Masseria Apulia

near Ostuni, Puglia & Basilicata, Italy Book from

Reviewed by Abigail Blasi
Traditional and contemporary, glamorous and rustic: a gorgeous trulli villa that’s perfect for friends and families (sleeps 8-10)
This glorious villa is in the Valle d’Itria region, Puglia at its most fascinating and pastoral: all rolling hills, meadows and ancient olive groves. And among them the trulli: witch-hat shaped buildings that look like something out of a fairytale. Rebuilt by Austro-Italian architects Bricchi Marksteiner, this is a small masseria (farmhouse) that encompasses 2 trulli, as pale as if they’ve been sprinkled by icing sugar. The buildings are a wonderful combination of simple curves and straight lines, permeated by pale, tranquil minimalism. Big French windows allow light and air to flood through the space - even in summer, there’s usually a breeze.

The house is perched on a hillside, with views over valleys to the hilltop towns of Cisternino and Locorotondo; olive, almond, apricot, fig, pear and pomegranate trees, lavender and shrubs dot its 2-acre grounds - which includes a small vineyard of heritage grapes. Below the outdoor dining area is a large lake-style swimming pool, which can lead to a tricky choice: whether to wallow around the edge or jump into the luscious deep centre.


  • Perfect for families or friends, with 4 charming bedrooms plus a sofabed
  • Traditional Pugliese architecture spectacularly converted, with contemporary, stylish furnishings inside
  • This region still feels truly Italian
  • The owner provides a great villa book with tons of local information
  • Easy to reach: 45 mins from Brindisi airport, 1.5 hours from Bari
  • Well set-up for self-catering, with lovely outdoor eating area and Trani-marble table, welcome hamper on arrival


  • Not a complete retreat, there are a couple of other villas in sight (though they're not always inhabited)
  • The twin rooms lie off the main areas so may be subject to noise
  • Not near the sea (the nearest beach is 20 mins’ drive away)

Best time to go

Puglia’s finest hour is spring (May-June), when the weather’s perfect, wild flowers run riot and the beaches and towns are relatively uncrowded. September and October are also great, especially as the sea has warmed up over the summer. Puglia is packed and baking in August, rather less so in July, but this is also prime time for the region’s many music and food festivals.

Our top tips

Go wine tasting in Locorotondo and other local towns or take authentic cooking lessons; the owners can arrange.

Great for...

  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Villa
  • 4
  • Self-catering (+ meals available on request)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Bicycles Available
  • Laundry Service
  • Mid-week cleaning service


There are 2 double and 2 twin rooms. The trullo double has an impressive black-lacquered Lombok 4-poster bed, which draws the eye up to the high-ceilinged pale-stone dome. The ensuite has double sinks and a large, square-cornered bath plus shower. The second double has additional privacy, as it’s separate from the main house, in a traditional building known as a lamia. This room has a spectacular Venetian blind-shaded view across olive groves from a large plate-glass window, and an ensuite bathroom, again with double sinks and big sunken bath and shower.

The twins are back in the main house, leading off the main living area, with French windows giving onto the front or back of the house. They share a central bathroom, which has a large round tub and shower. Floors throughout are Cisternino limestone. There's air-con throughout.

The lounge and dining room are open plan, with cream leather sofas centred on a minimalist open fireplace in the sitting room and a large oak dining table.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Barbeque
  • Bluetooth sound system
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Dishwasher
  • Dvd player
  • Fireplace
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Ipod dock
  • Oven
  • Radio
  • Washing machine
  • WiFi


The open-plan kitchen is a self-caterer’s delight, with state-of-the-art appliances and lots of work surface and cupboard space. It leads onto the dining room with its large Rovere dining table. Basic ingredients are in the cupboards (like salt, pepper, dried herbs etc) and you'll receive a welcome pack that includes wine, bread, butter, olive oil, eggs, coffee, tea, milk, pasta and fruit.

The external dining area has a spectacular table hewn out of Trani marble - it’s thought to weigh around 4.5 tons, so don’t try to pick it up! There’s also an external kitchen (hobs and work services) and barbecue. There's a small grocery store a 3-minute drive away or you can head to Cisternino for its supermarket (10-minute drive).

If you don’t feel like cooking, however, the owners can arrange for a chef to come in - a practice that's had excellent reviews in the visitors’ book. Most guests like to try Pugliese cuisine and leave it to the chef to conjure up a menu, but they will happily cook to requirement if you prefer. Otherwise there are some recommended restaurants in nearby towns, all tried and tested and listed in the villa book. Note that John makes his own wine and extra virgin olive oil, which is available to purchase.

Features include:

  • Chef on request
  • Children meals
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • In house cook
  • Oven


  • Roam around trulli country - where the hills are dotted with squat cone-shaped buildings, scrub, olive and fruit trees - on foot, by bike or horseback. (Recommended bike hire is available and the company will deliver)
  • Meander through the narrow cobbled streets of beautiful white-stone Ostuni, graceful Martina Franca, Locorotondo and Cisternino, and hang out in their bars and restaurants
  • Visit one of the region's many vineyards and pick up some excellent wines - John has his own just 4km away (planted with a rare indigenous red grape grown in the traditional Alberello manner)
  • Laze by the pool or head to the beaches on the Adriatic coast or the more rugged Ionian coast. If you're into watersports, this is your chance to go windsurfing
  • Visit trulli capital, the Unesco World Heritage Site Alberobello, stubby-cone tower central
  • Shop at a local market, stocking up on delicious local specialities and drinking in the atmosphere
  • They can also ask a masseuse to visit, or experts in tai chi and yoga who can put your through your stretches with a one-to-one class

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Windsurfing
  • Wine tasting
  • Yoga


Children are very welcome at this private villa. It sleeps 8 in total and they have 2 cots to borrow if you need. It is probably better for older children than younger ones, primarily because of the steps and unfenced pool, but if you're happy to keep an eye on little ones, it shouldn't be a problem.

What to do? Have a relaxing family holiday, cook together, eat together in the sun or shade, and swim in the pool. Take daytrips to the sea or nearby villages and enjoy each others' company. This is a great place for 2 families to holiday together.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Trullo is the largest bedroom if you want to add a cot but all rooms can take one. The rooms are all doubles or twins and all bathrooms have a bathtub.


Available by arrangement with English-speaking sitter. See Rates.

Baby equipment:

  • 2 cots available to borrow
  • High chair

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

It's a great place for family cooking, with a fabulously-equipped modern kitchen (including microwave), barbecue and outdoor kitchen, nearby well-equipped mini-market just 2 minutes' drive away, and the option of takeaway food or a visiting chef. There are restaurants, markets and shops in Martina Franca, Cisternino and Ceglie Messapica, just a 10 minutes drive away.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Swimming pool (unfenced)
  • Children's DVD

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Alberobello (40 minutes' drive) has some perfectly pint-sized trulli to captivate children
  • The beaches on the Adriatic coast, 30 minutes' drive away, have sandy shelving beaches
  • Zoo Safari in Fasano, 20 minutes away (wildlife and theme park)
  • The Grottoes of Castellana (1 hour's drive)

Families Should Know:

The pool is unfenced and there are a lot of steps and small drops in the villa garden area.


  • Airport: 1 hour
  • Hospital: 10 minutes
  • Shops: 2 minutes
Kid Friendly:

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