“A paragon of eco-minimalism: an 18th-century fortified estate with monastically calm bedrooms, pure and perfect food, and 190 hectares of organic heaven”
If you're wondering how there come to be so many chimneys, the answer is that the masseria once housed no fewer than 26 tenant-farmer families, each living in what is now one guest bedroom, warmed by its own fireplace. Pietro has converted many of the spaces to reading rooms and workshops, leaving just 8 guest bedrooms, a Family Suite, plus 2 luxurious Wellness Suites - so don't worry, there's not the slightest feeling of crowdedness anymore!
The 6 Coloni Rooms are in the north wing: they are simpler and taller, with wooden beds aligned according to fengshui principles, and electric wiring arranged to go in spokes rather than rings to avoid creating magnetic fields. The 2 Murgia rooms are in the south wing: a tad larger (and more expensive), with magnificent 19th-century brass beds and curving roof vaults made from clay cylinders to create a smooth, rounded look. Wellness Suites offer a Jacuzzi and Turkish bath - very romantic.
Bedrooms are monastically pure and simple, pared down to what you might call natural luxury. Walls of chunky undressed stone alternate with warm orange-ochre limewash, and you can light the massive corner hearth during the cooler months. It's all very cosy. Ensuite bathrooms come with shower or tub, a pretty ceramic basin on a wooden stand, and soap made from his own olive oil.
A suitably pure and organic breakfast is laid on, served in a separate building with a circular stone oven, or on its terrace looking over endless olive groves. Expect lots of fresh fruit (whatever's in season), some local cheeses, bruschetta and fresh bread, a little saucer of yoghurt and honey, pots of orange or quince jam and maybe a cake, these last made by Pietro's helper Sara. It's a fine start to the day.
Pietro also organises occasional communal dinners, especially when the place is full, and often involving DIY pizzas grilled to a crisp in the huge round oven (very popular with younger guests).
But, without wishing to detract at all from this, the culinary highlight of the area - and you should ask Pietro to book it at the same time as your room - is the tiny but truly outstanding Antichi Sapori restaurant in the hamlet of Montegrosso (2km). It was without doubt the best meal we had in Puglia, well worthy of a Michelin star, and not as expensive as you'd think. What you get is a glorious sequence of 20 mini-dishes, all using traditional Puglian recipes prepared with panache and passion by a trio of chefs - all brothers.
Children of all ages are welcome; cots and extra beds are available. There are free mountain bikes and farm activities to keep them entertained, and beaches 20-30km away
There's a Family Suite and Family Wellness Suite which can sleep up to 4 plus a baby. All the other rooms can sleep up to 3 with the use of an extra bed or sofabed.
Baby cots available on request
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking