the many others I met. The accommodations are so beautifully decorated that I bought the same bed linens and towels in the room. It is quintessentially Puglian--elegant, chic, warm. Spending the morning with the wonderful chef Odette picking our food for lunch, cooking with her in the spectacular kitchens, making bread with the primo baker and visiting nearby towns on the sea made, for me, the most perfect week. The garden of eden could not have been any more alluring than the one at the castello--filled with the many fruit trees and vegetables, it made me weep. I will make regular trips here and bring friends.

1  Thank susanmercnyc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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