“Hugely hospitable 15th-century masseria near the sea, with flower-fringed lawns, beach-style pool, ancient olive groves and atmospheric boho-chic rooms”
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.
Tower rooms 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 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-chic but not overly polished. All rooms have ensuite shower rooms, air-conditioning, a small TV (but no phone) 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 wonderfully isolated feel.
There are Superior Suites in the tower have lovely views, but our favourite was the Don Ferdinando Suite, which has a sunken Jacuzzi in the bedroom - great for romantics, less so for toddlers. 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.
Chef Peppino Palmisano used to run a popular restaurant in Fasano, and his aubergines with parmesan alla pugliese made him something of a local celebrity; so Alessandro was understandably proud of coaxing him to the Borgo, where he cooks up a storm alongside Lina Cucci. Peppino's equally (and justifiably) proud of his baked pepperoni and mussels, his oven-roasted sea bream with black olives, and his wire-thin fricelli (durum-wheat pasta) with cauliflower. There's nothing overly fancy about his cuisine - just good local ingredients prepared using traditional recipes and served fresh. You’ll need to tell reception whether you’re going to be eating in for lunch or dinner in advance. The meals are served buffet style, so you can help yourself to a fairly wide variety of primi and secondi dishes such as stuffed peppers and roast chicken with potatoes. The restaurant is open seasonally, from the beginning of March until the end of October.
Breakfast is a simpler but more than adequate buffet, including homemade cakes and croissants, with the additional option of ordering cooked breakfasts. Two of the suites have kitchenettes, with sinks, electric hobs, basic pots and crockery - enough for breakfast, salads or heating baby food, but not much more.
If you forget to book ahead, or visit out of season, don't panic - there are stacks of good restaurants in the surrounding towns and coastline, from top-notch fish dineries to spit-and-sawdust pizzerias. There's a comprehensive list at reception, but to whet your appetite, some of the options are: a cave-restaurant in the medieval seaside town of Polignano, a Michelin-starred hideaway in the village of Ceglie Messapica, a 10-course 3-hour feast of freshness at a local agriturismo, and an acclaimed family restaurant with vast subterranean wine cellar in the trulli-town of Alberobello.
Being just off the SS379 highway between Fasano and the sea, you're well placed to explore both the Adriatic - which has some of Italy's loveliest beaches - and the white towns of trulli country. You'll need a car, obviously, though they do have some (rather old) bicycles for local exploration. Local attractions include:
Children of all ages are welcome here, and will love the beach-edge pool with its hidden corners, the spacious grounds (all those trees - perfect for hide and seek!) and the friendly, laid-back staff. Having said that, the atmosphere is a tranquil one, so you might prefer to book a room in one of the more secluded suites (see below).
Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)
Standard Rooms for 2-3 have space for a baby cot or extra bed, so they’re best for small families. Within this category, Isola Grade and Isola Piccola are in the secluded building 600m from the main house, while Vescovo Matrimoniale and Vescovo Doppia can interconnect (good for families with older children).
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.
Suites Don Vittorio and Del Moro have space for 4 (plus a baby). Suite Don Ferdinando sleeps 3 (plus a baby) in two rooms and has a jacuzzi. Falco and Volpe are in a secluded outhouse (200m away) and have four beds, a kitchenette for preparing light snacks, and patio gardens, but those with small, mobile children may want to avoid these suites due to the steep drop over the neighbouring wall.
Babysitting available by arrangement - see rates. English-speaking babysitters can be arranged if requested.
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.
There are some steep steps on site, including a steep drop behind the wall adjacent to the 2 suites with kitchenettes (Falco and Volpe). The Don Ferdinando suite has an in-room sunken Jacuzzi and is not recommended for families with small children.