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What our clients enjoyed most about their destination

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We love to hear what our clients most appreciated about Sicily, Puglia and the Ionian Islands. Below you can read hundreds of comments about our clients' favourite things and recommendations.

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Sicily
Puglia
The Ionian Islands

 


 

What our clients enjoyed most about Sicily

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In 2009 readers of Condé Nast Traveller voted Sicily as their favourite destination and in 2012, their favourite island, citing its history, culture, hospitality, cuisine and wine... We find that our clients have much the same opinion! So don't take our word for it, see what they have to say and start planning your holiday to one of the top destinations in the world!

Find out more about Sicily from our on-line guide to Sicily >>


"We loved the beautiful sunsets viewed from the pool each night. The setting in the vineyards, olive trees and wheat fields made our stay restful and enjoyable. We loved the area immediately around the villa. The local shops were interesting and we enjoyed the agriturismo restaurants just behind the villa. We loved the Salt Museum and the visit to the salt pans The local markets and restaurants in Trapani were wonderful. Having rented 2 villas in Sicily this May, we were extremely happy with every aspect of our travels. We definitely will be back!" Mrs Tanya Gitto (stayed at Corte del Sole, May 2015)

"All 6 ladies loved the whole experience. The villa was exceptional and the house-keeper/cook was a real jewel. She made our stay especially fun with wonderful Sicilian food. Would love to return to Balu'. We loved the food and wine. The wine excellent and a wonderful time of the year to be in Sicily. We enjoyed it all. It ended too soon!" Mrs Tanya Gitto (stayed at Balu', May 2015)

"The holiday was a wonderful family holiday - we all had an amazing time. The villa was absolutely fantastic - we were thrilled with it. The maid was excellent and the cook superb. Lucia made us feel very welcome when we arrived and she went the extra mile for us on my Mum's birthday. We loved Modica and the drive out to the Roman temple. We would definitely use The Thinking Traveller again and would absolutely recommend you to friends." Mr Mario Thomas (stayed at Casa dei Gabbiani, May 2015)

"The gorgeous house, the views, and that fabulously landscaped garden." Dr Martha Eger (stayed at Pizzo Castellaro, May 2015)

"The villa experience - it was quality, brilliant, relaxing, memorable - all good words. The villa experience was a dream. We had a wonderful time with easy access to S/E Sicily. We ate in and out and the kitchen facilities were superb. All in all an excellent vacation." Mr John Gordon (stayed at Azzurra, May 2015)

"The villa was of a truly beautiful standard, and was very comfortable indeed. The pool, Jacuzzi, gym, sauna and hammam really made it exceptional. The property was cleaned to a very high standard, and was really more like staying in a hotel than a holiday villa, with the regular cleans, clean linen and towels every other day. Brucoli is a little gem, and has everything that one could need for fresh produce (fish direct from the fisherman is a real treat!), excellent bakery, fresh fruit and veg from back of the veg van. Syracuse, Modica and Scicli are all worth a visit." Mr Marcus Brown (stayed at Baia dei Turchi, May 2015)

"Kindness of people, excellent food, varied landscape. Very relaxing holiday, in a small paradise." Mr Edgar van Tuyll (stayed at Don Arcangelo all'Olmo, May 2015)

"The landscape is truly breathtaking." Mr James Clark (stayed at Poggio Pigio, May 2015)

"The food and the views. Santa Tecla was beautiful. Taormina was lovely and we loved the journey on the cable cars." Mr Gary Lumb (stayed at La Timpa, May 2015)

"We really enjoyed the lack of many visitors, the views were fantastic and the countryside was marvellous. We loved Scopello and found the restaurants very good and, compared to Ireland, great value. Swimming in the old tuna factory was a great experience." Mr John Gageby (stayed at Cala Bianca, May 2015)

"The villa. Da Vittoio restaurant in Porto Palo was fantastic. Selinunte was great." Mr Hugh Morland (stayed at Acquamarina, May 2015)

"The beach. Donna Carmela was a great surprise. Villa Romana Del Casale, Etna Tour, La Foresteria Planeta Estate. I enjoyed La Capinera Restaurant which is very close to La Pergola." Mrs Monica Belfort (stayed at La Pergola, May 2015)

"The scenery especially on the Northern coast in the Madonie Mountains area is spectacular. Noto, Siracusa and Taormina are truly beautiful towns and cities. The greek theatre in Taormina is spectacular as are the views from the Grand Hotel Timeo where we ate lunch. The Madonie and Nebrodi mountains are incredibly beautiful and the towns perched on hilltops are very picturesque. The villa is lovely and the owner and staff were great.The accommodations were wonderful and the support from The Thinking Traveller is the best we have ever experienced." Mr Edward Lindsay (stayed at Casa delle Sirene, May 2015)

"Most enjoyed the varied landscape and its history. Weather was great. Surprised by lack of sophistication - which was good! Roman villa, Palermo, Locando don Serafina restaurant in Ragusa - fabulous! Mountains and drives and villages behind the villa in the national park were great. We thought the house was really well appointed." Mr Richard Knight (stayed at Il Gabbiano, May 2015)

"The beauty of it all, the people being so friendly and helpful. We used your books and found them extremely useful, our favourite restaurants all came from these books. We loved this villa for its simplicity and ease of use, it had everything needed and the outside furniture round the pool was great. We ate in more evenings than we thought we would because it was lovely and light with beautiful sunsets." Mrs Karen Riley (stayed at Corte del Sole, May 2015)

"It is a beautiful island. This is without a doubt a most beautiful property. It is so well appointed, the grounds attended to daily even before we all awoke. Daniella the private concierge is excellent, as are the girls who come in each day. We could not recommend the "chef package" highly enough, as the girls came in for three nights during our stay and the quality of food was superb. We had an absolutely wonderful week as a family from Australia. Congratulations to the owner of the property." Mrs Marion Patrick (stayed at Baia dei Turchi, May 2015)

"The food, the wild flowers, Etna, the easy pace." Ms Fiona Grobien (stayed at Respiro, May 2015)

"No real surprises, but above our expectations. We loved the culture, food, friendliness of people." Mr Bob Reichenfeld (stayed at Casa al Faro, May 2015)

"The lack of hordes of tourists and the wonderful surprise of the beautiful drive to Villa Romana - almost alpine landscape. We did not travel much - the villa was too wonderfully restful but Villa Romana was amazing and I would go again. We only had two meals out, but they were delicious and everyone so kind and welcoming. The best holiday we have ever had." Mrs Sally Browne (stayed at Azzura, April-May 2015)

"Wonderful scenery. The fish restaurant at Porto Palo was very good. We really enjoyed the holiday." Mr Alan Brooks (stayed at Acquamarina, April-May 2015)

"We just truly appreciated the apartment set on the harbour where you can get a pretty good taste of everyday life in a small non-touristy village. The other side with the terraces gave us great privacy and peace, the sea was wonderful. The authenticity of the house was fabulous!" Ms Anna Torfs (stayed at Casa alla Scala, April 2015)

"The food was very good. Ragusa was outstanding. The Greek temples at Agrigento are definitely worth seeing." Mr Lewis Culliver (stayed at La Riva, April 2015)

"Beautiful and varied landscapes, sunshine, amazing food, gelato and wine, lovely people, historic sights. We absolutely loved the property and especially the kitchen and terrace. Thank you so much!" Ms Angela Oglesby (stayed at Brezza di Mare, April 2015)

"It was our fourth visit but the beauty and diversity still continue to amaze me. Loved Cefalu. The anniversary gifts you provided were an unexpected surprise Our holiday was amazing, can't wait to go back." Mr Jeffrey Ganssle (stayed at Il Gabbiano, April 2015)

"Great oranges! Sicily was perfect for road cycling. Great history and quite understated. I would recommend the in-villa meal." Ms Sandy Guy (stayed at I Lentischi, April 2015)

"The baroque towns we visited in the South East were spectacular. Loved being in non-touristy areas. Scicli (no tourists, very authentic and lively place). Seeing a play in a Greek theatre in Siracuse is also something unique. Casa delle Sirene was a perfect setting for us - being literally on a private deserted beach couldn't be better... and a short drive from the most beautiful, spectacular baroque towns. Liked the fact that the region is not busy and crowded. We just didn't want to leave and want to come back ASAP!" Ms Johanna Reder (stayed at Casa delle Sirene, April 2015)

"The views, the people and the food." Mrs Margreet van der Zee (stayed at Acquamarina, April 2015)

"The privacy of villa and deserted beach." Dr Astrid Bonfield (stayed at Cinnamon, April 2015)

"The Villa was amazing, a week we will never forget. Everyone so friendly and helpful. I actually cried when we left. Sicily was pretty, food excellent no matter where we stopped. We all enjoyed the beauty and peacefulness of the villa. We had so many laughs, and enjoyed cooking in the kitchen with my cousins. Our grandparents are from Sicily so it was a really special trip. We pretty much enjoyed everything. I just can't tell you enough how wonderful planning this trip and spending the week there was." Mrs Maryanne Young (stayed at Baia dei Turchi, April 2015)

"The friendliness of the people. Ortigia and Benanti Vineyard." Mrs Deborah Paton (stayed at Ortigia, April 2015)

"The villa was lovely - very comfortable. The owners were lovely - very friendly and helpful. We enjoyed our holiday in Sicily immensely and hope to visit again soon. We loved the fact that we were the only tourists. Cefalu is a wonderful little town. The beaches were great and our last night in Palermo was interesting. We found Sicily more old fashioned than expected - which we loved!" Mrs Sarah Kinnoch (stayed at Casa Nuvola, April 2015)

"A beautiful country and everyone we came into contact with was very friendly even though non of us speak Italian. The views from the property were breathtaking and it was so peaceful. The ever changing mood and presence of Etna was an unexpected delight - even in the snow!" Mrs Christine Wordsworth (stayed at Pietra Nera, April 2015)

"The scale and the history was beyond expectations." Mr Nicholas Dale (stayed at Ortigia, March-April 2015)

"Congratulations on everything!!!" Mrs Marina Munoz (stayed at Azzura, April 2015)

"Acquamarina - the light, the colours, the atmosphere, the mood, the sounds - an unforgettable place that enchants our hearts with emotion." Dr Heinz Müller (stayed at Acquamarina, March-April 2015)

"'This is the best place in the world' said our 4-year old daughter when we arrived - it's like a magic combination of being on a boat with no sound but the waves, and being in the centre of the old town. We had a wonderful time, including a truly vast meal from our wonderful friendly cook on Tuesday. It was honestly wonderful and we hope to come back one day. Sicily was magically green at this time of year - we hit orange groves almost as soon as we left the airport! The oranges themselves were staggeringly sweet and juicy - orange and fennel salad with lashings of good olive oil as made by our cook is my new favourite. Although I have some Italian, it was a surprise and relief how many locals speak good English - it was very easy to manage what we needed locally. I could sit in the Piazza del Duomo in Cefalu all day - lovely views in every direction. It was a really wonderful holiday!" Mrs Helen Hardy (stayed at Brezza di Mare, March-April 2015)

"[Sicily] is just beautiful. We liked the simpler atmosphere and the delightful people. The sea food. Nowhere in the world have I had this fresh and tremendous sea food anywhere! The staff [of the villa] was just excellent. The views of the town and sea are just spectacular. We enjoyed very much having Chettina cleaning and Rosamaria and Santo preparing some meals. Santo was a real joy as waiter, very elegant, resourceful and accommodating and extremely funny." Dr Maribel Rodriguez-Torres (stayed at Crossing Together, March 2015)

"The location of the villa was truly beautiful. People were friendly and the topography was beautiful. We were travelling with a group of teens and they all had a great time too." Mr Frederick Wickham (stayed at Casa Nuvola, March-April 2015)

"The owner and housekeeper couldn't be more helpful and professional in their attempts to ensure we had a comfortable and enjoyable stay. Sicily grew on us! We felt the immediate area of our villa was very unspoilt and, as such, a little difficult at first to navigate around but, as we settled into the way of life there, we enjoyed it more and more. We particularly liked Scicli and the surrounding area. We could recommend the horse riding at Parco dei Cavalieri near Ispica. Even though they couldn't speak English, they helped to make our daughter's two rides memorable on the beach and through woods and hillsides." Lady Gill White (stayed at Casa dei Gabbiani, March-April 2015)

"Everything was perfect. The staff is phenomenal!!! Cannot wait to return some day!!! Excellent, Phenomenal and everyone had a fabulous time." Ms Dina Smith (stayed at Rocca delle Tre Contrade, March 2015)

"The Thinking Traveller is the best holiday company that we have ever used, you really looked after us from the moment I contacted you until the time we left, you really gave us an extra day by allowing us to stay until our late flight home." Mr Bruce Rankin (stayed at Ballata, March 2015)

"We were very happy with our week in the villa. It is a very relaxing and comfortable property and we would like to book it again. The gardens are truly beautiful and the pool is very well maintained. It is a wonderful environment for a family holiday. The villa and it's beautiful setting is exceptional, and we thoroughly enjoyed the grounds, views of Mount Etna and the gorgeous sunsets from the deck. Our experience was enhanced by Dorata and her outstanding personality and cooking. Her wonderful cooking made our holiday perfect. I think we enjoyed the beautiful views most and of course the wonderful food. Sicily has a bit of everything...history, views and great food. We particularly had a wonderful day at the Benati Winery. We were taken on the tour by the son and later in the day had the opportunity to meet and visit with the father, who gave us a tour of their family chapel. We have been on many wine tours, but this was one of the best. The whole day was unrushed and the cooking lesson was fun, informative and everything was delicious. We also enjoyed our day with Allessandro in Siracusa. Our lunch with her, also, was very memorable. We toured Taormina on our own and enjoyed this beautiful setting and city. Our holiday was truly memorable! I already have recommended Thinking Sicily to many friends." Mr and Mrs Rob and Cindy Hardin (stayed at Azzura, December 2014)

"The staff/owners at the villa really made the stay so enjoyable. They cooked some amazing meals for us and made us feel at home. They took such good care of us. Our family enjoyed the food and the warmth of the people. Sicily still feels like an undiscovered gem. Time seems to have stopped in Sicily and we're just glad we go to experience it before it gets overrun with tourists. We were a little worried about driving in Sicily but it turned out to be like driving in any big city. We didn't have any problems. We were surprised by how much produce is grown in Sicily. I think we assumed because a lot of the land is arid and dry that produce wouldn't flourish but we saw so many farms while driving through the country side. We visited Modica and did a cooking class with Katie Amore. She was amazing in her knowledge of culinary arts and food history. She answered all our cooking questions (which there were many since there was 13 of us). We also had a lovely birthday dinner at Il Consiglio di Sicilia in Donnalucata. The owners Roberta and Antonio were the best host and hostess. The food was delicious and you can tell they take pride in their food. Roberta was ready to answer any and all questions. We did a Mt. Etna tour with Etna Moving (a tour we booked on our own) and had the best time! We also did a wine tour of Planeta in Noto. The staff there was very knowledgeable and laid out the best lunch for us. We loved everything about our trip to Sicily!" Mr Mark Cira (stayed at Le Corti di Cannamara, September-October 2014)

"The experience at the villa was outstanding. Everything from the view to the condition of the villa surpassed our expectations. We highly recommend the Oriente. Everything was beautiful. We could not pick one experience above another. We were surprised by the topography. Cefalu, Taormina, Cinisi, Agrigento, Sienna, - you can spend a year and not see everything of interest. Did not have a bad meal. Food is spectacular! We loved every minute of every day!!!" Mr Thomas Insana (stayed at Oriente, October 2014)

"We spent ten wonderful days in Casa dei Gabbiani with our two little boys and our nanny. The setting is exceptional: The property is located directly by the sea and the local beach - which is perfectly sandy- is just a few-minute-walk from the villa. It felt like we had our own private beach! We loved Casa dei Gabbiani and its gardens. This is a villa where indoors and outdoors merge together: the garden is really part of the house, so is the outdoor pool and the sea. The use of glass roofs and shaded patios makes this house airy, light and creates intermediate spaces between the house and its gardens. The villa is well designed and executed, the owners thought about even the smallest details. The best materials were used throughout: lots of natural stone in the garden, wood and concrete floors in the house. There is a heated indoor Jacuzzi in the basement which we particularly enjoyed in the evenings. It's a very relaxing place, beautifully designed and detailed! There is a fantastic outdoor kitchen with a barbecue which beautifully works together with the indoor kitchen, both are very well equipped. The outdoor pool area is beautiful and tranquil, the olive garden is delightful. There is a large sandpit in the rear garden which our older son loved playing in. The owners even thought about providing little plastic toys for the sandpit! Very thoughtful! We were also well taken care of: On our arrival the Villa's owner, Donna Lucia, gave us a very warm welcome, and she was very kind and helpful all along. (Thank you!) Antonella, the maid, came every morning to clean the house. She brought and served delicious breakfast, and also did all our shopping! Since Antonella knows the best local bakeries, butchers and fishmongers we had the most amazing ingredients to eat and to cook with. We loved Casa dei Gabbiani and we highly recommend it to likeminded quality-conscious travellers!" Mrs Annamaria Tonwe (stayed at Casa dei Gabbiani, September-October 2014)

"Excellent service and very happy with the holiday we had and the help given by your team. I would recommend The Thinking Traveller in the future." Ms Leah McNiece (stayed at Profondo Blu, October 2014)

"The people, the food, the beautiful towns, the sea! I guess I was surprised that I could swim in the sea -even though it was mid October (when Piero took us out on his boat which was wonderful... and again just from the villa's . own private beach) The water felt warmish and fantastic!" Ms Fran Gallo (stayed at Villa Saracena, September-October 2014)

"The entire staff was excellent. Rosamaria was outstanding. Her meals were exceptional. Santo made our dinners so entertaining. His lack of the English language along with our lack of the Italian language created many evenings of laughter. Alfio created wonderful breakfasts every morning and even worked for us on his day off! Cettina did a great job and Guisseppe was very helpful. We loved everything!!! Our biggest thanks and appreciation to Thinking Traveller and to the entire staff at Crossing the Rock." Mr Jacob Kacsik (stayed at Crossing The Rock, October 2014)

"Sicily is paradise. The people are warm and friendly. The scenery is spectacular. Each town is unique and offers so much. The food is outstanding, from fine dining to little hole in the wall cafe's. The supermarket's in Castellammare and Scopello have everything you need and if you want to have a meal in the villa, they offer the finest, freshest foods. Our holiday was an amazing experience. I would recommend Think Sicily to anyone and everyone." Mrs Jill Miller (stayed at Cala Bianca, October 2014)

"As a company you are the best I have ever experienced." Mrs Meryl Harrison (stayed at Corte del Sole, August 2014)

"I just wanted to thank you for helping us organize our trip to Sicily. It was a great success and everyone enjoyed themselves immensely! The experience was once in a lifetime and Think Sicily really helped us make it happen." Ms Cira (stayed at Le Corti di Cannamara, September 2014)

"Loved it - will be back!" Ms Jo Taylor (stayed at Gioi, October 2014)

"We really enjoyed our experience at Brezza di Mare. The location took our breath away, it was amazing to look down from our balcony and see crystal clear water directly below. The location was also fabulous for walking to the beach and finding wonderful little restaurants to dine in. Cole was there to meet us and direct us to our villa, which went really smoothly, and apart from this we did not require any help from staff. We felt the value for our money was very good. We loved our holiday, it was the perfect choice for us - a great balance of fun interesting experiences and relaxation." Mrs Mary-Jean Butler (stayed at Brezza di Mare, October 2014)

"This villa was fabulous. We did less touring than we planned because we were so comfortable and happy to stay 'home', enjoying the lovely villa and the view. In St Alfio we enjoyed interfacing with the villa owner, Gaetano. Alfia and her brother prepared a great night of fabulous pizzas!" Ms Cherry Capik (stayed at Infinito, September-October 2014)

"I have Sicilian parents and have visited Sicily several times. So, my roots are there and nothing surprised me. Having said that, I loved the peace of Pietra Nera. Away from traffic noise and sirens! A truly restful holiday. The serenity was surreal and the double view amazing." Mrs Liliana Vinciullo (stayed at Pietra Nera, September-October 2014)

"This villa is a rare find. It is impeccable from top to bottom. The site is spectacular, the beaches are private and wonderful, the villa itself is equipped to make you feel at home and spoiled at the same time. From the linens to the table service to the patio furniture--this villa is beautifully equipped. I will never forget my stay here. Cefalu is a spectacular spot. The water is fabulous. The people are delightful. I am going on a limb here but I rate it higher than Taormina for sheer beauty and ease. Il Gabbiano is a stand-out experience. This was an utterly unique experience that will linger in my memory for a long time." Mr Richard Frey (stayed at Il Gabbiano, September 2014)

"We loved Il Cappero. The architecture and great room were fantastic, was well appointed. Pool was great. Luigi kept coming, bearing lemons, pomegranates, olive oil, tomato sauce and making us feel welcome. The food in the welcome basket was a nice touch. Thank you, thank you." Rachel Ben-Shmuel (stayed at Il Cappero, September 2014)

"This is the second year we booked the villa- that speaks for itself. We really love the amenities, the view is priceless, the closeness to the cable car is excellent. My friends also went swimming every day, and we loved the il barcaiolo restaurant just a few steps down from the villa. Tour buses are also available within walking distance." Ms Elfie Stamm (stayed at La Pergola, September 2014)

"The description of location and views was not an exaggeration. A really well designed building for outside living with very wide vista exploited well. Beautiful !!!!!" Dr Malcolm Roberts (stayed at Pizzo Castellaro, September 2014)

"It was an unforgettable experience. We all enjoyed it. The staff are attentive but not intrusive and catering for the special needs of the children beautifully. I'd rate it as one of the best holiday experiences I've ever had. It was so lovely to stay in such a beautiful Villa. The staff and food were excellent." Mr Andrew Grech (stayed at Don Arcangelo all'Olmo, September 2014)

"AMAZING!!!!" Ms Martha Lam (stayed at Il Palmento dei Castagni, September 2014)

"Stick to the knitting! You are an extraordinary professional company that really understands that it is in business because it has customers, and you really do try to understand what they want, what motivates them, and what will keep them coming back. You evidently know the places you operate in, and that can't be scaled easily." Mr Mark Helme (stayed at Villa Armerina, September 2014)

"We just loved the villa. It was very clean; kitchen was well stocked; the views were amazing; the sunset awesome; everything about it was perfect. We were surprised by the sheer ruggedness of the mountains. We did not expect the terrain to be so mountainous. Sicily was magical . . . Everything surprised us; it was so better than expected. We would not hesitate using your services again. Our trip to Sicily is still magical - can't get the feeling out of us. Thanks again for all the service you provided for us. If there were a "10," I would rate it that. We particularly enjoyed the villa itself, the shear surrounding, the Sicilian cuisine - we enjoyed everything." Mr John Redmond (stayed at Casa Nuvola, September 2014)

"We were new both to ‘Think Sicily’ as an organisation and to the Island as a destination, and from the very first contact the customer friendly approach of your team delivered to us one of our best ever holidays: We absolutely fell under the spell of Villa Cecilia: a cubist rendering of the Roman Villa by Italian architect Bertorelli, it is a very unique setting surrounded by the beautiful Nature Reserve of the Parc de la Madonie, looking out to the Aeolian Islands on the Northern Coast. Its deceptively simple layout made it for us the perfect holiday house (with three active, adventurous boys aged 8 to 13!), perfect for the geography and the climate. It was great to enjoy so easily the characterful beauty of the coastline between Cefalu and Capo de Orlando from the walk-around terrace of the house, sometimes following the shade around the house as the sun changed position. We thrived on a daily diet of Spectacular sunsets, wonderful Mediterranean landscape, vegetation and fauna, to surround our evening conversations after another delicious meal... Looking up and inland the charming nearby eagle’s nest town of Pollina (10 min by car) offered many memorable visions, being a perfect setting for fantasy plays by the boys, and delightful food at the restaurant overlooking the Roman open–air theatre. Last but not least, we felt truly ‘invisible’. Enjoying the fray of beach activities along the coast and able to retire to the solace and cool relaxation of the house at will, time had truly suspended its flight.. I hope I was able to convey how truly happy , refreshed, regenerated and charmed we all were from our holiday in this particular villa. The children all loved it, the friend who joined us with her son loved it. We look forward to visiting other parts of Sicily, but will definitely look to return to Villa Cecilia in the not too distant future" Mathilde Drescher-Taylor (stayed at Cecilia, September 2014)

"We enjoyed every minute of our holidays" Mrs Ewa Szymanski (stayed at La Pergola, September 2014)

"We are well travelled, but given this positive experience, we will definitely be looking at Puglia and would consider using you anywhere in the Med, if you had the same level of product and service." Mr Nigel Halkes (stayed at Al Plemmirio, September 2014)

"I have had the good fortune to travel to some of the world’s best hotels in my time so far. This was our first time dropping the hotel option and booking a villa, I must be honest and say that I really am not easily pleased. The entire trip from start to finish was fantastic. The service and general experience of using Think Sicily was awe inspiring. Until we stumbled across your website we had spent weeks trawling through villa websites, only to find that each one we liked had been taken already. It was a bit of a ploy just to get us in contact with the estate agents in Italy. The websites were difficult to use, the pictures often were not great and there was no service plus the costs of good villas were vast in comparison to your villas. When Sarah found your website, I refused to believe that any of your fantastic late deals were available and even bet her that it was a con. To be able to book these villa’s directly on your very customer friendly and brilliantly designed website was refreshing. This was only the start, to receive the villa/area bespoke book with full instructions and entertainment suggestions was a very nice touch. As was having the mobile number of a local person on call for any of our needs. The list goes on really and I find it hard to put into words how impressed we are with your company. Please get more locations under your belt. As for the villa. It was equally brilliant. We wanted seclusion, beautiful views, something rustic/old fashioned and a bit of luxury – that is exactly what we got. The villa itself is at the top of a private road, the only thing that you can hear is the cows and goat bells as they walk around in the surrounding fields. The views of the mountains were brilliant – the local villages (two) all had lovely people and absolutely no one spoke a word of English which made it feel that bit more special. The local butchers without doubt had the best meat we have ever eaten and the owners of the villa that met us upon arrival were equally charming." Richard Nehme (stayed at Principato, September 2014)

"We have just returned from our wonderful stay in Zeffiro. It exceeded our expectations by a wide margin. The welcome pack was more of a complete introduction to the wonders of the very best of Sicilian fare and kept us going for most of the week. The location is just too good to be true, right on the beach, wonderful views of the bay and of Selinunte. We loved going to bed with the sound of the waves lulling us to sleep. The villa is so well equipped and laid out with it's lovely terraces and gardens. Thank you for arranging the chair for Sylvia - it was just right for her. She managed very well on the holiday and even got in the sea a couple of times, made easier by the doors downstairs opening directly onto the beach. Please thank the owners for their generosity. We will be using you again - plans already formulating!!" Jo Dennis (stayed at Zeffiro, September 2014)

"Experiencing new adventures with our friends has added to our repertoire of great trips and memories to share." Mrs Diane Arrell (stayed at Casa Nuvola, September 2014)

"It was a great place, your villas are possibly the best that I've seen anywhere and we all agreed that it was probably the best villa holiday that we've had." Mrs Delyth Turner-Harriss (stayed at Le Chicas, August-September 2014)

"Sun, food, seafood, diving off the rocks, ice cream, peace on Archimedes roof terrace. Cooking with unusual ingredients. Coffee. Peace and the ability to relax." Dr Elizabeth Stokes (stayed at Archimede, September 2014)

"It is a beautiful villa in a lovely location in a beautiful area of Sicily. Rosa and her daughter were charming and looked after us superbly including cooking 3 amazing dinners. This is a beautiful area with great food restaurants beaches and wine! We did not hear an English voice the entire 2 weeks." Ms Amanda Aspinall (stayed at Oliva, September 2014)

"The property was perfect for us, the pool and outdoor areas were our favorite part. This was a perfect family holiday, relaxing, great weather and of course food. We had sunny days every day with the exception of one afternoon storm. Amazingly (even though it was summer) Etna was covered in snow! We really didn't like leaving... If only we booked two weeks,,,," Mrs Di Ritter (stayed at La Limonaia, September 2014)

"It is hard to say..everything was wonderful. The people are very friendly. The landscape amazing, not to mention the food and wine. We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Sicily. The villa, staff and driver were all wonderful. We will consider another trip to Sicily, and we look forward to working with Think Sicily again! We will refer your services to our friends. We did not want to return to the USA! We had a wonderful time and would recommend you services to our friends." Mr Robert B Orler (stayed at Villa Principe di Lumia, September 2014)

"Loved, loved, loved the food market in Ortegia and particularly enjoyed the lovely deli where Charlotte suggested we had lunch on our last day. We loved it all!" Ms Daryl Stevenson (stayed at Al Plemmirio, September 2014)

"I loved my holiday and thoroughly enjoyed it." Mr Lindsay Johnson (stayed at Le Sorbe, August-September 2014)

"As you know, we are back from Sicily almost a week now, and we cannot believe how much we loved Sicily and our Villa Pietra Nera. I have written to Poppy, and was remiss not to send you a line earlier as well!! We all fell in love with Sicily, and in particular, Pietra Nera was so perfect!!!! We cannot believe the incredible 360 degree views from the house…..and we woke up every morning very happy to be exactly where we were. The house was perfect……a little rustic, super chic, very country Italian. And we loved Dina so much! She was so wonderful to us….always smiling and cheerful…..and was such a hard worker. She never stopped. She even went to the store to pick some things up for us one morning…..as we were out of milk and eggs and something like that. What a doll she is. Please tell her we love her very much!!!! We had the most amazing days…..and relaxed at night at the Villa. It was definitely a bit hard to find, up that winding road…..but we loved that isolation…..and we knew that the local villages were only 10 minutes away…..and that we could get on to the Autostrada within 15 minutes! We went to Mt. Etna, Gambino Winery, Syracusa, Ortigia, Taormina, and of course some local villages near the Villa. We also spent an entire day on the sea in a wonderful boat, which I booked separately through the Internet. We had the most INCREDIBLE day at sea, spent all day swimming and relaxing…..and the boat was awesome as was the Captain. I had booked this excursion through Portum, Ltd……and if you are interested in adding another vendor to your boat excursion list, I highly recommend Portum. They gave me a slightly better price than you offered, and the boat, captain, and service was amazing. The best day of the trip!!!!! The boat was hot! (As was the young Captain….hahahaha…..). You were most wonderful in my pre planning preparation……and you were one of the reasons this trip was such a success for us!!! My friends thought I was a genius for planning such a wonderful trip in a wonderful place…..but it was really you and Poppy who were the smart ones! Poppy really steered us into the right Villa….and you helped us prepare for the best week ever!!!!! No request was too big or too small for you and you filled all of my requests with a smile! Charlotte even hand delivered the Yoga Mats to us on our arrival day. That’s what I call service!!!!!! Thanks so much, again, Barbara…..and I hope to work with you and Poppy again. Hopefully next year……fingers crossed. I love the Thinking Traveller…..and I will tell all of my friends about your wonderful agency." Carol Richman (stayed at Pietra Nera, September 2014)

"What an amazing villa- and location. The size- I thought it was a small island. The history and the variety of historical places to visit. The food....simply fantastic." Mr David Miller (stayed at Lilli, May 2014)

"Perfect in every way possible. So many special touches, the owners delightful. We went as an extra special holiday and it certainly was. Friendliness of the locals, especially in the area we stayed. Everything was wonderful, thank you everyone." Miss Susan Watt (stayed at Giara, August-September 2014)

"Really friendly locals, who were very tolerant and helpful despite our lack of Italian. Really good cheap and authentic meals. Ice cream, granitas, arancini, tomatoes, figs (fresh from the villa's own tree...........wonderful!! we liked the villa so much so did not venture too far afield..........but we preferred small and local. Good local food shops, pizzeria etc and lovely pace of life. We loved by contrast Castelbuono. Beautiful and peaceful. Mount Etna on a tour was stunning. Great experience. In particular we enjoyed the feeling that we were independent visitors rather than part of the tourist hordes. The layout of the website really helped us choose a villa that fitted in with that ideal." Mr Michael Lambert (stayed at Buzza Alta, August-September 2014)

"The photographs on your website cannot do justice to the most magnificent setting and the 360 degree views. The setting, location, and views of the Villa exceeded my expectations!!!!! What we enjoyed most was the Villa itself.....the views, views, and more views. It was so special to have this beautiful Villa as our home for the week. We also enjoyed our excursions to the most wonderful places, and the ease at which we were able to travel to our various destinations was actually a pleasant surprise.We all enjoyed this Holiday so much that I am already thinking of what/where we want to go next year. This was the most wonderful holiday we've had.....and that includes a Honeymoon 20 years ago on the Amalfi Coast!! We loved this so much!!!!!" Ms Carol Richman (stayed at Pietra Nera, August-September 2014)

"Infinito and Enzo and Simone cooking delicious meals for us." Mrs Fran Morris (stayed at Infinito, August 2014)

"The kindness of the local people and the wonderful food and wine. Had a great holiday overall and planning next one." Mrs Jane Staveley (stayed at Casale Castelluzzo, June 2014)

"We enjoyed everything honestly. the scenery was amazing and the scale of mount Etna was breathtaking." Mr Gaby Charbachy (stayed at Badia, August 2014)

"The most wonderful experience was that we enjoyed our trip with the Thinking Traveller from beginning to end, nothing in particular :)" Mag Marie Harmer (stayed at Archimede, August 2014)

"The villa! The food! The pool!" Mrs Lucinda Leathes (stayed at Lilli, August 2014)

"We had a fantastic time, weather beautiful and scenery lovely. Loved the villa, especially the view!" Mrs Karen Casson (stayed at Pizzo Castellaro, August 2014)

"A charming romantic island. Depending on where you are staying visits are really worthwhile. We loved Casa di Pietra - offered us exactly what we were looking for and most of all loved Marika and her family who treated us like family. I hope that you will pass on to her our thanks for making our stay so special. Marika was our guide and sent us to fabulous beaches and the surrounding towns of Ragusa Ibla, Modica and Scicli - all beautiful." Mrs Emma Green (stayed at Casa di Pietra, August 2014)

"Well having an erupting volcano was pretty surprising and was mesmerising! The people were kind and eager to be helpful. Villa Badia is a treasure trove of history and very special. Excellent value for money - we have paid a lot more for a lot less before! Thank you so much." Miss Rowena Miller (stayed at Badia, August 2014)

"The people, scenery, weather, food. Everything. The owners being on site on arrival was wonderful and greeted us to a home prepared meal and wine. Again another added touch. The rustic feel, beautiful gardens and antiques made us feel like we were staying in a home rather than a rental property." Mr Mark Nightingale (stayed at Casale Castelluzzo, August 2014)

"It was a lovely villa and pool and close to the beautiful city of Scicli which was brilliant to visit at night and eat there . Also close to the beach at Sampieri. Scicli was an astonishingly beautiful city, rich in history, architecture and culture. Everybody was extremely friendly and helpful particularly as we can't speak any Italian- but have joined an Italian class on returning home! We were surprised by how much we wanted to return. We enjoyed everything and cannot think of any improvements! I can't think of anywhere! We really liked not having to stay in a hotel and all that that entails. We will definitely be booking with you again next year as we trust your judgement regarding the villa and area implicitly !" Mr Gary Marshall (stayed at Le Corti di Cannamara, August 2014)

"We loved the baskets of fresh figs which the gardener delivered to us during the week. Driving along the coast line. Erice is a beautiful town, great for wandering around and getting lost. The beautiful landscape; being so close to the sea. The sun, food and wine." Mrs Karen Foley (stayed at Casale Castelluzzo, August 2014)

"We were extremely satisfied with the villa and especially the caretaker service. The main villa is very big and we felt that we all had our own space. Having two independent apartments within the villa was advantageous as each family had their own privacy while being able to enjoy each other's company eg at mealtimes. It was a real treat to have our washing done and returned so efficiently." Mrs Barbara Doherty Hrabovska (stayed at La Rosa dei Venti, July-August 2014)

"The whole staff couldn't have been better. The food was fabulous and the service was great too. the fresh out of the oven cake in the morning for breakfast!!" Mr Joseph Volpe (stayed at Rocca delle Tre Contrade, July 2014)

"The villa was beautiful and surrounded by lovely countryside. Luigi was lovely and left some fantastic food for us the first night. It was very gratefully received as was the beer and wine! Thank you Luigi for the fresh tomatoes and figs and for buying floats for the children. It was much appreciated." Mrs Kate McLean (stayed at Il Cappero, July-August 2014)

"The rich cultural diversity of the Island together with the helpfulness of the locals. My son especially enjoyed discovering cannoli." Mrs Anna Lozinska-Brown (stayed at Profondo Blu, July-August 2014)

"This was the best villa we have rented. We loved it. We didn't use a cook this time, and the maid was great. The owner is absolutely wonderful, he was extremely helpful and friendly. After all these years in Sicily nothing surprises us anymore, for the good! We mostly value the house, the beach, and the closest town to the house. This might have been our best holiday in Sicily. The house was the most important part, and Noto is like home now. I think you should add Palazzolo Acreide in the visiting tours, and the restaurant Da Andrea there is wonderful." Mrs Simona Stevens (stayed at Cubo al Mare, July-August 2014)

"We had the most fabulous fortnight at Casa Carcicera. Lucia was a fabulous caretaker and was extremely welcoming. She and her sister cooked two delicious meals for us and could not have been more helpful answering all our questions regarding the surrounding area. We will definitely return! We thoroughly enjoyed our villa and the fantastic pool. The beaches on the south coast were beautiful and the lidos provided good food and facilities. We were surprised what good value the supermarkets were." Mrs Louise Kitchen (stayed at Casa Carcicera, August 2014)

"Very friendly people, great weather, fantastic location, very diversified countryside. would have loved to have stayed longer." Mr Richard Fernandes (stayed at Gli Ulivi, August 2014)

"Excellent food, fabulous ice creams and very hospitable and friendly people wherever we went." Mr Richard Pettifor (stayed at Cecilia, August 2014)

"This villa was outstanding. The rooms were bright and flowed so well. We loved all the different outside areas. The outside was as much a part of the villa as inside. Staphania was really great. We had decided to have a food shop waiting for us and she cooked our first two meals. The food she bought was fresh and great quality and the meals were wonderful, as good as any restaurant. We loved every minute. During our stay we had the beach at the bottom of the garden to ourselves every day." Mrs Yvonne Bennett (stayed at Buzza Alta, August 2014)

"Our villa was faultless and even better than expected - despite all the amazing reviews we had read it still surpassed expectations. The pool and garden at the villa! It was so hot and having that oasis of calm was just heavenly. It was absolutely brilliant - we can't wait for our next villa holiday." Mrs Annabel Davidson (stayed at Villa San Tommaso, August 2014)

"This Villa was exceptional, the stay was unbelievable. So private, even though a couple of homes around which we enjoyed having in the background. Lovely little town, very safe. We loved the history, food, wine, shopping. Most of all enjoyed their relaxed way of life." Mr Andrew Tramonte (stayed at Ballata, July 2014)

"The owner Benedetto was very generous, helpful and charming. We immediately felt at home in his beautiful place and enjoyed every inch of it! Every morning we were stunned by the beautiful view of the sea and Etna (should really be mentioned on the site)! We were absolutely fascinated to see so many different historical and cultural sites concentrated on this island. The people, the food and very versatile nature are one of a kind! We're coming again!!! We hope that says it all!" Frau Sasha Foster (stayed at Estiva, July 2014)

"Sicily was a real pleasant surprise. The nature, friendly people, excellent wine and food and not expensive at all." Mr Anselm Van den Auwelant (stayed at Acquamarina, July-August 2014)

"The cooks (Giovanni and Rosa) were remarkable. We had such a wonderful, friendly and enjoyable time while they looked after us. I would recommend them highly. Although their English was non-existent and my Italian stretches to about 10 words we had a great time. They recommended places for us to visit and cooked marvelous food. They cleaned up afterwards and left the place spotless. It made a real difference to our holiday. When we were left both my family and Rosa & Giovanni were sad to say goodbye - always a good sign." Mr Sean Davies (stayed at Adagio, July-August 2014)

"Wonderful place, company and food." Mr Alex Lejeune (stayed at Baia dei Turchi, July-August 2014)

"The outstanding monuments, art, architecture and the wonderful food." Ms Joanne Simpson (stayed at Cinnamon, July-August 2014)

"Owner very welcoming, welcome pack above and beyond anything we'd ever had before in other villa companies. We had a small issue with drainage in the summer house in Egesta, which was dealt with in a quick, friendly manner, pool was exceptional, as were views and grounds, with fruit trees laden with fruit. great place to escape from the hassles of modern day life. The friendliness of the people, the scorching sun and delicious (and reasonably priced) food. In particular our daughters adored the real Italian ice cream and my goodness the seafood was wonderful!" Mrs Sam Cope (stayed at Egesta, July 2014)

"Wonderful experience at the villa. The owners were SO amazing, kind and helpful. All in all, we had a great time and really fell in love with the area! The fruit, bread, cheese, etc. waiting for is on arrival was just wonderful! The Think Sicily staff were great and villa owners are wonderful folks!" Mrs Allison Brant (stayed at La Pergola, July 2014)

"The natural beauty of the countryside & coastline is breathtaking & the architecture in the towns & cities is amazing, making Sicily one of the most picturesque places ever to visit. The Sicilian people were warm, friendly & welcoming & nothing was ever too much trouble. The food, wines & lemoncello added to the experience to make this our best holiday so far.Sicily was a dream holiday destination which I would recommend to anyone wanting a holiday with that something extra special, regardless of it being a for a family or break for two Our villa stay was the middle part of our Sicilian holiday & the best with its beautiful surroundings, house & pool. We are already discussing our return visit to a different part of the island, but there was still so much to see & do on the east coast that we ran out of time. Overall we had a fantastic Sicilian experience." Miss Treena McWilliams (stayed at Villa Armerina, July 2014)

"This has to be one of the most attractive and well set up rental properties I have ever hired." Ms Amanda Wedgwood (stayed at Ortigia, July 2014)

"The staff and grounds of carcicera are fantastic. Great people and great property. We love sicily and we adore Think Sicily." Ms Rebecca Messina (stayed at Casa Carcicera, July 2014)

"It was really fantastic. The attention to detail inside the house was above our expectations - and the bedrooms were significantly more comfortable than in many villas I have been to. The maid Maria was fantastic and I would encourage people to get her more and the cook - Beatrice was really wonderful - above our expectations and good value. Simon and Martin were incredibly helpful and extremely discreet. How wonderful it was! I think it is good that you stick to what you really know." Mrs Helen James (stayed at L'Eclisse, July 2014)

"We loved it! the views, location were fantastic. We enjoyed the beach, the food and especially the people!" Mrs Roxane Angotta (stayed at Oriente, July 2014)

"We loved it and will probably be going back there. Early morning sunshine overlooking the sea. Closeness to shops and bars. The freshness and quality of the food and the friendliness of the people." Mr Richard Furlongbrown (stayed at Archimede, July 2014)

"The villa was of a high standard, very clean and well appointed. The owner was friendly and helpful but not obtrusive. We had a great time! relaxed and good value. " Mrs Jane Van Aken (stayed at Casa di Pietra, July 2014)

"Absolutely wonderful villa that suited our needs - wonderful location - and with proximity to nearby towns and restaurants - could not be better." Ms Robyn Norton (stayed at I Lentischi, July 2014)

"Perfect holiday location. Fascinating island with something for everyone. We were a party with ages ranging from 4 to 68 and we all had a fantastic time. we did a little bit of adventuring but were equally happy enjoying the villa and its surroundings." Mrs Caroline Scott-Gall (stayed at Azzura, July 2014)

"Fascinating and wished we had been there longer. Hopefully next time." Ms Patricia Salas (stayed at La Corte, July 2014)

"With so many people to look after it was lovely to have a fully staffed villa and the cook Daniella and Davide could not have been helpful and accommodating. we did especially love La Favorita, with its at times quirky but beguiling elegance, a true oasis in an otherwise perhaps not as breathtakingly beautiful part of Sicily as some others." Mrs Geraldine Thomas (stayed at La Favorita, July 2014)

"We loved the villa - a perfect lay out for our extended family of different ages. Marika and her husband were very friendly and helpful and Marika is an excellent cook! We loved our time in the villa - the environment was beautiful and the outside kitchen and big table was a great focal point where we could all meet for breakfast, lunch etc. Lovely pool and plenty of comfortable sun loungers. Also plenty of attractive shady spots. The rooms were really cool - all the teenagers loved having there own space and ensuite showers, many outside. Beautiful." Mrs Sara Nevrkla (stayed at Casa di Pietra, July 2014)

"Thank you - this was a superb holiday and we'd do it again. Altea, (less isolated than anticipated = good) Food, Da Vittorio, beach at Da Vittorio, epic landscapes, variety in landscape." Mrs Julia Slocombe (stayed at Altea, July 2014)

"I took 9 people to Badia that hadn't been there before and they all loved it and want to go back next year. The only times that we left the villa were to go shopping. Otherwise, everyone was perfectly happy to stay at home enjoying the place." Mrs Sally Pyke (stayed at Badia, July 2014)

"Loved the villa, views are amazing. Everything! food, wine, lovely historical buildings. Cefalu was a delight. Sea is crystal clear, people were great, nice that we had to make an effort with the language as not too touristy." Mrs Sally Pyke (stayed at Casa Nuvola, July 2014)

"The goats. The cheese. The breeze." Catherine Villiger (stayed at Egesta, July 2014)

"We expected good food, warm weather, plentiful historical ruins and a beautiful ocean. We did not realize just how physically beautiful Sicily is. Further, although not cheap to get to from the US, it is much less expensive then many parts of Europe once you are there. Finally, even though we were there in the middle of July, it never seemed crowded to us. Sicily greatly exceeded our expectations." Peter Charvat (stayed at Le Sorbe, July 2014)

"Everything! food,wine,lovely historical buildings. Cefalu was a delight. Sea is crystal clear,people were great,nice that we had to make an effort with the language as not too touristy." Sally Pyke (stayed at Casa Nuvola, July 2014)

"Ideal combination of amazing sea/beaches, sublime food, extensive history/culture (Noto, Ortigia, Ragusa, Modica...) and fantastic weather. The perfect destination." Emilioano Ragnini (stayed at Clementina, July 2014)

"Etna erupting! The wine tour was so much better than any wine tasting we have done previously, and the wine was a very high standard." Stacey Curran (stayed at Pietra Nera, June-July 2014)

"(i) The scenery; (ii) The scenery." Francis Charig (stayed at Casa de Arena, June-July 2014)

"The beautiful scenery and the prices of food are very reasonable. Quality of produce and meat was great." Charles Best (stayed at Egesta, June 2014)

"We visited last year, so we know the area pretty well now. We were again surprised by the warmth and friendliness of everyone we met: in several restaurants people actually remembered us from last year." John Vater (stayed at Casa delle Sirene, June-July 2014)

"We found Cefalu a wonderful town with lovely streets to wander around, super restaurants to lunch in and a great beach with the choice of sun beds or places to just put your towel down and enjoy. The hill towns such as Castell Buono are wonderful to walk around and just sit in the evening in the square and get the feel of local life." Jennifer Wells (stayed at Pizzo Castellaro, June-July 2014)

"The villa was lovely especially having our own pool and beach! The weather was perfect, so hot!" Hannah Russell (stayed at Buzza Alta, June-July 2014)

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What our clients most enjoyed about Puglia

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There's so much to see and do in Puglia, whether you are a beach fanatic or a culture vulture! Take a look at our definitive on-line guide to Puglia or download a copy of our App guide, "A Portrait of Puglia" available free for iPhone and iPad from iTunes.

Here's what our clients most appreciated:  

"The whole area was wonderful. I'd recommend the whole trip..." Ms Kathy Koo (stayed at Trullo Pinnacolo, May 2015)

"Very peaceful." Mrs and Mr Lucia and Frank Santoro (stayed at I Trulli delle Sette Sorelle, May 2015)

"Accommodations and particularly terrace and views. The staff, courteous and very helpful." Miss Ann Jervis (stayed at Scale Nove, April-May 2015)

"The weather, food, wine and beaches. Ease of driving was probably a bit of a surprise. We just felt like the whole experience was top quality from start to finish. We would definitely book through The Thinking Traveller again. We truly loved everything and did not want to come home." Mr Micah Hurt (stayed at Villa Specchia, April 2015)

"The wine was incredibly good. Generally I enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and quality of the food. Oria was beautiful and the recommended restaurant in your guide there is lovely. We had a wonderful Sunday in Lecce on Tamara's recommendation. Campomarino is a lovely beach and great for kids. La Siesta in Sava has good pizza - Angelica and our cook Isabella recommended it." Mrs Zoe Blanc (stayed at Mia, October-November 2014)

"We loved the total Puglia experience because it was different from any other Italy experience we have had. We have rented at least 7 other times in Italy and Europe and your company was by far the best and most professional. The Puglian experience was special and better than I ever imagined." Mr Frank Guzzetta (stayed at Palazzo Colucci, October 2014)

"So just a quick note to inform future clients of Masseria Lamacoppa of the wonderful week we experienced last year…..everything was as we hoped…..a beautiful location, willing and hospitable staff, and recommended in particular, Luigi, the chef. His cooking was absolutely superb, and whether there were ten or thirty of us, he was always there with a smile. Although a long distance from the main house, the swimming pool is spectacular, and as we were in Puglia for a party, provided an alternative location for many fun times. Should we need a villa of that size in Puglia in the future, we shall, of course, re-book Masseria Lamacoppa without hesitation." Lee Myers (stayed at Masseria Lamacoppa, September 2014)

"We loved the Masseria Curti Vecchi, which is a beautiful villa in which to stay. All the bedrooms are beautifully planned, decorated and furnished. The swimming pool was amazing and the garden was beautifully laid out, with its different shaded areas and plants. Also the guardian and ladies who came in each day were friendly, charming and really helpful, as well as being wonderful cooks . We could not have stayed in a lovelier house or felt more comfortable and "away from it all"." (stay at Masseria Curti Vecchi, September 2014)

"The quality of the villas were very good and the owners respected our privacy and we had a truly relaxing holiday, any issues were dealt with very speedily." Mr Colm Gaynor (stayed at Villa Blanca, September 2014)

"Likely the best villa we have stayed in! The standard is really high and literally everything (and more) that you could need was present. The interiors are great - the kitchen is amazing and the sitting and dining areas, both inside and out, are thoughtfully done and flexible. The setting is lovely and the grounds are amazing. The latter conclusion comes from a toddler and two generations of adults equally. So many areas to sit and relax, shaded and in the sun, a fire pit which we used and loved for the September evenings and really nice views. Mauro the owner how we met, and his wife, who we texted, were brilliant. Small issues were fixed really quickly and we were recommended plenty of places to visit too. Really caring owners and the welcome and farewell food gifts were outstanding and thoughtful. The local ladies who cooked us two meals were brilliant, as were the meals too and the villa was kept in a perfect state. This villa is just perfect for a family stay - the cot and high chair were high standard too!!" Ms Julia Dickenson (stayed at Trullo Rosmarino, September 2014)

"It exceeded our expectations. Everything was just as it was portrayed in the brochure. No bait and switch here." Mr Joseph Rosio (stayed at Scale Nove, September 2014)

"We stayed in Trullo Rosmarino villa for a week with our family and friends. it was a wonderful experience from start to finish. Even Alitalia lost our luggage and there was a strike on the day we left ,we still felt very much relaxed during our stay. Mauro (the owner of the villa) and his wife Valentina are wonderful hosts and tried to make our stay comfortable and enjoyable. They were constantly in touch regarding any question. The property itself beautifully decorated throughout with a kitchen big enough to entertain 10 guests. The property is child friendly with plenty of space for a baby. The grounds are stunning with fruit trees and even there own vegetable plot. Pool is deep and extremely clean with innovative cleaning system. I would definitely recommend to ask for extra services such as cleaning and cooking as it makes your life so much easier. The proximity to the beach and to the little towns such as Martina franca and Ostuni make this property accessible from any point. I can’t recommend this property enough!" Olga Popova (stayed at Trullo Rosmarino, August 2014)

"It was immaculate clean, beautiful and comfortable. It had everything we need it to make our stay perfect. Highly recommend !!!! The little towns are beautiful. Great, natural food, decent prizes and some nice beaches. We are very happy with our holiday and we have already recommend it to our family and friends." Mrs María Murillo (stayed at Lamia Bianca, August 2014)

"Most enjoyed the food, wine and sunshine! All very enjoyable; no Puglia is enough for us!" Ms Frances Holliday (stayed at Casina Elia, August 2014)

"The Villa! Vittoria was incredible. She's sweet, unobtrusive and incredibly hard working. The holiday of a lifetime, the kids are already clamouring to go back." Ms Felicity Blunt (stayed at Villa Blanca, August 2014)

"The Villa was lovely and we really enjoyed ourselves. Wine delivery was excellent and the wines were of good quality. Appreciated the fact that there were screens on all windows and doors. I loved the fact it wasn't overly touristy and you felt like you were experiencing real Italy." Mrs Tara Heron (stayed at Trullo Selva, August 2014)

"Not knowing what to expect, it was all a very pleasant surprise. Just being at the villa was great and the beautiful towns nearby. The lack of tourists was a real bonus. Enjoyed it all." Ms Patricia Armstrong (stayed at Villa Elia, June-July 2014)

"The cooks and home staff were AMAZING! We highly recommend the house on this alone. it was really beautiful but with a pool and an inviting home, it was harder to tear ourselves away than I might have liked. The food was great." Ms Jennifer Doebler (stayed at Trullo Gaura, July 2014)

"We enjoyed 100% - we have nothing to add. We became part of the local life - what is really simple and amazing in Puglia!" Mr Simon Osterwalder (stayed at Bosco degli Ulivi, July-August 2014)

"The apartment is beautifully situated amidst the old town with wonderful views from the enormous roof terrace, while out of the front door of the property takes you into old school Italy, a wondrous combination. For those not wishing with the bother of driving and parking the venue is perfect. The combination of information on the properties ahead of booking, experience and helpful staff and great properties underlines the old adage that you get what you pay for in life." Mr Jeremy Stretch (stayed at Scale Nove, July-August 2014)

"We loved the authentic quality of the region. As of yet unspoiled by commercial tourism. From Lecce to the local gas station in Valle d'Itria, people were friendly and accommodating. I was surprised by how many people spoke English. Pugliese food and wine are the best in Italy! We loved it all." Ms Rose Vespa (stayed at Ai Trulli, July-August 2014)

"The property was in perfect condition. We had the opportunity to meet the owners on our last day there, a wonderful couple. The villa was decorated with great taste. Entertainment (videos, music) available in the house was awesome. It was such a great place that we didn't feel like going out! The summer weather was beautiful. Nature, the natural environment is beautiful. The little towns and their squares were great. People were very nice in general. We would be happy to do it again in the future, perhaps with some friends next time. It was truly a wonderful experience. We had a great time in the villa. The only problem was that it was so nice to stay in the villa that we didn't feel like going out. We found we spent more and more time at the villa as days went by." Ms Carla Cullati (stayed at Trullo Terra Dolce, July 2014)

"Quiet countryside, friendly people, not overwhelmingly touristic (yet)" Mr Jan Grobben (stayed at Trulli della Mirandola, July 2014)

"The Palazzo Guarini was the star and we spent many happy hours in its peaceful surroundings.Also its proximity to the village shops etc. in Scorrano for our breakfast buns was ideal. It was the best ever! The villa provided the perfect place for 3 generations to be together or ,at times, separate." Mr Philip Spencer (stayed at Palazzo Ducale Guarini, July 2014)

"I truly enjoyed visiting Puglia. Although I had travelled in Italy several times I had not been to this area. It was lovely.....and so was the wine!I really did enjoy the peace and quiet of the villa surrounding. At this time in my life it was perfect. I always like to be a bit closer to a town so I can walk to get groceries etc. but Fasano was very close and accessible by car. " Ms Carolyn Gray (stayed at Lamia Bianca, June-July 2014)

"What a unique property that has been maintained with such great care and attention to details. We could not get over how many pots and decorative water spigots there were on the property. The pool was amazing and the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables growing on the property also amazing. Maria was wonderful. Privacy was great. We enjoyed the house, the scenery, the people, and the food." Ms Megan Donnelly (stayed at Masseria Moscala, June-July 2014)

"This villa was exceptional. We especially appreciated the zoned bedrooms which allowed privacy between the guests. Beautiful cities to explore and great beaches. The people were really polite and helpful and the food was great. My husband was also able to kitesurf. I am glad that we paid a premium for the services. I had a much cheaper option to book directly with owners on alternate properties, but it was great to have people nearby to answer questions and be there is a problem arose." Ms Lucienne Agius (stayed at Bosco degli Ulivi, June-July 2014)

"The towns were lovely, all had interesting centro storicos and were surprisingly easy to access and park. The property was fantastic and very restful." Mr William Todman (stayed at Trullo Cutetto, June-July 2014)

"Was our first visit to Puglia. We thoroughly enjoyed, particularly the contrast after spending 2 weeks on the Amalfi coast. Was far less "touristy" and less crowded and good value for money. We particularly enjoyed the food and the ability to be able to drive to a different town each day within 20-30 minutes, all with interesting historical centres. The highway network made this relatively easy. We also like the fact that beaches, with clear, clean water and good beach clubs were close to the villa." Andrea Hay (stayed at Trullo del Sale, June 2014)

"We had the in villa Cook and that was a really fantastic dinner, would really recommend it." Thomas Petersen (stayed at Gli Ulivi, July 2014)

"The beauty of the surroundings, the delicious food and the lack of foreign travelers." Marco and Susan Zarbin (stayed at Lo Scoglio, June-July 2014)

"Beautiful cities to explore and great beaches. The people were really polite and helpful and the food was great. My husband was also able to kitesurf." Lucienne Agius (stayed at Bosco degli Ulivi, June-July 2014)

"Castro..marina and upper village....non-touristy! world cup under the stars with local folks!" Jeff Ives (stayed at Il Gelso, June 2014)

"Gastronomy experience. Very friendly people." Christopher Claridge (stayed at Trullo Selva, June 2014)

"That is was not too touristy, that it was so very charming, access to cute towns like Lecce and Cisternino...the trulli and landscape were wonderful and unique." Janet Shaw (stayed at Trullo Rosmarino, June 2014)

"We have traveled quite a lot in Italy and came to just enjoy the rural Puglia. Wild beaches, small mountain villages, olive groves, and of course, cuisine." Siret Zirk (stayed at Tenuta ai Fichi, June 2014)

"We loved how unspoilt it was and how few people spoke English, Lecce was a complete surprise and we will definitely return." Vivienne Findlay (stayed at Villa San Vincenzo, June 2014)

"Visiting the nearby towns, the great food and wine." Hannah Levy (stayed at Masseria Cisterna Rossa, May-June 2014)

"As we know Puglia for many years, just the beautiful villa was a real surprise! A wonderful place!" Manfred Rechberger (stayed at Villa Elia, June 2014)

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What our clients most enjoyed about The Ionian Islands

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We love the Ionian Islands for their unspoilt beauty, glorious sandy beaches, charming villages and friendly locals. Don't take our word for it, however!

Here's what our clients most appreciated:

"Beautiful villa in a gorgeous location, it is obvious that the owner takes an active interest in the property and ensures that it is impeccably maintained. It was very relaxing, which is what we were hoping for." Mrs Glenda Shirbin (stayed at Althea, May 2015)

"Great holiday and great experience booking through The Thinking Traveller. Stunning view and setting. Nice mix of traditional/contemporary. Pool lovely and clean every day. Hiring a boat and spending time cruising to beaches/tavernas etc...a great way to travel! Lovely views - very green and lush." Mr David Forsdyke (stayed at Jasmine, May 2015)

"The villa, the boat, the beaches, the views......It was all unbeatable. A truly wonderful family holiday." Mr Uves Wood (stayed at Iremia, August 2014)

"It was magical. Our best experience with a rental. It was the best sited and private of every place we've been. Comfortably furnished, bright and spotless. It was the kind of place you would be proud to own and we don't say that lightly. Every corner was a surprise. The whole exceeded the sum of the parts -- water color, sunsets, stars at night, walking through clouds on mountain tops, the quiet, comfort of house, grilling fish bought from fisherman at docks . I could go on. We wanted to cast a giant net around the island and drag it home with us." Mr Paul Jacobs (stayed at Althea, September 2014)

"Excellent villa, clean, comfortable, 'away from it all', amazing views, friendly and welcoming staff - perfect! It surprised me that it could rain in the Ionian islands but it didn't last and we were sunbathing again in perfect sunshine before long, even at the end of September!! Driving and the process of collecting the car was much easier than I thought it would be. Porto Katsiki beach was beautiful beautiful anyway but great in the morning before 'the rush' (it felt undiscovered and like it was all ours!) Agios Nikitas was perfect for a meal by the sea. Great seafood in Sapfo. A drive to the lighthouse was rewarded with amazing views and Lefkada town was great for shopping (mainly for food to have on the BBQ at the Villa!) Can't wait to go again and discover more! We got engaged on this holiday. It was the perfect holiday on which to do it. I wouldn't change a thing. Having used TTT just the once I can safely say I would use them again where ever in the world they go. Brilliant holiday, thank you." Mr Tim Curteis (stayed at Helena, September 2014)

"Christina (the owner) could not be more helpful or attentive but only when required. She is like a wraith, cleaning and making sure everything is perfect without disturbing anyone in residence. Any minor issues, however small, are sorted out immediately." Mrs Pauline Millington (stayed at Melina, September 2014)

"Oh no please don't give us any more choices! We are still trying to work our way through the existing brochure. We really like the fact that you go to places that are a bit away from the normal tourist hotspots." Mr Mark Sadler (stayed at Althea, September 2014)

"Unspoilt beauty of the islands. Ease with which we reached our destination. Friendly locals. Wonderful villa." Mrs Lindy Ambrose (stayed at Akrothea, August-September 2014)

"We absolutely loved the house and the position. The house was fantastic with incredible views." Ms Nicki Evans (stayed at Penio, August-September 2014)

"We simply enjoyed everything about the villa and the local area! The friendly people, stunning views, good food and the cost of items in supermarkets and eating out were low in comparison to better known islands. Loved it!" Ms Karen Hopson (stayed at Pikermi, August-September 2014)

"We particularly enjoyed the support and friendliness of the villa's owner (Yannis Arvanitakis) who was always ready to help and provide inside knowledge of the island of Antipaxos and bring fresh bread (whatever the weather!). He was the perfect host and made the difference between the holiday being simply very good and being excellent!" Mr Roy Murray (stayed at Iremia, August-September 2014)

"We love the peace and quiet and friendliness of Meganissi. Where else can you eat calamari practically sitting in the sea. Restaurant Erikos in Vathi for the evenings. Fun to see all the boats and last year we found ourselves sitting next to Giorgio Armani !!!!" Mrs Marilyn German-Ribon (stayed at Christina, August-September 2014)

"The view looks wonderful in the brochure and on the website but in reality it is just fabulous - absolutely mesmerising! We would recommend Seaside restaurant at Geni (Lida tipped us off about this place). It was in a beautiful spot and excellent food and service. Without doubt the best restaurant we visited." Mrs Janet Clydesdale (stayed at Althea, August-September 2014)

"How unspoilt the island was. We went to all of the tavernas and they were all welcoming with good food. We drove to a few of the beaches - all lovely and peaceful. Villa was spotless and it was lovely to have the welcome hamper to get us going." Mr Paul Carter (stayed at Melina, August 2014)

"The beauty was more than we'd been expecting. The restaurant SeaSide in Geni (half an hour from our villa) was a really gorgeous place to sit and watch the sunset. Lots of the bars/restaurants in Sivota were lovely too, just watching the boats coming in and out. Definitely worth hiring a speed boat for a day of fun and choosing your own places to stop and anchor-up! I've thought all the staff and service have been wonderful and have already recommended you to several people, thank you!" Ms Cressy Johnson (stayed at Nerina, August 2014)

"An ochre orb rising over the pool each morning, a villa to die for, ideal for a family of four, and one set of grandparents self contained upstairs. Importantly a shorter flight than many other Greek islands. This was our 2nd visit. Highly recommended. Stunning scenery, not only on the coastline but also when driving over the interland from east to west and north to south. The driving will test any budding rally cross driver. Beaches on the west coast cannot be beaten." Mr Robert Lown (stayed at Helena, August 2014)

"The spectacular views and setting was astonishing. The villa is in a remarkable location." Mr Tom Lowe (stayed at Akrothea, August 2014)

"This house is the best we have ever rented. The stunning views in all directions and the crystal clear waters for swimming. Margarita at Cape Lougi was very kind and a ray of sunshine. Can we take her home please?" Ms Caroline Costello (stayed at Cape Lougi and Akrothea, August 2014)

"EVERYTHING! The locals were so wonderful and welcoming. The villa was beautiful - stunning views from every room and the owner Christina was very helpful. The service from your company was outstanding." Mrs Clare Bloxidge (stayed at Melina, August 2014)

"The villa is beautiful. The setting and views are very peaceful and Marguerita is an absolute sweetheart!" Mrs Sian Virk (stayed at Cape Lougi, July-August 2014)

"Peace! Everything was perfect." Mr David Judge (stayed at Melina, July-August 2014)

"The peace and relatively unspoilt nature of the islands and the friendliness of local people." Mrs Esther Frost (stayed at Ondine, July-August 2014)

"Being holiday season everywhere was busy on the island but our villa was total peace - loved the pool, view, surroundings - a little paradise." Mrs Heidi Hand (stayed at Filoniki, July-August 2014)

"Value for money. Boat rental was so cheap and easy. People very friendly. Food very good. Stunning scenery/views Still has that lovely undiscovered feeling. Best ever holiday :)" Mrs Angie Gough (stayed at Ortikia, July-August 2014)

"We loved the quiet, laid back nature and beauty of Meganissi and would love to return there one day. We went with my brother and his family and had really great holiday." Mrs Catriona Lovatt (stayed at Ondine, July 2014)

"We absolutely loved this holiday and were surprised by the easy accessibility of Corfu and the unspoilt nature of anti paxos. We would like to keep it all a secret so it remains as wonderful! This was exactly what we needed, a holiday with privacy, good food, in a beautiful environment. Thank you to Yannis the property owner for opening up the path to the cove. Magical!" (stay at Iremia, July 2014)

"The villa's staff, Jeremy and Tracey were fantastic; the cooking and housekeeping was to a very high standard. In addition they were kind and fun to have around and provided great additional local knowledge. The villa was very comfortable and thoughtfully provided for our every needs. Hiring a boat was an excellent idea and again the hire company were brilliant as was the on site rep. Our holiday couldn't have been better! I enjoyed swimming in the sea and having a boat to potter about in. I was surprised at how good the shopping was in Corfu town. I was amazed at how good the food was, fresh and simply prepared at every taverna. Also I wasn't expecting the island to be so lush and like Babar land. The best thing was the beautiful clean clear blue sea which was warm and wonderful. I really enjoyed having a cook and housekeeper and not having to drive as we went everywhere by boat. I loved our villa which was isolated enough for my husband and yet had sea access and was near to beach life for our teenagers." Mrs Carolyn Barker-Mill (stayed at Barbati Point House, July 2014)

"Views, how unspoilt it was and ease of whole journey- water taxi was great." Maggie Britt (stayed at Melina, July 2014)

"Views from Villa, local food, hiring a boat to travel round coast." John Rampton (stayed at Christina, July 2014)

"Loved Greek friendliness and hospitality." Deborah Sutton (stayed at Phoebe, July 2014)

"The beauty of the islands and the clear sea with the pine forests was stunning and views from the villa amazing. Very nice trip on boat organised by Lida and much enjoyed the small boats we hired for the day. Local people very friendly and local eating out good value." Lord Carnarvon (stayed at Lilaea, June-July 2014)

"Beautiful coastline, delicious food and friendly people. Weather was just right!" Tamsin Rose (stayed at Elektra, June-July 2014)

"The views were fantastic and Sivota a lovely little harbour with good restaurants. We took a boat out one day and that was good fun." Jane Stoakes (stayed at Althea, June-July 2014)

"Meganissi was quiet, you don't need a car, you can access everything by boat or by walking. The villa is a perfect place to unwind, relax and then re-charge your batteries." Hugh Arthur (stayed at Ondine, June 2014)

"The vistas are amazing, the mountains on the islands are majestic, the beaches are gorgeous, the villages are charming, people are polite and relaxed, local wine is great, we ate very well. We really enjoyed going to the beautiful beaches - and there are so many to choose from! Lefkada is a beautiful, unpretentious, laid-back island where one can completely relax and recharge. " Josée Letarte (stayed at Lilaea, June 2014)

"Going to Ithica on a hired boat and jumping off the boat into the most beautiful water to a deserted beach filled with white egg shaped pebbles." Susan Mitnick (stayed at Akrothea, June 2014)

"It is very friendly, clean and reasonable prices to eat out etc." Caroline Abbott (stayed at Althea, June 2014)

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