Sunshine and old world charm
Sometimes you want to get a feel for your favourite holiday destinations without seeing the same sights and experiencing the same crowds as everyone else. It's here that Rosa Marina shines, showing off its pretty coastal style without making you jostle with the crowds to enjoy it.
Rosa Marina is a lush stretch of seaside tucked away in Puglia, the so-called heel of Italy, if you see the country on the map as a big fancy boot. Family values in the sun are at an all time high here, and you'll find that restaurants, shops and hotels in Rosa Marina are family-run affairs with traditional values at their heart.
All of this brilliance is bathed in sunshine all year round, thanks to the hot southern Italian climate. You can cool off in the shimmering water where the Ionian Sea meets the Adriatic.
Alive with nature
Holidays to Rosa Marina let you enjoy unspoilt Italian beach life. The town's main beach is a shining example, accessible only via the village on trails as old as the hills surrounding it. The dense vegetation soon clears to give rolling golden dunes their chance in the sun, and the pale creamy sand here is fine and crumbly between your fingers. This is a wonderfully serene and secluded spot.
A little further down the coastline, you can find more popular and populated beaches, such as Lido Morelli. Yet even as a more popular beach, this stretch of shoreline is beautifully laid-back. The sun is rich and inviting, the sea views are second to none, and you're right next door to Parco Dune Costiere. That's a natural park where the olive groves, sprawling farmland and untouched greenery of Rosa Marina comes to life.
Many of the finest beaches around, such as Costa Merlati, are hidden away along the coastline as little coves, so don't be shy in exploring. You can expect hotels and resorts in the area to have natural landscapes as their star attraction. With bicycle hire or good old fashioned walking trails to get stuck into, finding the most photogenic scenery around couldn't be easier.
Fall in love with Ostuni
About 10 minutes' drive inland from Rosa Marina is Ostuni, a beautiful town of pristine white buildings that looks like its been poured down the hill when approached from a distance. Within its gorgeous surroundings are plenty of reasons to make a day trip here, including top restaurants like Q8 and Lido Stella that bring traditional Italian dishes into the modern age.
Ostuni was built in medieval times, and is one of those classic Mediterranean cities that was constructed freeform over generations. With no big plan for how it was developed, the city sprawled out across its hill as other layers of it were built atop its arches and on existing buildings.
This layered, sumptuous tangle of sidestreets and narrow avenues hides coffee shops and bakeries well worth seeking out. Some say the streets were designed to be maze-like on purpose to dissuade invaders from bygone eras trying to take the city over, confusing them instead. Luckily, it's far more friendly to tourists and should prove joyous to find your way around.
Alongside local whittlers, weavers and other craftsmen you'll find plenty more besides that shows off the real Italy in Ostuni. The city's cathedral is a beautiful Gothic affair, towering and pale in the sunlight. Nearby on the weekends, you can find the Saturday market in full swing, which is a fantastic way to get your hands on homegrown food and drink. Definitely check out taralli, the local crunchy ring-shaped breadstick snacks, which come in a range of delicious flavours.