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“"Masseria Impisi - The best holiday we have had in years"” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Il Collegio

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Il Collegio
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Masseria Impisi | Contrada Impisi, 72017 Puglia Ostuni, Italy   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #7 of 54 Specialty Lodging in Ostuni
Oxford, United Kingdom
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“"Masseria Impisi - The best holiday we have had in years"”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2013

We needed a week of total relaxation in the sun, in beautiful, peaceful surroundings, and wonderful accomodation. We were not disappointed when we went to Masseria Impisi, on the Adriatic coast of Southern Italy. We stayed in one of the gorgeous, tasteful and extremely confortable self-catering villa's for two, converted from a 16C olive mill and farm. Leo had left in the firdge, a day's worth of gorgeous home produced food, local wine and home grown fruit, so we didn't have to go anywhere for the first day and a half! The combination of the beautiful apartment, with a balcony overlooking exquisite landscaped and scented gardens, wonderful scuptures made by David, with fruit you could pick for breakfast, totally unique and natural swimming pool, wonderful food, either got from the local town and market of Ostuni, great restaurants for all pockets, or that prepared by Leo who is one of the best cooksI have ever come across; made our holiday very special. Added to that, Leo, David and Aaron were incredible hosts, and such good company, giving us all the local knowledge, history and wisdom, which made our trip not only effortless, but very special. We felt very spoilt as every need was catered for. They even have a library packed with good reads where you can relax or watch one of the many films available.
We didn't hire a car as we really didn't want to travel about much, but Aaron, Leo's son, who normally does the cultural holidays, provided us with an extremely reasonably priced, taxi service when we needed it, which was perfect. On a couple of days we used their bicycles, of which they have plenty, to go to the local beaches which are very near. Again, wonderful swimming and relaxing on quiet beaches. On a cloudy day, on strong recommendation from Leo, we went by train from Ostuni to Lecce, an historical and aesthetically unique city, and well worth a visit. It was a relaxing 50 minute train journey, taking in the unique southern Italian countryside and costing only 5 euros return each. Talking of trains, the railway line runs not to close to Masseria, and you can occasionally hear the train, but it certainly doesn't disrupt the tranquililty of the place. Aaron had said if you do nothing else in Lecce, you must go to Museo Archeologico Faggiano. It was incredible. In one terraced house, archeologists and historians have uncovered and restored 2000 years of human history, all exposed to see and even touch. We spent a couple of hours there, and all for 3 euros! One of the best museums I have been to. We had a gorgoeus day, and chanced upon a truly authentic bohemium Italian restaurant for lunch.
I know at Masseria Impisi they do art and cultural holidays with catering included, which look inspirational and relaxing, and this is something we would like to do. We loved it so much, we are booked to go back next year. We found our nirvana. Kevin McCloud was right, Masseria Impisi is 'inspirational, timeless and beautiful'. Highly recommend. Nikki & Michael Loggin.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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18 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (7)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Coventry, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2013

Trip Advisor for Il Collegio June 2013

Ten days at Masseria Impisi staying with David and Leonie has most definitely energised me to improve my drawing and painting and given me the motivation to try my hand at Italian-inspired cooking.

Masseria Impisi was initially recommended to me by a friend who had returned many times and so I was reasonably confident a good holiday was assured. After a most enjoyable first visit last year, I returned again this year: I travelled with a friend and we enjoyed ourselves as much on this second occasion as on our first visit, and we are keen to re-visit in the future. On both visits there have been people travelling alone who have enjoyed the holiday and the support of the relatively small group of nine people.

The “grand design” of the Roman colonnades, ancient olive trees and well-designed, colourful gardens all help to create the relaxed and inspiring setting that is Impisi.
The occasional sight of Aaron’s chickens wandering around adds a sense of charm and humour, and the welcome from Daisy (the dog) and the cats all make it feel home from home.

The accommodation at Impisi is comfortable and the free use of a kitchen means you can prepare your own breakfast at whatever time best suits you. The majority of our evening meals were at Impisi, with just one in a local restaurant on the final evening. We were all so impressed with the quality of Leonie’s cooking throughout the week, that we decided a simple feast sharing the tasty thin pizzas was sufficient for our final feast in the picturesque town of Ostuni.

Leonie’s three course meals were a delight to the senses, and I think the whole group felt we had enjoyed the true taste of high quality Puglian cuisine. Aaron’s brilliant recommendation for a lunch stop in Lecce also ensured a memorable meal we all enjoyed.

I found the art workshops led by David and Norman (another local artist who helped facilitate on this course) both interesting and informative, sometimes deepening knowledge and sometimes offering new insights.

I believe these workshops also helped develop a shared language for us as a group to deepen our understanding and appreciation of some of the wonderful frescoes and amazing paintings we were taken to see, whilst also helping us progress our own work.

I very much appreciated the opportunity for a 1:1 session with David and Norman. They have given me ideas on how to develop my work and I found them encouraging and their feedback both perceptive and well judged.

The studio is equipped much like any “public” studio and whilst most materials are available, the pre-course advice to take a few of your own brushes and watercolours if you use them, was appreciated.

For me, the balance between workshops, studio time and visits was about right – with time allowed for sketching or painting en plein air. David’s thorough knowledge of the area and the careful selection of places to visit, ensured we saw some of the best sights the area has to offer.

A celebration of selected pieces of our work through the week, accompanied by a glass of Prosecco, brought the holiday to an end through our own exhibition, and the group were supportive of each other’s endeavours through the week.

I would recommend this holiday to anybody who loves art, enjoys fine food and has an open mind to learn new ways of seeing and creating their art.

Room Tip: The gate house probably offers slightly more privacy than the other rooms on the colonade.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 3, 2013

Masseria Impisi is a unique place which reflects the passion shown by the locals when speaking about their country, food, history or heritage. The owners make you feel very welcome, like one of the family, and are very willing to share their knowledge of Puglia if you want to know more.

A Mediterranean garden is a hard thing to get right; keeping it going through the summer temperatures takes as much skill as the owner’s art which subtly decorates the property. In Masseria Impisi, the garden fills the senses in more ways than one. In early summer the sweet scent of jasmine along with cascades of rosemary filled the evening air. You can also eat oranges straight from the tree or pluck a fresh lemon for your drink.

It’s easy to pass a few hours gecko spotting, an afternoon chat with the chickens on their daily walk through the garden or dangling your feet in the plunge pool with a good book borrowed from the well-stocked library. From the loungers around the pool, chilling out on the hammock or finding a quiet spot in the garden, there are plenty places to get away from fellow travellers.

Unlike some people, I don’t go on holiday to do my washing or worry about the quality of crockery. It’s waking up with a cup of fresh coffee on the terrace listening to the chirps of birds and tasting the amazing local food that are amongst the pleasures I look for. Sitting on roof gazing over the forest of olive trees towards the Adriatic with a sun-downer is also pretty good!

I would recommend Masseria Impisi’s ‘Pleasures of Puglia’ holiday, especially if you only have a week and don’t want to drive around yourself. Through the relaxed short trips to various historic sites, a wine tasting, picnics along the Trajan Way or exploring painted cave churches, you see some sights which you might miss on a self-catering break. You quickly get a feel for the area and the people of Puglia as well as tasting some fantastic food in well-chosen (and reasonably priced) restaurants. The dinners at Masseria Impisi were a relaxed affair using fresh local produce and recipes which tantalise the taste buds. I came back relaxed and definintely looking forward to my next trip to Puglia.

My tip (apart from book now!) is ask the owners about the nearby restored frantoio to see how olive oil was originally produced – a fascinating insight into what Puglian life was like.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2013

I joined a great group of writers, from beginners to novelists, here last year with the Chalk the Sun group. I learned a lot and had great fun too with friendly people, excellent teachers and delicious food laid on by the helpful owners. The area is so beautiful and full of history that I was torn everyday between writing my poems about life, love and olive groves and hopping off to the little seaside towns for lunch or to medieval Ostuni for sight-seeing and shopping. I might have to come back and stay here without doing a course just to explore.
Bonus very few Brits come here and it has a real Italian feel. Wonderful local food specialities and cheeses to try as well. Leonie was happy to cater for veggies and fussy eaters like me and it was all good. When I wanted some down time I could watch a DVD and crack open a bottle of wine from the 'Trust Me' fridge in the den for about 3 euros a bottle!
The rock pool was gorgeous - no chlorine. The rooms were comfortable though my room mate snored a bit! Our hosts were happy to help with Wi-Fi and I kept in touch with London every day with no annoying charges - why do big hotel still have the cheek charge for wi-fi while little B&Bs don't? The weather in September is still hot and I swam in the Adriatic on an almost empty local beach. I'll be back!

Room Tip: Book your Ryan Air flight early to save money. Check out the ancient underground tomb and caves unde...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2013

I loved my first experience of Il Collegio last September and we are booked again for this year with Simona Sideri a marvellous children's writing expert as one of our tutors. I've gained great confidence from the patient and informative teachers with lots of one to one coaching, sitting in shady nooks in the gardens. Evenings were lovely with shared suppers talking about films and books and eating Leonie's fabulous Italian food while David pours more wine.
The rooms are clean, cool and comfy and the pool is a great chill out spot with lovely views. The house and grounds have a lovely rustic feel with works of art and mosaics everywhere. I loved the fact that I could just borrow a bicyle and breeze down to the sea with no talk of deposits or extra charges. Nearby Ostuni is well worth exploring and this year I am definitely going to see the 2,000 year old woman! I travelled alone and shared a room with another Chalk the Sun student but we soon made friends and giggled a lot. Leonie and David, Rosie the dog, and the tutors made me feel really welcome so this year I feel as if I'll be going home. And by the way I hardly heard a train but I did hear bird song in the olive groves.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Italy
Top Contributor
149 reviews 149 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 73 cities Reviews in 73 cities
147 helpful votes 147 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2012

Stay Here If ….you don’t mind the sound of passing trains!
That was the unwanted surprise and we hoped that we would get used to them rushing by at infrequent intervals day and night. You can’t see them as the railway line is through an olive grove but our review on T/A can help you make your mind up. We had read a review in a guide where the entry was paid for by the owners. It did not match what we actually found.
We stayed during the last days of Sept/first days of Oct and paid the autumn rate for the Gate House. The small rocky, plunge pool was apparently out of bounds as out of season, even though the average daily temperature was 30C? It’s across the courtyard from the Gate House’s seating area.
From what we read on the website we assumed that we would be away from any other guests but that’s not so. They are a few footsteps away and share the same colonnade, so it’s in the lap of the god’s as to who is staying in the “courtyard complex” of B&B rooms, the Apartment and the Gate House, at the time. If you want to get away from it all and be private this is perhaps the wrong choice.
There is a garden at different levels to escape to, it was irrigated, so green grass despite the burning heat of summer. It’s unkempt in the nicest possible way. There is seating under trees and hammocks to snooze in. Art work to admire and olive trees of massive girth.
As no information is given by the English owners as to what you actually get exactly, we asked about internet because we had to be within email contact for various reasons. We found we had to sit in the loggia outside the door to owner’s house (path through the garden). Somehow we felt intrusive and limited our visits. If all day, easy access to internet matters think twice.
The Gate House, for many reasons is a warm season rental but that should equate to 7 months of the year. Lots of crumbling internal plaster, testifies to damp. It’s rustic/basic. Bedroom (has air conditioning unit), bathroom, kitchen/diner, all at ground level. Added extra a washing machine, but unless you are prepared to precariously climb up on to the roof, nowhere to hang wet washing. We bought and left, a drying rack, useful for future guests too.
The bed is comfortable, there’s lots of hot water, the kitchen has a good hob to cook on. (A conventional toaster would be appreciated. Nice and cheap from Argos in family hand luggage perhaps??)
There are no comfortable chairs. No matter inside but outside a must. So we liberated just one made of aluminium and plastic from the colonnade.
The owners are artists and so it was a pity to have only Pyrex mugs or kitsch (nasty) little coffee cups for hot drinks. No nice pottery to use in the kitchen. We’d like them to go the extra mile, because we bought their divine produce, admired their talent and even came to terms with the noisy trains and being in close proximity to a very nice couple renting the Apartment, (thankfully it was end of season for B&B)! We left feeling that guests would come more than once if more effort was made in the all round “comfort” stakes and if the plunge pool was kept clean and in use for longer.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LeonieOstuni, Owner at Il Collegio, responded to this review, February 22, 2013
We were surprised and concerned by the comments made by these guests and would like to answer their specific observations and criticisms. We do wish they had discussed things with us at the time as we are always on hand for help or advice and are sure several things could have been resolved at the time.
We are pleased that they liked the gardens, the art and the home-made produce and other positive points in their review.
Sadly we can do nothing about the occasional distant sound of trains.
There are chairs and loungers outside the apartments and by the pool and are surprised that these guests could not find any to use – again, had they asked us, we would have been happy to help.
Although most guests actually enjoy hanging out their washing on the roof where they have a splendid view of the sea across the olive groves, we appreciate that the steps may be difficult for some. We have therefore had a new laundry/utility room built with a nearby, level, drying area for the use of all guests. Our other planned upgrades and refurbishments that were scheduled for our close season have now been completed and hope that they would approve the new facilities of Wi-Fi in the guest area, new paved walkways and screening to improve privacy of the apartments as well as extensive re-decoration of the Gate House.
Their booking was at the reduced rate at the end of the season when we clearly advertise the fact that the pool is only available from May to September. We have occasionally extended this period by prior request.
Full information about Masseria Impisi, photos etc are on our website and we are always happy to answer any questions by email.
Thankfully we have had nothing but satisfied praise from other guests, and are confident that the criticisms of these guests have been fully addressed.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
london
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 7, 2011

We took a party of eight writers from Chalk the Sun with three tutors for a five day writing retreat. Our hosts, artists David and Leonie, built this beautiful place out of old farm outhouses, carving local stone on a hillside surrounded by olive groves - check the Grand Designs programme showing their struggle to create Masseria Impisi on U tube. They are kind, thoughtful and unobtrusive hosts. They think of everything - 12 umbrellas were left by the gate for us when rain threatened, Leonie made a delicious birthday cake for one of the students as well as fabulous three course Italian meals every night [ we had only expected a bowl of pasta but this was cordon bleu!] They also gave us generous carafes of local wine, red, white and rose with every meal not to mention home made limoncello on our last night and the odd celebratory bottle of prosecco. The rooms a small but clean and well-appointed with good showers. There are well-equipped kitchens for self-service breakfast and making your own lunch. There is a TV den with lots of books and current DVDs, terraces, a roof to watch the sunset from, a pergola in the garden where we had our lessons in the shade. Sculptures throughout the grounds gave us lots of inspiration. They even had half a dozen bicycles which we could borrow free of charge and head for the nearby beach. Best of all was the fresh water pool, fed by a spring and carved in the rocky terrain where we could swim and sunbathe on the decking. Nearby was another 2 bedroom house for rent which David and Leonie arranged for our tutors to use. Son Aaron was happy to be booked as a taxi service and take us to the lovely mediaeval town of Ostuni. Daisy the dog is cute and friendly too. Cheap and unspoilt, the place where Romans go for their holidays.Leave time to explore Ostuni and have a seafood lunch in one of the nearby small resorts. Marvellous local delicacies and excellent olive oil. An ideal place for a short break, a romantic holiday or an arts or creative retreat - Leonie and David arrange art holidays as well as doing regular B&B. We are already planning next year's residential study break.

Room Tip: They are all nice!
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Il Collegio

Address: Masseria Impisi | Contrada Impisi, 72017 Puglia Ostuni, Italy
Location: Italy > Puglia > Province of Brindisi > Ostuni
Amenities:
Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 54 Specialty Lodging in Ostuni
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Masseria Impisi offers accommodation in self-catering apartments at a restored olive farm and mill, near the sea and close to the historic city of Ostuni. There is a library/TV room and a laundry for guest use. The accommodation is surrounded by landscaped gardens dotted with sculptures and mosaics and olive groves. There is a pool from the limestone rock and there are free bicycles for exploration of the surrounding countryside. Produce from the estate includes our own olive oil and jams and preserves from our fruit trees. Our chickens give us free range eggs and our dog Daisy is happy to take you on local walks. We can help with sightseeing and information on places of interest and are always on hand to answer questions and ensure your stay is a happy one. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Il Collegio Ostuni, Italy - Puglia

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