Puglia, at Italy’s heel, is a flat landscape of rich red soil planted with tomatoes and artichokes, and piqued with centuries old olive trees with huge, round, gnarled trunks. Here dry stone walls and the wonderfully circular and unique trulli buildings are the only thing between you and the horizon, unless you count a glorious hotel pool in the foreground; or maybe a magical-looking white hilltop town which you can see from the generously proportioned balcony of your masseria, the name for the region’s elegantly fortified farmhouses characterised by a tall, square central bock and a series of outbuildings…
Today’s masseria hotels range accordingly from five-star places with swanky spas, gourmet restaurants and endless services and facilities, to relatively modest guesthouses offering a back to nature experience and homely food. With prices that vary accordingly. Here’s five fabulous masserie handpicked by The Hotel Guru:
In Gob-smackingly Gorgeous Rural Puglia
Where to Stay?
Just look at that image… Doesn’t Lama di Luna Biomasseria look like the kind of place you could really, properly relax in? This 19th Century farmhouse with its original stone walls and nine spacious suites has been beautifully decorated, and the tranquil and secluded location is peaceful and romantic. There’s more than a hint of Feng-Shui here, plus a focus on unwinding and making one feel well. Rooms start from around €160 per night.
Practical Details: Lama di Luna is just outside Andria. Its closest airport is Bari, which is great for Luton airport if you’re coming from the UK. Alternatively you could fly via Naples or catch the train via Paris, which takes less than 19 hours ex-St. Pancras, London.
Warm in summer, but not scorching, Puglia isn’t too cold come winter either, but if you’re looking for sunshine and warmth then July, August and September are the best time of year to visit — especially if you want to swim in the sea… So many reasons for us to start packing our bags.
Masseria Salinola is a refurbished 16th century farmhouse in the stunning Apulian countryside, but it’s close enough to the white-hilltop-town of Ostuni to offer the best of both the countryside and the town. There are just ten rooms, decorated with antique furnishings and personal-feeling details by the family who have owned and run this hotel for generations. It’s rustic, but also very, very comfortable. And beyond the gardens and organic kitchen garden you’re surrounded by the masseria’s own olive groves. They say try the orecchiette con cime di rapa and local wines. Rooms start from around €168 per night.
Practical Details: Of all the ways to get to Ostuni from the UK one of the best looks to be via Brindisi Airport, from which you can travel on to Brindisi station and finally take the bus onwards to Ostuni. Or get a car or a cab from the airport. Or take the train all the way: via London and Paris it’s a journey that takes under 20 hours.
Stay in a Traditional Trulli
A trullo, or, if there are more than one of them, which there usually are: a group of trulli, are the traditional Apulian barn or peasant dwelling: a dry stone hut with a conical roof. When you seen them you’ll know you’ve hit Puglia, and there are a lot of them around, dotted across fields as shelters or storehouses, or homes for farm labourers. Most of them are whitewashed, with a single large room inside. More importantly for visitors to Puglia they’re extremely charming, plus relatively cool inside, and many have been very successfully turned into mini hotel apartments across the region.
Where to Stay?
The Masseria Fumarola offers a charming old farmhouse with additional accommodation in the rustic trulli — though some are quite luxurious, with private terraces and mezzanine levels. The white on white decor is both rustic and chic in this rustic setting surrounded by olive groves and chestnut trees, and the fireplaces sit comfortably next to all the latest gadgets. There’s also a great restaurant and a lovely pool. Rooms start from €155 per night.
Masseria Cervarolo is a charming farmhouse in stunning grounds, and its outlying traditional trulli buildings act as the rooms and suites, giving this guests a feeling of privacy. Each of the six suites and 12 rooms are whitewashed and have four-poster beds and simple but elegant furniture. And the grounds are enormous, with terraces and a huge pool. They also offer yoga and cooking classes, so it’s a great place to come to relax. Rooms start from €175 per night.
Practical Details: Masseria Cervarolo is close to Ostuni, so travel is via Brindisi or Bari — see above.
Practical Details: Martina Franca is the closest centre to the Masseria Fumarola and is reached via airports at Brindisi, Bari or Naples. Or by train via London and Paris.
The Best of Masseria Luxury
Where to Stay?
Masseria Bagnara is luxurious and glamorous: chic, white and contemporary, but with rough stone and whitewashed walls, and rural views with their blending of gritty soil and rows of growth. The masseria’s 15 rooms, with their crisp linens and luxurious bathrooms, are surrounded by the countryside, which offers plenty of entertainment as well as views and opportunities to stop and unwind. And there’s a fantastic restaurant with fabulous wines. Rooms start from €180 per night.
Practical Details: Marina di Lizzano, on the coast, is the closest centre, and again you have the option of travelling via Bari, Brindisi or Naples. Or by train via London and Paris.
The Hotel Guru has done your research for you. We’ve commissioned a collection of leading travel writers and journalists to offer their recommendations on where to stay, found out all the important, and minute, details about each property, and then cross referenced that with guides we respect. So if having a hot tub is important to you you can search by that, likewise pet-friendly properties and hotels with a great wine list.