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“A creative holiday - fun and inspiring”
Review of Il Collegio

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Il Collegio
Ranked #23 of 74 Specialty Lodging in Ostuni
London
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“A creative holiday - fun and inspiring”
Reviewed October 11, 2013

This year's Chalk the Sun creative writing retreat was brilliant with great teaching from the well-informed and entertaining tutors - a children's book editor and a crime and comedy specialist. With just 6 other students and some local expat day students we really got lots of individual help and as a total beginner I actually felt pleased with my writing by the end of the week. The other students were a great mix of ages and backgrounds from a young Aussie glider pilot to a very high-powered Home office bod. We had great chats with the students and tutors over yummy 3 course organic suppers with loads of local wine all included with the week's accommodation and the tuition. We borrowed bikes in the afternoons and went to the nearby beach or used the pool. We also did a trip to the lovely medieval town of Ostuni on our free Saturday and visited the Mother of Ostuni a 28000 year old woman in a nearby cave with the local museum curator. The only drag was flying Ryan air but it only cost me about £100. I'll be back again next year - maybe with my novel underway!

Room Tip: all the rooms are nice. You may get cheaper flights very near the trip
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank Sunshineandjuice
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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25 reviews from our community

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English first
Wroxham, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed October 8, 2013

If you are looking for a peaceful holiday with exquisite food in fabulous surroundings this is the holiday for you. David and Leonie own and run the centre and they are the perfect hosts. Warm, kind and funny, full of information about the area and all things Italian.
The rooms are simple in design, restful, cool and very clean. The cloistered buildings are set in gardens surrounded by an olive grove and chiselled out of the rock is a natural swimming pool. Heaven on a hot day. On each turn round the gardens a surprise lurks; a stone or wooden sculpture or mosaic work telling a story, urns tipping with flowers, all too beautiful for words.
I was part of a group and Leonie and David did all the catering. The food was better than that served in the very best of restaurants - I'm picky but I relished every meal so lovingly prepared with much of the produce home grown.
The Collegio is in an agricultural area of mainly olive groves which run down to the nearby beach which is only a short bike ride away, alternatively David's son Aaron is happy to provide a lift there and back. Ostuni, the local town is about twenty minutes away (by car or lift) brilliant architecture, shops and ice-cream!
I was at the Collegio as part of a Creative Writing Group tutored and organised by Chalk the Sun.
This aspect of the holiday was just as thoughtful, well organised and fabulous as all of the above.
Any writers out there who need help to get started, or to revise a novel or script or who simply need some inspiration then this course will meet those needs and more. The ratio of tutors to students allows for one to one sessions as well as small group exercises. The course was tailored to individual need and was flexible in that time was built in for a variety of activity. The tutors were published authors/editor, who were high achievers and very amusing making time spent together both entertaining and inclusive.
I unreservedly recommend both the holiday venue and the Creative Writing Course.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
3 Thank mary c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sheffield, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed September 19, 2013

We have just returned from a fantastic art and culture holiday at Il Collegio thanks to the outstanding hospitality of David, Leonie and Aaron. They have created a convivial, relaxed atmosphere at Masseria Impisi and our group of nine 'artists' quickly bonded over delicious meals on the terrace and supportive workshops and painting sessions and in the studio and garden. Leonie's amazing cooking (using local, freshly-sourced ingredients) and David's knowledge of art are a great combination!
Excursions to beautiful local towns and historical sites were led by David and were very informative, providing us with new insights into the artistic and cultural history of Puglia. As other reviewers have noted, there is much to inspire and enjoy at Il Collegio; we feel privileged to have been able to share it.

Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
3 Thank sheffieldhiker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed August 20, 2013

We (partner and kids) have just spent at week at Impisi under the care of Leonie and David. The whole experience was just great. Lovely accommodation and beautiful gardens full of olive and citrus trees and prickly pear. The self-catering provides every implement you could possibly need to conjure up wonderful, languorous lunches on the terrace and olive oil, citrus fruits and local wine is available from the owners who produce most of it. The bedrooms are simply but carefully furnished with paintings by Leonie on the walls, vintage furniture and quality linens and towels. You can see that people with a good eye and and appreciation of Mediterranean simplicity have created this house and its surroundings. The swimming pool built into the rocks with the lovely sealife mosaics and dancing dragonflies and with comfortable sun loungers was really special. It was always quiet and peaceful and a pleasure to sit outside and watch nature go by.

It's also a great base from which to explore local towns such as Ostuni (only 7km), Locorontondo and Martina Franca, and the beaches.

The owners are very kind. They both clearly love Puglia and wanted to share their experiences of living life there with us. All in all a great holiday with many good memories. I envy them!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
5 Thank Sarah W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oxford, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
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
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Helpful?
9 Thank Nikki A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Coventry, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
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
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Helpful?
6 Thank Sheila C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
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
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Helpful?
7 Thank GoOnHol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Il Collegio

Property: Il Collegio
Address: Masseria Impisi | Contrada Impisi, 72017 Puglia, Ostuni, Italy
Location: Italy > Puglia > Province of Brindisi > Ostuni
Amenities:
Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #23 of 74 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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