Of all of Borgo Egnazia’s personalities, former Italian top model Antonia Dell’Atte is perhaps the best person to guide us through the majestic landscapes of this seaside Southern Italian region. Born in the Apulian city of Brindisi and now based in Spain, Antonia reveals her bucket list, accompanied by some personal photos, she has shared exclusively with the Dressing Screen.
Handmade treasures to conquer
“I have a weakness for the famous ceramics of Grottaglie: all of the pines, plates, decorations and most of all their celebrated “pumi,” ceramic flower buds surrounded by acanthus leaves. I have a wonderful collection… and they say they also bring good luck. “
Most exquisite outfit from the Bottega Egnazia
“The Bottega’s selection of fluid dresses, linen items and the overall selection of airy textiles and long shirts, have always caught my eye. Cool striped dresses in muted tones are also lovely. All you have to do is walk in the wind to observe how they billow around your body and breathe a sense of freedom. “
What to eat in Puglia
“Top dishes: sea urchins, beans with chicory and, of course, the local burrata. It’s really the the milk that makes all the difference and that infuses it with its unique aroma. And then the cooked but never raw lampascioni with focaccia. Lampascioni are wild hyacinth bulbs that are sometimes pickled. Also all of the other local vegetables seasoned with Apulian oil. The friselle (crunchy round bread) seasoned with basil and oregano are a classic delight. And how can we forget taralli? A total must.”
Best place to take the first dip of the season
“I am normally in Ostuni, but I usually take my first dip of the season in the splendid shores of Borgo Egnazia, such as the Cala Masciola or La Fonte beaches, as well as San Domenico a Mare, which is also located near Masseria San Domenico (Borgo Egnazia’s “sister” property). In reality, I have a soft spot for La Fonte, where the underwater cold currents caress you … the contrast between warm and cold, is truly energizing.”
Excursions and walks worth taking
“The first site that comes to mind are the Castellana Caves, a complex of underground cavities that were formed during the Cretaceous period when Puglia was submerged under an ancient sea. Second, I would recommend the trulli dwellings of Alberobello, as well as other cities like Lecce or my own hometown of Ostuni, which is known as the white city! The scenic village of Cisternino or the excavations sites of Egnazia in Savelletri di Fasano are among the most interesting archaeological sites in Puglia, where you are immersed in the history of Magna Grecia. Also worth a walk to remember… the many millenary olive groves.”
My best Apulian memory
“I can already smell the scent of when the harvest arrives, around September-October … then the harvest of olive trees follows, in November. I also love village festivals such as the meatball or fava bean sagra: in general, almost all the villages in Lecce have one. The Cavalcata di Sant’Oronzo, patron of Ostuni, is a must, and every year at the end of August draped and dressed horses parade down the streets in a wonderful display. And finally, the big summer festival of Borgo Egnazia, one of the ones I enjoy most: there are beautiful lights light up the whole village, tables are strewn about, where people eat and then dance, laugh, sing and chat well into the night.”
Never leave home without…
“A good pair of comfortable shoes to walk and explore every spot. Practical items like airy trousers or also shorts. Sun protection is also a must. I personally only use sunscreens from the Spanish brand Isdin. It’s a really great brand. To stay hydrated, I love products from Puressentiel, or the latest rose oil.”
… what to leave behind in the city.
“Heels! It’s really a place to walk. If you find them in your luggage, you have to pretend that you forgot them where they belong!”
The best discovery in the region?
“You just never stop discovering. Taranto, was one of the major hubs of Magna Grecia. The city has an amazing museum that I didn’t find out about until recently. The Ionian coast is also lovely. Recently I also discovered the town of Lizzano, which is near Campomarino. Also worth mentioning is the Marina di Pescoluse, also known as the local “Maldives” a beautiful reserve that is reachable by foot. I would like to return to the majestic piazza di Conversano, that boasts its own castle. And then of course, Borgo Egnazia and its many beautiful farms.”
What music is the best for this type of atmosphere?
“Songs by Sicilian musician and singer Franco Battiato tell the story of his Sicilian life, which I often associate with life in Puglia. Songs like “Mal d’Africa” remind me of everything that is also part of my life and memories that I could easily correlate with my past. Moving on to well-known local singers… a nice retro tune by Albano? I also love Negramaro. And to conjure nostalgia of happy times, I turn to Foggia-native Renzo Arbore. You have to listen to it!”