MASSERIE: Hospitality in the charming farmhouses of Apulia - Adriano Bacchella Mariateresa Montaruli Preface by Edoardo Winspeare - 2009 

Discover all Apulia has to offer besides the sea by staying in the old masseria (farmhouses converted into elegant guest houses or bed and breakfast).Built in the 12th century, when the Normans imposed a feudal order to maintain control of the territory and prevent the feudatories from gaining too much power, for centuries the masserie of Apulia were perfectly self-contained microcosms. They were protected by high walls, built around a large courtyard, with a main house, the massaro's house, sometimes a small church, water cistern, stable, and haylofts. Still today these masserie of Puglia represent the umbilical cord between land, man and labour, a combination of functional architecture and farming, which for centuries was totally self-sufficient.It was not until the late 18th century, when the middle class emerged, that the rural domus gradually became a country residence and, ultimately, in the past thirty years, a refined maison d'hôtes (bed and breakfast or agritourisms), a new evolution in the concept of the guest house and five-star luxury.Standing a short distance from that sea which bridges West and East, many of the masserie (old farmhouses) on the Apulian landed estates, gently besieged by ancient olive trees and vineyards, have been converted into guest houses, agritourism or Bed and Breakfast. Their shapes, colours and flavours have remained intact, like their ties to the past, to their roots, to their agricultural traditions.These masserie of Apulia are not simply hotels, but a composite experience made of silence, sensorial exaltation and archaic elements, in a context that is rural yet chic. A new concept of relaxation, born of direct ties with the history, smells, sounds and shapes of unspoilt nature, in which the good food and wine that these masserie of Puglia still produce and offer today, always play an important role.This is a journey to discover a region, Puglia, that offers much more than the sea: it is an encounter between past and present, tradition and innovation, rich in awe-inspiring atmospheres. The masserie hotels sometimes are living museums of rural civilization, and each expresses its own delightful form of hospitality: each with its individual history of architecture, country life and human experience. 

PARCO RURALE TERRA DEI DUE MARI. SALENTO. ITALIA – G.A.L. Capo di Santa Maria di Leuca – 2008 

In the far south of Italy, in the “heel” of the Italian boot (Puglia), lies the “Terra dei due Mari”, The Land of the Two Seas, also known as Cape of Santa Maria di Leuca. It is a unique place, whose ancestral features even today remain shrouded in mystery, and continue to inspire excitement and wonder.Cape of Santa Maria of Leuca at the tip of the Salento peninsula is where the Ionian and Adriatic seas meet. The crystalline waters of the two seas embrace this far-flung strip of land, along whose coastline long stretches of fine sand alternate with imposing jagged rocks.Inland the landscape is at once rugged and beautiful: broad olive groves and small vineyards dotted with fruit trees mark a landscape in which the masseria (ancient apulian farmhouse) and dry-stone walls are a tangible sign of centuries of toil by the region’s peasants. Often accompanied by fig and prickly pear trees, and these walls flank un-metalled roads and winding tracks that lead to prehistoric caves, the ancient stone farmhouses of Salento known as “masserie”, the primitive agricultural buildings known as pajare, countryside churches, votive shrines, chapels, sanctuaries and towns where the nobility have left their mark in the shape of castles and palazzos. 


These photographic Book represent the colours and the soul of this region (Cape of Santa Maria di Leuca, Apulia); they are the result of centuries of harsh toil by the peasants, countless generations of whom worked to remove the stones from the soil and make it fertile. Cultivated fields bounded by labyrinths of dry-stone walls, areas with rocky outcrops, bountiful olive-trees, small patches of woodland now open to the public and ancient farmhouses (called Masserie) all testify to the influence of human beings on the rural landscape, in which for many centuries the soil was the only source of wealth. 

PUGLIA AND BASILICATA - Paula Hardy, Abigail Hole, Olivia Pozzan - Lonely Planet - 2008

The introduction to this well-organized guidebook explains the best times to go to Puglia (April to June and September, October have the best weather).Puglia and Basilicata is a 248-page Lonely Planet guide book to the two regions of southeast Italy located in the heel of Italy's “boot.” Puglia is also called Apulia. Besides good maps, the travel guide features things to see and do, places to stay and eat, with information on culture, history and nature.In the Highlights section, Lonely Planet readers recommend the baroque architecture in Lecce, Trani cathedral, sunrise in Matera, the hilltop ghost town of Craco, Valle d'Itria with hill towns like Locorotondo, Cisternino, Alberobello, vineyards and trulli, wonderful shores in Salento, the Otranto – Santa Maria di Leuca Coast Regional Park.An Outdoor activities table lists what to do (e.g., hiking at Matera Gravina to see Rupestrian cave churches, boat trips to seaside caves at Castro Marina and Santa Maria di Leuca, visit bauxite cave in Otranto, cycling in the Salento countryside, where you can taste Primitivo and Negroamaro wines. Other things to do in Puglia include enjoying wonderful “masseria (ancient fortified farmhouse), lunches at “agriturismo” in Salento, ecc…Lonely Planet Puglia and Basilicata features color photos of regional highlights and a two-page colour relief map. Symbols identify hotels, restaurants, agritourisms, bed and breakfasts, masserie of Apulia. 

MASSERIE LIVING & HOSTING – A.A.V.V. – Congedo Editore - 2007

Many masserie (ancient farmhouses), an architecture typical of rural Puglia, have recently "betrayed" their natural vocation in order to become the setting for experimentation and design workshops. Those that were once just farmhouses, surrounded by a luxuriant nature, rearing livestock and producing olive oil, wines and cheeses, today are also retreats, offering accommodation for people coming from afar (bed and breakfasts, maison d’hotes, country guesthouses, agritourisms) , while others have become private country houses. The idea is to explore, in an illustrated guide to the exteriors and interiors of thirty or so of these fascinating buildings, just what these traditional apulian masserie have become: in their respect for or rejection of the past, in the search for new materials or the reuse of old, and the introduction of bold new combinations or the accurate reconstruction of spacing belonging to a distant past. Not only: in "Masserie: Living & Hosting" many stories are recounted. Stories of old rural family houses rediscovered and transformed into dwellings for ali seasons. Stories of returning home to Apulia after years spent abroad. Stories of contemporary architects who have chosen these manor houses as the setting for their design experimentation. Stories of lives and endeavours. Stories of falling in love with an unknown land, unexpectedly felt to be home. Stories of infatuations, reconciliations and many other sensations. These photographs by Walter Leonardi – make us dream. They are an invitation to the reader to discover the masserie of Puglia!

Masseria Uccio B&B © 2008 (Chambres d'Hotes - Agritourisme) Coste Otranto Santa Maria di Leuca - Salento - Pouilles
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