Whether you are traveling through Otranto or Ostuni, Castel del Monte or Lucera, the Apulian countryside is dotted with bare-stone estates reminiscent of a glorious past: the masserie.
Sun-drenched Puglia is becoming a treasure trove of architectural beauties, and the legacy of a traditional masseria is always connected with the surrounding farming culture and unique rural civilization.
A masseria is essentially a country farmhouse, however adorned with artistic stuccos and a distinctive architectural style, sometimes simply rustic, or Romanesque, and even Baroque in Salento. There are several documents proving that activities inside these rural farms are a legacy of Roman times, and such traditions continued under the Saracen domination and Swabian-Angevin period throughout Puglia.
Surrounded by verdant vineyards or endless groves of olive trees – and often an astounding combination of the two – the masseria is a typical fortified domestic structure of brick and stone, sometimes dating back to the Middle Ages. Both austere and luxurious, as is the case of some masseria turned into sumptuous hotels and resorts, these estates are nowadays world renowned for their posh atmosphere, spacious ambience and uncompromising original charm, sporting majestic stone fireplaces, churchlike arched hallways, splendid marble or mosaic floors, and spectacular archaeological heritage sites.