Sunrise Moves: Yoga Lesson on the Rooftop Terrace of Masseria Torre Coccaro

May the sun bring you new energy by day,
May the moon softly restore you by night,
May the rain wash away your worries,
May the breeze blow new strength into your being,
May you walk gently through the world and know its beauty all the days of your life.

Apache Blessing

There’s no such smile as the one you bring down from an early morning yoga class on the Coccaro rooftop terrace! Ok, some might prefer a hike or a run in the olive fields, others want to swim a few laps and then join their spouses for the first cappuccino of the day. But, believe us, even if you’ve never tried it before: Some calm and easy yoga moves to the silent sounds of the sunrise on the Adriatic ocean are the most beautiful and extraordinary way to start a day…
Giuseppe, some of you might remember him showing sun salutations at Coccaro beach some time ago within this blog, comes over on request, brings the proper mattresses, blocks and bands to enable you to excercise properly. He, himself, will show you the way through warriors, tree poses and other yoga challenges.
After 50 minutes of workout he’ll help you relax deeper than ever, in a position that you won’t want to leave any more. Try it out, just as K., one of our longtime clients and friends, did it this morning. The smile she brought back down to the breakfast table was unbeatable.

Ferzan Ozpetek: “Don’t destroy the beauty around you!”

He was born in Istanbul and came to Italy in the 70ies, to work as a journalist at first, then went studying in Rome and at some point never wanted to turn back: Ferzan Ozpetek (“Le Fate Ignoranti”) is one of the most famous italian directors of our times. He loves Puglia where he made his last big film, “Mine Vaganti”, and since he made many friends down here over the years, he’s trying to come back as often as possible to spend his holiday between Lecce, Otranto and Gallipoli. We met him recently, having dinner at La Castellana Beach, and asked him why Puglia became one of his places of the heart. You can read the whole interview in the August edition of Ali del Levante.

Cos`è che le piace di più della Puglia, oltre che del Salento, la sua terra del cuore?
Mi piacciono il cibo, le persone, le spiagge, che sono le più belle del mondo. Insomma, è tutto un misto di caratteristiche che mi sembrano molto autentiche e regalano un’atmosfera bellissima. La Puglia è un paese veramente speciale … finché non diventa turistico! Dico sempre: che necessità c’è di modernizzare ad ogni costo i vostri negozi nei centri storici? Perché non lasciate tutto com’è, classico, carino e molto suggestivo? Non cambiate le cose belle, dico a tutti quelli che stanno per farlo, soprattutto per non distruggere la bellezza genuina di questi luoghi.

What do you like most in Puglia?
I love the food, I love the people and I love the beaches that belong to the most beautiful ones in the world. It is a whole mixture of characteristics that I consider very authentic and that create this beautiful atmosphere. Puglia ia a very special country… It shouldn’t become too touristy though! I keep saying: Why do you have to modernize your shops in the storic center by all means? Why don’t you leave everything the way it is? Classic, beautiful and so appealing? Don’t change the beauty around you, I can’t help myself telling all the people who are about to do it, because they would destroy the genuine beauty of the places around them.

Let the Energy Flow: Tai Chi Chuan Lessons under the Olive Trees

Abusing a part of the golf course can’t be wrong – if it’s for a Tai Chi lesson, like we did this morning at Masseria Torre Maizza. Martine Balanza, who studied with the famous masters Chu King Hung and Carlo Lopez and has been teaching the ancient art herself for many years. It may seem a dance but it’s more of a “meditation in movement”, our master says. Tai Chi collects thoughts and emotions and transforms them into energy flow, calming both body and mind. The excercise helps to stabilize harmony end peace while the body is in perfect balance, moving in a natural, gentle way without using your muscles but mostly by letting go or concentrating on different parts of the body: The breath becomes calmer, the blood flow more stable and strong and the body movements and poses more elastic throughout practising. You can follow the ancient chinese pilosophy all your life, in your own personal way, on your own paste, or in groups like we did this morning. The chinese believe that it’s like singing: You can’t train your voice if you don’t practise regularly. In chinese gardens you’ll find lots of people of all age groups, leaving their bird cages in a tree for half an hour while they’re doing their regular Tai Chi pratice, either the ancient 24 excercises or the famous 108 movements. Check it out – it’s the best and most relaxing start of the day! Martine will drop by on demand, ask at the reception desk for further information.

Bikini Fashion: The Mia Benedetta Collection at Coccaro Beach

We proudly present: Mia Benedetta, famous italian actress and beachwear designer. This summer You’ll find the most beautiful pieces of her latest collection at the Coccaro Beach Boutique – you should definitely pass by to have a look! Here’s something you might not know about the artist living in Rome and going back and forth to Puglia whenever possible, not only for work (these days she’s making a new film all around Monopoli) or her puglian ancestors by the way: The actress lost her heart in Bari.

(Mia trying vintage dresses for a new film)

“I was born in Rome but my father is originally from Puglia, my roots are reaching as far as Monopoli. Remember the beautiful old cinema there, Radar, in the storic center? Right there, exactly. I’m an actress, started off with Mauro Bolognini at Casa Ricordi, a TV movie with dresses from the early 1900s. At the time I couldn’t get enough of trying all these beautiful outfits on, we used to meet up at the Roman tailor Tirelli and I just adored the beauty and the elegance of the business. That is why I never let go fashion, it always has been and always will be one of my greatest passions beside acting and cinema. My main focus is the past: The beachwear I’m designing (summer 2012 is my 9th collection already!) brings up memories of old Esther Williams musicals; some might recognize allusions to Billy Wilder comedies. The italian comedies of the 60ies inspired me a lot, too (“Poveri ma belli”).

(One of Mia’s retro models)

What I do is design never more than 10 pieces per season. This way I can work the way I like it: Take my time to chose the right material and the best tailors, all of them retro style for as much as possible. I’m coming to Puglia every summer, not only for pleasure but more and more often even to make films. It definitely is an up and coming region for many reasons. My favorite place, needless to say, is the area of Capitolo and Savelletri where, sitting down in front of a pasta& Ricci dish, at notorious “Forcatella”, for example, my heart feels like home.”

(Bathing Suit out of lace and lycra, collection 2012)

Pure Relax: The Pool Area at Masseria Torre Maizza

Welcome to the heart of Maizza, the pool area, that reminds of an ancient greek outdoor spa, with large palmtrees, figs and hibiscus growing between generous daybed spaces and little sofa angles where to have lunch, sip on a smoothie or just read a good book.

We asked our lifesaver Manilo to show us around: He used to work at the beach of our partner hotel del Levante at Torre Canne where the other guys used to call him “Mitch” like in the TV series baywatch – for his well built body that he’s keeping in shape continuously. But only at Maizza, working by the pool, he says, he grew up to be a real lifesaver, looking after every detail all by himself.

In fact he’s the one to address to with any kind of question or problem. Manilo personally loves travelling, and even though he can’t escape during the summer because they need him by the pools of Maizza (beside the main one there is the one that belongs to the suite), he still loves meeting and talking to guests who come to visit from all different parts of the world: Australia, America, England, France, Canada… Inspiration, new energy, new acquaintances: That’s what his work environment is offering, he says. He couldn’t imagine to do something different…

Talk to him about offroad motorcycling, surfing or if you want to have a nice chat. Manilo is passionate about all different kinds of extreme sports and will be happy to tell you more about it! In the meantime have Valentina or Loredana from the pool bar prepare some nice Shakerato Caffe or a frozen Diaquiri for you to cool down a bit after long hours on the beach.

For those of you who want to try out at home: Here’s the recipe. Pore it all in your shaker as shown in the video.
6/10 White Rum
3/10 Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
1/10 Vanilla Sugar
3/10 smashed mango juice
13 ice cubes

Maybe you feel like eating a bite before going to play golf or hiking? Or you just grab a book, lean your legs on to some ancient olive tree and enjoy the peaceful environment… You’ll find the pool area is the perfect place to be and stick around during long, hot Puglia summers!