your Dutch hostess and I live here since 1997. At the first visit to the farm of our present neighbours, Masseria La Mandra, I fell instantly in love with this beautiful place. Villa Lavanda has been built in 2002 and at that time we had no bed and breakfast in mind yet. Much attention has been paid to the design, use of materials and the gardens that surround Villa Lavanda. We’re art lovers, and that is reflected in Villa Lavanda.
Living in the countryside again
It’s just wonderful to live in the countryside again. From the house where I grew up we had a view over many kilometres of fields and in the distance you could see the south of Rotterdam. We saw the Euromast rise above the city and were always busy with everything growing and flourishing in nature. That I found back here. In nature there is always something interesting and it renews itself constantly and that interests me very much. I’m also a big fan of English and Scandinavian Detectives, both on TV and in book form (written in English, I prefer to read them in English), and I read at least 2-3 books every week. I‘m watching Dutch TV again and love the English programs about buying, building and renovating houses. I like to stay informed on developments in the Netherlands. As for reading books: Villa Lavanda is on three sides surrounded by veranda’s and it’s really nice to relax there if you ever decide you want to spend some time around the house and just laze there, with or without a book.
The B&B was born by chance in 2006
and it pleases me when I se guests enjoying breakfast, enthusiastically speaking about their outings en I do everything I can to offer my guests a home away from home where they can be themselves and relax.
Sun Energy and Environment
End 2015, there were mounted 24 photovoltaic panels on the roof of Villa Lavanda. 20 on the front, facing south and four on the side where the sun rises, where the rooms ARWAV and Green Papaya are. They are connected to the power grid since February 17, 2016 and will now start producing. We also got a heat pump and two new solar panels for hot water. On the heat pump is also reinstalled the good old hot water button. With that button you can evoke instant hot water arrives after a minute. It’s installed in all the bathrooms in Villa Lavanda and in the kitchen. That’s very convenient, but also good for the environment because the water is brought to us by tankers and water you should never waste anyway. Where previously for the old the solar panels in and the heating in winter and cooling in summer it took nearly a study with all sorts of handles that had to be converted, now everything will run automatically. Soon there will be an overview on the site (live) of the electricity produced.
Villa Lavanda contributes its bit for the environment. Glass, cans and plastic are separated and brought to an Eco centre and we have a large compost heap, a washing machine with Eco program etc. It’s not only good for the environment, but also good savings. Gas for heating is too expensive nowadays and they have to bring it with a tanker. When you live in a town or city and have city gas, it’s ok. For electricity after Denmark, Italy’s the most expensive country in Europe. Furthermore, I try whenever possible to repair rather than buy new things and to reuse as much as possible.
Nature around Villa Lavanda
It’s a safe and pleasant environment here, where you can enjoy the tranquillity, the many species of wild flowers and plants and the many colourful butterflies that are attracted to the lavender. There are many Hummingbird Butterflies attracted by our lavender too. Here you can see it on YouTube. Furthermore, you really see lots of lizards around the house and in the evenings owls, bats and stone martens.
Murgese Horse and Trulli
The Murgese is a local breed.
Annually we see 2 times the cranes in transit gather near Villa Lavanda. Foxes can also be seen. They have their dens in the forest around the grain mill. Sometimes, if you ever get up as early as around 5 am and take a walk on the private road, you can meet the Fox family. The cubs are born black and after some time change to the colour of their parents. You can also see in the area: Sardinian donkeys and the much scarcer Martina Franca donkey and Murgese horses. In spring you often hear the hoopoe calling. A beautiful bird that I have only seen once in Holland. They breed in the little forest around the mill and are regularly furnishing around Villa Lavanda. Sometimes when they are busy catching insects and caterpillars from the dry stonewalls when they have young, you’ll see them flying in front of your car on the private road. If you return in the evening in the dark over the private road, sometimes you will see a large owl flying in front of your car.
First mid-February the almond trees and wild crocuses are in bloom and then also the first wild chicory plants can be found. Much better than the cultivated species. Around round Easter appear the wild irises and asparagus. Italians really like to hunt for the asparagus! They do love their “wild vegetables”. Around the same time you also see the first wild orchids around the large outdoor arena, in which my daughter regularly trains Murgese horses. And in fall they obviously are hoping for mushrooms. First you need rain, then some sunny days and then the mushroom hunting can start and also the Chicory again. Those are absent only during mid-summer and appear again at mid-November, but from mid-February they are present again. If you eat out then try the traditional dish “Fave e Cicorie”. It’s an antipasto (starter) and consists of puree of dried broad beans and wild chicory and taking a wisp of good olive oil over them and if necessary. Sometimes also with bread soldiers. A really tasty and a very traditional dish
I do like to share the beautiful nature around Villa Lavanda with my guests.
The stone marten comes here regularly, but apart from the occasional killed marten on the road, you see them rarely because it really is a nocturnal animal. If I have to go by the number of dead animals on the road, Fox and Marten come here in about equal measure. Badgers I have seen here only twice in all those years and those unfortunately were both dead. That indicates that the Badger has become a very rare appearance here.
Here you have all the advantages of the rest of the country on the one hand and on the other Noci with all amenities close by. To Bari airport takes only an hour and to Brindisi airport 1.5 hours. The Ionian coast, for example, the town of Chiatona takes half an hour and Monopoli on the Adriatic Sea is 50 minutes by car. Apulia and its history are very interesting and I’ll tell you more about if you stay here as our guest.
Villa Lavanda’s Pets
The dogs, Tiger the Cane Corso and Grudsky befriend all our guests. They watch good over Villa Lavanda and find it pleasant when we have guests. Tiger is from 2008, and even though he’s pretty big, he’s a real sweetheart who loves company. Spice the cat starts aging a bit (February 2005) and she has become more homely since her sister is deceased a few years ago. Shadow, the dog with the puppies, alas died last year.
Because we ourselves have pets, bringing pets to Villa Lavanda is not allowed.
There are no (small) children staying as guests at Villa Lavanda.