Simpson Secret – Puglia

Puglia , Italy

Part of the Simpson Secrets collection

Our search for exceptional villas occasionally leads us along the road less travelled to find hidden gems just too lovely to leave behind. Aimed at the adventurous at heart, each Simpson Secret offers a unique take on what a holiday off the beaten track can be.
Simpson Secrets

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  • Stunning nature reserve location
  • Comfortable country villa
  • Unique natural rock pool
  • Walking distance to beach
  • Nardò 15-minute drive

This beautiful nature reserve location is a true take on the road less travelled – and the restrictions that came with the protected land prompted some lateral thinking from architects Sabina and her husband Luigi. However, they rose to the challenge of transforming the abandoned 19th-century ruins they found there into a delightful small house full of personality and style. They then made it unforgettable by incorporating a natural rock pool in the garden as the swimming pool.

The crystal-clear water is connected to the sea 800 metres away and is sometimes salty depending on the direction of the wind. It’s also a constant 19 degrees. But best of all: a cooling dip has never felt more romantic. Walking over the rocks to the water’s edge offers the same sense of excited discovery you might have felt as a child exploring rock pools by the sea – and yet our Simpson Secret is a thoroughly grown-up place to stay.

Thick walls of cream-coloured stone and pale wooden-beamed ceilings are offset by soothing shades of green and blue – a feature wall here, a cushion there – all echoes of the surrounding landscape. Stargazers will love the master bedroom, full of nautical touches, which features a double skylight above the bed, opened by an intriguing winch and pulley system. And amongst the natural robustness of the building itself, there are lighter touches: polished ceramic lampstands, sepia-tinted photographs, a classical sculpture tucked into an alcove and valuable artwork behind the beds by Dirk Verdoorn, an official ‘Painter of the Fleet’.

Outside, you’ll find seating by the pool, a table and chairs under the olive trees and a barbecue area. Instead of cultivated flowerbeds, cactuses spring up from the rich red soil. It’s Puglia as nature intended, with stone pathways to help you navigate it.

Just off a minor road, the house is an easy four-minute drive from the lively fishing village of Sant' Isidoro, which has everything you need for stocking up or eating out, as well as a beach that buzzes in high season. The nearest town is Nardò, a 15-minute drive away, with its impressive cathedral and town square, castle and pristine coastline, parts of which fall into the domain of the Portaselvaggio National Park. Also overlooking the sparkling Ionian, the village of Porto Cesareo, a 20-minute drive away, has a popular fish market, as well as shops and a further choice of restaurants.

Looking for 10 nights..? Why not add a 3-night stay in a boutique hotel to your villa holiday. To find out more, view our 10-night holidays in Italy.


Explore our pre-bookable experiences in Puglia


  • 2 bedroom house (sleeps 2-4)


  • Sitting room with fireplace and Satellite TV
  • Open-plan kitchen/dining area
  • Kitchen includes gas hob, microwave, fridge-freezer, dishwasher
  • 2 double bedrooms
  • Steps down to bathroom with stone bath and shower


  • Complimentary WiFi
  • Air-conditioning in sitting room and kitchen
  • Standing fan and table fan
  • Iron, ironing board, hairdryer, pool and bath towels provided
  • Washing machine
  • Covered outdoor dining area
  • Barbecue
  • Natural saltwater rock pool, irregular shape (depth 1.2m – 1.3m depending on the tide); non-slip shoes are recommended for walking around the pool area
  • Children under the age of 12 are not accepted due to low walls and an open staircase in the garden
  • Some road noise might be heard from a secondary road that runs not far from the house
  • A daily tourist tax applies for the first two weeks of your stay only, which means that an average of €1.50 per person (12+ years) may be charged. This should be paid in cash during your stay.


  • All properties with WiFi are able to support basic functionality such as web browsing and checking emails. We aim to offer an uninterrupted service but sometimes, due to factors beyond our control, reliability can be affected.

National tourist licence (CIS): LE07505242000016735

Access times

  • Check in time – 4:00pm - 8:00pm
  • Check out time – 10:00am


  • Frascone Beach 15min walk
  • Sant’ Isidoro (beach/restaurant/bar/bakery/mini-market) 4min drive
  • Nardò (shops/restaurant/supermarket) 15min drive
  • Porto Cesareo (shops/restaurant/supermarket) 20min drive
  • Lecce 40min drive
  • Brindisi airport 1hr drive
  • Bari airport 2hr 15min drive


This property is priced on an accommodation-only basis. To view details of recommended flights please click here.

Car hire

We are happy to arrange your car hire in Italy; please click here to view options and prices. All hire cars booked with us include: 

  • Fully inclusive insurance, with zero excess*
  • Free additional driver

For further information regarding travel arrangements click here.

* For this particular destination, the undercarriage is not included in the cover.

A unique villa but excellent, Sabina the owner met us and could not be more helpful. The old stone house was great, as was the natural rock pool which we we went in every day to cool down. The welcome pack was lovely and the vila had parasols and chairs to take to the superb beaches. A great 2 weeks in Puglia. Nick and Hilary Lymington

Nick & Hilary Lymington, September 2023

Our holiday in Puglia was perfect. The house was the most unique and well presented property and our host was incredibly friendly, generous and helpful. She passed on so much advice on where to go and activities to do. The property has everything you could need and is in the most beautiful of gardens. We loved every moment there. A truly memorable holiday.

Nicola Bowles, September 2022

This was truly a wonderful Secret Escape but with easy access to all of Salento's highlights. A gem of nature with a gem of owner, Sabina whose graciousness and kindness went above and beyond. Welcome pack full of thoughtful, local, goodies.

Karen Askwith, September 2022

What a beautiful home, the attention to detail is amazing and you can see how much love and care has been given to restoring it and the gardens. We have enjoyed relaxing here for part of our honeymoon. Thank you for the lovely welcome pack and for all of the advice given on places to see and things to do.

Andrew & Emma, October 2019

We’ve been here for a week, not enough time to sit in all the chairs let alone see all the sights. You could have a great time just swimming from the little beach across the salt-marsh. Coastline very rocky, do wear sensible shoes.

John & Jan Bolton, September 2019

This is a totally unique property in a completely authentic and natural location. It’s resurrection from ruin has clearly been a labour of love by Sabina and Luigi. Sabina has been generous, extremely helpful and knowledgeable about the local area and kept us up to date with any music events, exhibitions and restaurant recommendations.

Ian & Janis, September 2019

Thank you very much Sabina and family for allowing us to stay in your wonderful villa and relax in the wonderful garden and rock pool. We have thoroughly enjoyed our stay here in Puglia and with Sabina’s recommendations have explored ancient towns and deserted beaches and coves. Sabina’s attention to detail in the villa was superb and we had a lovely welcome.

Gordon & Sarah Brown, May 2019

Thank you Sabina and family for our stay here. We managed to see and do a lot of things out of season. Wine tasting at Schola Sarmenti on a rainy day, Gelato in Santa Maria al Bagno and watching the sunset over the sea. We have enjoyed exploring Puglia, its olive trees and vines.

Deborah & Jason, October 2018

The house is stunning! Sabina, the owner, is an excellent and most welcoming host. A real find! A lovely location close to several beaches in an unspoilt area with Lecce, Gallipoli and Otranto within easy reach.

Delia Paul, September 2018

We have been on 6-7 Simpson holidays, never before have we stayed in such a fabulous property – a real oasis. As for Sabi – what can I say, the kindest property owner we have come across. Her attention to detail and generosity are outstanding.

Stu, Ji & Nick, August 2018

Sabina, the best hostess ever. Simpson has struck gold with her. So welcoming, the food pack was a delight. Lots of places to visit, she obviously loves the area and has researched it well giving us lots of places to visit that we might enjoy.

Lynn & Phil Hopwood, August 2018

We’ve been looking forward to our honeymoon in Southern Italy for some time and it did not disappoint. Before we arrived Sabina made us feel welcome and pointed us in the direction of great restaurants and places to visit. The house itself is incredible. Every detail has been thought of and we definitely recommend a dip in the rock pool to start the day. Thank you Sabina for making our stay amazing.

James & Charlotte, May 2018

What an amazing house and fabulous location. Sabina is a wonderful hostess and the welcome pack was the best we’ve ever seen (and we’ve stayed in quite a few Simpson villas!).

Lucy & Andy, May 2018

Our choice of Italian properties is diverse, ranging from simple charm to genuine luxury and style. Much of our portfolio is privately owned, and price alone is therefore not a universal guide. We contract all our accommodation in person, and each property has its individual appeal.

To help you make the right choice based on your own priorities, we have devised a simple grading guide to be considered in conjunction with each individual property description, awarding up to a maximum of five stars for the below categories.


Property Grading Key:

  • 5/5


  • 4/5

    Very good

  • 3/5


  • Location


    Position, view, serenity, privacy

  • Comfort


    Space, style, overall furnishings

  • Facilities*


    Property enhancements

  • Amenities*


    Proximity to beaches, restaurants and shops

* For further clarification on Facilities and Amenities, please view the 'Details' tab for each property or speak to one of our experienced sales consultants.

There’s a different side of Italy to discover on a holiday in Puglia – the land of the trulli, ancient olive groves and historic towns that take you on a journey from Byzantine to Baroque. And then there are the countless beaches and beach clubs that capture the diversity of this absorbing destination: unspoilt, unpretentious and full of creative flair, where the generosity of the locals is matched by the excellence of its cuisine.

To complete the picture, explore our collection of handpicked villas, and Partner Hotels to fully immerse yourself in the local culture.

Explore our pre-bookable experiences in Puglia.


Read more on our Puglia region page

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