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Puglia’s Gattarella holiday camp has Dirty Dancing feel

PUBLISHED: 16:23 23 January 2015 | UPDATED: 16:23 23 January 2015

The Gattarella resort.

The Gattarella resort.

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If you’re looking for non-stop around-the-clock holiday action for teenagers and grown ups alike, don’t look any further than the Gattarella Resort

Beau in the Gattarella Vans skate park.Beau in the Gattarella Vans skate park.

Walking through the pine forest back to our cabin at the Gattarella holiday camp on a balmy summer’s evening, and hearing the 50s ballroom music blasting out from the amphitheatre’s speakers mixing in with the high pitched cicadas, I couldn’t help but feel I had been transported onto the set of Dirty Dancing.

There’s more than a hint of innocence about the Puglian set-up to remind me of the 80s Patrick Swayze film, especially as I watched Italian teenagers join in en-masse with synchronised dancing to mega-disco tunes by the edge of the sea.

The resort was set up over five decades ago which perhaps lends to the nostalgic air, although it’s anything but dated.

From the moment you walk in to the holiday camp, set in the Gargano National Park, there’s non-stop round-the-clock entertainment.

Emma Bartholomew windsurfing at the Gattarella resort. Photo Emily Morgan.Emma Bartholomew windsurfing at the Gattarella resort. Photo Emily Morgan.

Even if dancing isn’t your thing you’ll be hard pressed not to find something that suits, from golf to windsurfing, horseriding and tennis, mountain biking, BMX, swimming classes as well as a kids club.

Brave-hearted Italian speakers could even take comedy classes.

Just minutes after setting foot there my 12-year old twins joined in with the daily Vans skate boarding session, starting off the whirlwind holiday the way we meant to carry on.

My sons, already keen skaters here in London, tapped into the wealth of knowledge of the four Vans instructors on-hand to learn a “power slide”.

With the adults fuelled with the breakfast Cappuccinos the Italians do so well, and my sons from their own natural energy – despite their protests to join in the coffee drinking - we threw ourselves wholeheartedly into the programme, barely stopping only to sleep at night.

I hadn’t windsurfed since I was a teenager, but soon got back into the swing of tacking under the guidance of Luca.

Giovanni meanwhile is the golf-fanatic, who drove us in his four by four over the road to the range, carved out amongst the ancient olive trees.

If you do get a few minutes out of the packed schedule to laze on your personal beach lounger, you can take in the breathtaking eye-candy of the Gargano National Park, with its emerald pine trees flanked by the azure blue sea.

The resort is cleverly hidden into the hillside, and apparently can’t even be seen from the air.

We were booked into the hotel, which is in fact a series of chalets built up the hillside, from where you go for meals at one of the two centrally located restaurants and pizzeria.

They’re all no further than a few minutes walk, although if you time it right you can jump on one of the little buses constantly lapping the resort.

Our chalet accommodation was really modern and we made the most of our veranda, eating lunch there we had bought from the supermarket, which is stocked up with food every bit as tasty as you’d expect from this land of food connoisseurs.

We were so tired by the end of the day we didn’t ever make it to evening entertainment.

But I like to imagine that as we were deep in slumber Luca, Giovanni and Lisa were sneaking into the staff after party, watermelons in hand.


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