“A 15th-century boho-chic masseria near the sea, with beach-style pool, ancient olive groves and a relaxed vibe”
It's been in the Amati family for 200 years and the current owner added his own eclectic touches to the 1981 restoration, while maintaining its prized olive oil production. You'll find, in the stone-flagged drawing room, a gleaming 1950's MotoGuzzi beside the huge-wheeled frantoio (oil press); in the rustic rooms and suites scattered about the tower and outhouses, a vigorous mix of Puglian whitewash and burnt pastels, of brightly quilted stone beds and classic muslin-draped four-posters. A fun, bohemian and totally unpretentious place.
- A wonderful arrival: past century-old olive groves, through a monumental gate and into a court dominated by a four-square ochre tower
- Pretty but not overdecorated rooms, a mix of boho-chic and historic grandeur
- Family-friendly, with a choice of suites for up to 5 people, including some with kitchenettes
- Sat between Fasano and the sea, you're well placed to explore the area's pretty beaches and charming hill-top towns
- All the ingredients of a masseria - 500-year-old tower, vaulted rooms, olive groves, sea horizons - but none of the pretentions of its pricier neighbours
- The constant hum of traffic from the nearby motorway can shatter the illusion of rural bliss
- Rooms in the courtyard-facing outhouses are simpler, and others are quite a walk from the hotel facilities
- The restaurant closes for winter, has received mixed feedback and only serves a set menu – but our 2017 experience was amazing...
- WiFi is only available in the reception area – not in rooms or other communal areas
- Staff are stretched to the point of being noticeably absent
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Guesthouse
- Restaurant (seasonal) and bar
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Daily Maid Service
- Towels & Bedlinen
- Concierge Service
- Bicycles Available
The 18 rooms and suites are scattered between the main tower, some courtyard-facing stable blocks, and a couple of outhouses tucked among olive groves 200-500m from the main building.
Those in the tower are the most impressive, with tall star vaults painted earthy red or pale yellow on the side walls, and whitewashed above. Rooms in the outhouses are lower and lack the wow factor, but they're still spacious. Smooth cement floors are covered in thick sheepskins; ancient vaults are washed in pale plum, burnt sienna or sky blue; beds are the traditional Puglian mattress-on-a-cement-base. The feel is rustic. All rooms have ensuite shower rooms, air-conditioning, a small TV (but no WiFi) and some form of terrace or patio (shared, in some cases).
Standard Rooms are straightforward doubles (suitable for 2-3), Standard Suites have a second room with up to 2 single sofabeds, which can be used as a living room or twin bedroom (suitable for 4-5 total). The 2 Suite Dependance (Isola Grande and Piccola), are set in an olive grove about 5 minutes’ away - a tad isolated but certainly more private.
The Superior Suites in the tower have lovely views: we stayed in sea-view Don Vittorio, but we also loved Don Ferdinando, which has an in-room sunken Jacuzzi - great for romantics. The 2 outhouse Suite Depedance olive grove view (Falco and Volpe, 2-3 minutes' walk away) have a simple kitchen, with narrow sofas that double up as kids' beds. Handy for families, but be aware that it edges a former quarry, with a sharp drop beyond the low perimeter wall.
- Air conditioning
- Central heating
- Cots Available
- Extra beds
In nice weather, meals are taken on the terrace overlooking a walled garden peppered with old olive trees; on chillier days there’s a vaulted dining room. Whilst some feedback on the food has been lacklustre, our dinner experience was incredible – the best meal of our trip by far. We opted for the fish set menu, and we were deluged by plate upon plate of the most beautifully cooked fresh seafood. The freshest anchovies we’ve ever had, handmade focaccia, light prawns on a green bean mash, scallops on white bean puree, baked sea bream with parmesan covered courgette, seafood risotto…the list goes on. Nothing pretentious, just good home cooked Puglian food at its best – with the freshest ingredients doing the talking. You’ll need to tell reception whether you’re going to be eating in for lunch or dinner in advance. The restaurant is open seasonally (March-October); you’ll need to tell reception whether you’re going to be eating in for lunch or dinner in advance.
Breakfast is a simpler but more than adequate Italian buffet, including homemade cakes and pastries, cheese, yoghurt and fruit, plus fresh coffee. Two of the suites have kitchenettes, with sinks, electric hobs, basic pots and crockery - enough for breakfast, salads or heating baby food. There's also a lounge-bar area for a nightcap (but good luck finding the barman)…
If you forget to book ahead, or visit out of season, there are good local restaurants in the surrounding towns and coastline. There's a comprehensive list at reception, but options include a cave-restaurant in the medieval seaside town of Polignano, a Michelin-starred hideaway in the village of Ceglie Messapica and an acclaimed family restaurant with vast subterranean wine cellar in the trulli-town of Alberobello.
- Children's meals
- Dinner by arrangement
- Lunch by arrangement
- You're well placed to explore the Adriatic and the white towns of trulli country. The area has some of Italy's loveliest beaches. We also loved both Ostuni (beautiful hilltop town) and Polignano al Mare (clifftop medieval town with little swimming coves) - both within a 30-minute drive
- Tour the museum and archaeological park of Egnazia (8km): a 2,500-year-old Messapian port with over 2km of walls, still standing up to 7 metres high in places; plus later ruins of a Roman amphitheatre, temples and halls
- Hike the pristine horseshoe bays of Torre Guaceto nature reserve (30 mins' drive and a short walk); there's 7km of turquoise shores and flowering maquis, passing a 16th-century watchtower and spotting wetland birds, kingfishers, tortoises and lizards
- The more sheltered waters (if it's blowing from north or east) of the Ionian coast near Taranto; Pulsano and Gallipoli have stunning azure shallows (1 hour's drive)
- Fasano (10 mins' drive), whose medieval centre comes alive for its Wednesday market; up the hill is Selva di Fasano, a lush beauty spot with restaurants
- Alberobello has the best concentration of trulli houses, although it is quite touristy. Martina Franca is best for Baroque palazzi and shopping, while Locorotondo and Cisternino are best for white winding alleys)
- Horse-riding from the agriturismo of Il Frantoio (near Ostuni)
- Back at the borgo, visit the property's restored byzantine frescoes or cool off in the lake-edged pool
- Better yet, unwind in the gorgeous spa, with Turkish bath, warm and cold Jacuzzis, and a visiting therapist who can offer massages (Thai, Gestalt, Hot Stone etc), Ayurvedic treatment, Foot Reflexology, and Reiki
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Cooking classes
- Horse riding
Children of all ages are welcome and will love the beach-edge pool and spacious grounds - all those trees are perfect for hide and seek!
Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)
Family friendly accommodation:
Standard Rooms (sleeps 2-3) have space for a baby cot or extra bed; some can can interconnect.
Most families will be glad of the extra space afforded by a Standard Room for 4-5, where a second room serves the dual purpose of living room and kids’ bedroom. The Suite Dependance olive grove view (Falco and Volpe) are in a secluded outhouse (200m away) and sleep 4. They have a kitchenette and patio gardens, but the steep drop over the neighbouring wall makes them unsuitable for toddlers. Suite Depedance Isola Grade and Isola Piccola are in a secluded building 600m from the main house.
Babysitting available by arrangement; English-speaking babysitters can be arranged if requested
- Baby cots
- High chair
- Bottle warming
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
The suites with kitchenettes have basic cooking food prep facilities (hob, sink), enough to heat baby food but not much more. There is a microwave available for guests who need it. Food is available all day long, there is an early supper for children and plenty of nearby eateries.
Kids Activities on site:
- Toddler-friendly swimming pool with shallow end
- Hot tub
- Outdoor playground and a large garden to explore
- Farm animals nearby
Kids Activities nearby:
- Zoo safari, the biggest zoo in Europe, is 4km away
- Horse riding
Families Should Know:
There are some steep steps on site, including a steep drop behind the wall adjacent to the 2 Suite Dependance with kitchenettes (Falco and Volpe). The Don Ferdinando Suite has an in-room sunken Jacuzzi and is not recommended for families with small children.
- Airport: 45 minutes
- Doctor: 5 minutes
Borgo San Marco is just outside the town of Fasano, in Puglia, southern Italy.
The closest airports are Brindisi (45km / 40 minutes) and Bari (55km / 50 minutes). Borgo San Marco can arrange transfers from both airports, but we'd recommend hiring a car to explore the wider area.
There are trains from Rome to Fasano (but not direct), but you'll struggle to explore without a car.
Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.com.
Read our guide to Getting to Italy and Getting around
- Brindisi 45.0 km BDS
- Bari 55.0 km BRI
- Beach 2.0 km
- Shops 3.0 km
- Restaurant 3.0 km