Travel

Helen takes in the sights of historic Lecce, not far from her new Italian holiday home
Photo: Reuters
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The centuries-old property in the village of Tiggiano boasts a mature vineyard but is in need of extensive refurbishment
Photo: Reuters

Helen's new property is just half a mile from the beautiful Puglia coast on Italy's "heel" and the clear waters of the Adriatic

Helen gears up for an Italian job on her Puglian pile

3 APRIL 2007
Half-a-mile away from the gleaming Mediterranean, the property boasts a mature vineyard and is surrounded by high, fortified walls - perfect for a privacy-loving star. She discovered it while in the region to collect a prize at the local Salento International Film Festival. Dame Helen, who also owns properties in LA and London, will not be able to move in straight away, though, as it is in need of some extensive refurbishment.

The Hollywood husband-and-wife team have been exploring their new holiday-home territory in the last few days, taking in the sights of South East Italy's "heel", including the historic centre of Lecce - known as the "Florence of the Baroque". Local sandstone buildings, tinged a warm pink, boast impressive facades of intricate cherubs, flowers, fruits and animals - the most spectacular examples of which are the carvings on the church of Santa Croce.

Another highlight of the Puglia region - which is growing increasingly popular among Europe's jet-set - is its cuisine, producing some of Italy's best cheeses and offering local specialities such as friselle - crunchy bread rings softened in water and served with olive oil and tomatoes - and pasta called orecchiette or "little ears", not to mention fresh seafood.


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