Blog - Carla Coulson
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My Puglian Address Book – Valle D’Itria

Terre e Mare Copyright Carla Coulson

I am back! And a big thank to you for all your lovely comments on my trip around Puglia.

I am full of inspiration, energy and enthusiasm for more photography. One of the fabulous things I love to pieces about being a photographer is that I rarely feel sick about coming home from a holiday, in fact some times I just can’t wait to get back to get my hands on my camera and to put all the ideas whirring around in my head into action.

It has been six years since Francesco and I holidayed in Italy and along with a guzzillion other Italians we went to Puglia. To escape the masses at the beach (see photos below) we headed to the Valle D’Itria, a little triangle of beauty and calm dotted with stone ‘cone’ adddorrabbblleeee trulli’s, wonderful villages, fresh air and amazing food.  Puglia didn’t disappoint.

First stop was in the town of Ceglie Messapica, that I had only seen previously in mid-winter, this little white jewel was rocking, concerts every night in the main piazza, cool little ‘frutteria’s serving up delicious fruit cocktails and food (and prices) to break my Parisian heart (err and waistline)…We stayed with the fabulous Pamela, a young local who has converted a 19th century building into a wonderful B & B named Sant’Anna. Great hospitality and a wonderful little gem in the heart of this great town.

Cisternino and Ceglie Messapica Copyright Carla Coulson

After three days exploring the nearby villages and countryside, the glorious Cisternino, Martina Franca and the wonderful ceramic town of Grottaglie we headed to a little B & B called Terre e Mare in the countryside near Cisternino(see above).

A wonderful couple, the fabulous Danish, Caterina and her Pugliese partner, Guiliano packed up life in  northern Italy and have recently opened this rustic little piece of paradise under the olive trees. They are living their dream and we were thrilled to be along for a couple of days of home-made bread, jams, tarts and great company.

Under the olive trees I delved into ‘Ultimo  Giro della Giostra‘ by Tiziano Terzani, a writer I already loved and enjoy in his celebrated ‘A fortune teller told me‘. ‘Ultimo Giro della Giostra is wonderful if you read Italian and it is a big book in all the senses of the words, about life, love, spirituality, evolution and dying.

What Puglian holiday is complete without the sweets, gelato, cakes and many hours at the table with a carafe of cool white wine and big chunks of smoked scamorza.  Francesco constantly shooshed me each time I grabbed the menu and uttered ‘it’s almost free’! An antipasto that consisted of 12 portions of food that costs only 7 Euros.. What else was there to say other than I’ll take two? I kept thinking about all those plates and the poor person who had to wash them up…

Chiesa Sant’Anna Ceglie Messapico Copyright Carla Coulson

Whilst in Ceglie Messapica, the fabulous Pamela organised a private viewing of the Church of Sant’Anna just steps away from her B & B of the same name. This frescoed church is cared for by the local ladies, all elderly now and risks being closed permanently even though it is built on a Greek temple that dates back to BC.

If you are in Ceglie ask around to have a look inside, it is something else.

And although we trundled around Italy at a slow speed, I have never felt safer on Italian roads than when I called into the local Agip petrol station to fill up only to see his holiness watching over all Italian (and foreign) drivers. Maybe that is why they drive so fast, they know someone is on their side!

My Puglian Address Book


My tastes in accommodation are modest and I loved these two places.

Terre E Mare

Caterina and Guiliano will show you true southern hospitality in their adorable Trulli B & B just kilometres from Cisternino.

B & B Sant’Anna

The young, beautiful and hospitable Pamela (pronounced Pammm eeeellllaaa) runs a B & B with a super terrace in the heart of Ceglie. She will point you in the right direction for all you will need in Ceglie.


Osteria Pugliese

Via Orto Nannavecchia,

Ceglie Messapica, Italia

This humble Osteria serves great quality traditional food in the beautiful white stone side streets just off the main square. We left with change from 20 Euros for the two of us (and a I have a husband who likes to eat!).


Set in a 15th Century convent Cibus was at the heart of the gastronomic culture that Ceglie Messapica is now famous for. Continually searching to mix the local products of the highest quality in new and interesting ways. Loved this place.


This is the kind of restaurant I would never have expected to find in Ceglie Messapica. The gang at Botrus have brought ‘nouvelle cuisine’ to Puglia and have created new flavours that would have nonna throwing salt over each shoulder warding off the bad ‘spirits’. A dining experience of the grown-up kind.


Avocado Fruitteria

Piazza Vecchia

Ceglie Messapica

In a beautiful ancient Piazza with towering trees and bounded by white buildings, grab a seat and a drink made from your favourite fruit and enjoy the calm.

Il Santino

Cool bar with low chairs and ‘cafe del mar’ music in one of three of Ceglie Messapica’s main piazza’s. For late night lounging at it’s best.


Quartiere delle Ceramiche


All the marvels of southern Italian ceramics in this wonderful baroque town in the Valle D’Itria. Entire quarters of the city are devoted to this Italian art, both decorative and minimal.  Back the truck up!

Buon Viaggio e buona dieta!!




Scenes From an Italian Road Trip

All Photos Copyright Carla Coulson

We are leaving tomorrow…is there a  Not Happy Dance?

We will be meandering our way back to Terlizzi and then onto Paris, I just love a road trip something about the freedom and a reminder of my child hood.

 I thought I would treat you with a few pics taken along our journey if you have never traveled to Puglia do yourself a favour and add it to your list.

PS: None of the above vehicles is our hire car

PPS: No that is not Francesco and I shopping for fruit in Image 2…….Not yet anyway!

On The Road Again

My Puglia In Feast – Recently Published Work

Funny how life’s timing plays out sometimes!

I have landed in Puglia to gorgeous sunny skies and sweltering temperatures and Feast magazine has landed on the newstands with ‘My Puglia’, story about food and daily life I shot in Francesco’s home town of Terlizzi.

I can’t wait to show Nonna who is the star of the story and just recovered from a broken leg.  So many wonderful locals opened their doors and their hearts and allowed me to shoot their lives and it the towns daily rythym, so a heartfelt thanks to all of Terlizzi.

If you are in Australia you will be able to get your hands on a copy of Feast and the full story (there are 10 pages).

Baci e abbracci


La Fete Des Tuileries


Morning Lovelies,

I got lost in a whirlwind of photos this week and found it hard to get to the computer, my apologies.

Paris is sweltering, what a year of weird weather. The weather gods have definately taken a break, rain for 4 months and then 30+ degrees straight after. Us dear little city people are so confused about what to wear, where to go and how to stay cool – I need a beach right now and that is the general feeling in Paris.


But before I leave you for my summer holidays (in a couple of weeks) I want to share some more of Paris and a  portrait shoot I recently did at La Fete des Tuileries with two gorgeous gals and little vintage inspiration.

The chic Tuileries garden has a make-over in summer. The carnival arrives and with a back-drop of the Louvre and the rue du Rivoli a colourful circus erupts of squeals, colourful drinks and fairy floss. I adore that the Parisians aren’t too precious about their beautiful garden and lets us feel like kids again at the summer carnival. And it was the perfect location for Carla and her beautiful ‘tweens’, so much colour, wonderful props and fun to be had.

So if you have the kids in tow and want to channel your inner child here are four places in Paris this summer you can cool off and have fun.

1. LA FETE DES TUILERIES – the water ride (yippeeeee)

2. PARIS PLAGE – the sprinklers run all day along the quai’s between the Louvre and Pont Marie, rive gauche.

3. BHV – the best air-conditioning in Paris (ha ha )

4. PISCINE DE LA GRENOUILLERE – ok this one is an RER ride but if you are in for a day trip the kids will love for you forever. 4 pools surrounded by grass right next to the beautiful Parc de Sceaux..



Stay Cool

Voila The Beautiful Winners of a Portrait in Paris – The Menadue Girls


The Menadue Girls Copyright Carla Coulson

After months of waiting, the day finally came around and I had the chance to shoot the gorgeous winners of my portrait competition in Paris – the Menadue girls. What a treat! We had all waited months for the day, the Menadue girls had rejigged their European adventure to meet up in Paris and I thank them eternally for this.

I was lucky to have not just one beautiful woman in front of me but two! I can see where Felicity’s beauty comes from and we had gorgeous Ralph Lauren look-a-like dad along for the last couple of hours!!

Between the clothing changes and the coffee we traded stories. Felicity now calls.. drumroll…. Venice home! Four years ago Felicity swapped her Australian life for an extended adventure in Venice that still goes on! And her gorgeous mum Carolyn and dad are right behind her (rings a bell).

There are somethings that you would like to go on forever, like our shoot and having a friendship with the Menadue girls. Loved them to bits!! Not to mention dad (seen below).

So when the time came to say goodbye it all felt a little pre-mature but what a wonderful morning we shared and the world feels warmer knowing there are such great people out there with kind souls and big hearts.

I felt like I won the prize!!

Viva le ragazze Menadue (and dad)



PS: If you would like to see the before’s click here

Some backstage pics from Felicity’s mum with super make-up artist Veronique, myself, Felicity, her mum and dad!