Masseria Fumarola

Near Martina Franca, Puglia & Basilicata, Italy Book from

Reviewed by Abigail Blasi
A rambling, family run farm turned tranquil trulli hotel, surrounded by olive and fruit trees
The Valle d’Itria is one of the prettiest areas of Puglia, the sun-splashed heel of the Italian boot. Its olive groves hide ancient fortified farms and sugar-cube houses, and whitewashed towns spill down its rolling hills towards vineyards and orchards.

This is the bucolic setting for Masseria Fumarola, a traditional house topped with 11 trulli (the cone-shaped constructions so iconic of this part of the world). Once a working farm run by the grandmother of present owner Anna, and converted into a hotel by Anna’s architect father, this family affair is a rustic yet sumptuous retreat. The rooms and suites, spread across the main building and a scattering of outhouses, are soothing and spacious, with sitting areas, flat-screen TVs and fireplaces under domed ceilings. Outside are terraces encircled by chestnut and olive trees, a pool that’s large enough for laps, and an organic garden where fruit and vegetables are grown for the restaurant. It’s a stylish slice of rural Italian life, a place to savour simple delights: dappled sunlight on your skin, a poolside siesta in the shade of a prickly-pear tree, a glass of local wine at sunset, and the chatter of birds from the masseria’s 6 hectares of private woodland.

Highs

  • A beautiful and sensitive renovation, with bags of character - we particularly liked the lofty stone arches of the Trullo Sovrano suite, and the sunken sleeping area in Palmento 2, where grapes were once crushed
  • Fantastic food, served in the farm’s former manger hall or outside on the candlelit terrace; produce is local, and the desserts are divine
  • A tranquil and intimate ambiance, ideal for romantic escapes
  • Wonderfully secluded, yet an easy drive from Brindisi or Bari airport and within day-tripping distance of dazzling Ostuni, one of Puglia's prettiest hilltowns
  • Helpful and unobtrusive service, with a personal feel

Lows

  • It could be too peaceful for some, with little to do in the immediate vicinity other than laze by the pool
  • Dinners are a set menu, though dietary requirements can be catered for
  • You’ll need a car, and if you fancy a change of scene one evening you’ll have to drive to the nearest restaurants (4km away in the small town of Martina Franca)
  • The nearest beach is a 40-minute drive away
  • We've had feedback that the masseria lacks atmosphere when not full

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 crowd-free. September and October are also warm and sunny. High season runs from July to August, when Puglia is packed and baking but at its liveliest, with food and music festivals in towns across the area. The masseria is closed from November to March.

Our top tips

Bring plenty of good books - this is the perfect spot for stretching out and enjoying doing very little. Come evening, head into Martina Franca and join the locals for the time-honoured ritual of the passeggiata (evening stroll), when the town’s cobbled streets come alive with chatter and buskers.

Great for...

Foodie
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 13
  • Breakfast (+ other meals on request)
  • All ages welcome
  • Closed: 9 Dec 2015 - 24 Mar 2016...
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Bicycles Available
Room: Suite L - Massaro 2

Rooms

Rooms are furnished in soft colours and calming creams that sit beautifully with the pale stone of the buildings. The style is rustic, with wrought-iron beds, shuttered windows, simple wooden wardrobes and flagstone floors, but there are modern comforts in the form of flat-screen TVs, DVD players, air conditioning and minibars.

The smallest are the 3 Junior Suites - Vignale 1, 2 and 3 - which are located between the farmyard and the orchard, and have white-washed ceilings, fireplaces, armchairs and private terraces with tables and chairs. Their bathrooms have walk-in showers, large sinks, hairdryers and complimentary toiletries.

Slightly larger are the 2 Suites. Arco is covered in gleaming white limestone and opens onto the former farmyard, while Vallone is situated in a separate building nearby with views over the private wood.

The biggest rooms are the 9 Suites L. We particularly liked Palmento 1, 2 and 3, which are sleek spaces created out of the ancient wine-making area. In Palmento 2 you descend down 3 steps to the sunken bed, where grapes were once crushed; and the fireplace in Palmento 3 was formerly used for mulling wine. The bathrooms in these 3 suites all have bathtubs and showers. Massaro Vecchio has 3 domes over the bedroom, bathroom and sitting room - the latter is set in an alcove where you can snuggle around the imposing fireplace, and the bathroom has a very big walk-in shower. Massaro 1 and 2 are very spacious with high, arched ceilings; the latter has its bed on a wooden mezzanine floor. Bosco has 2 rooms topped by conical roofs and looks out over a small garden to the masseria's private woodland. Then there’s Casello, a nicely secluded suite set in a separate building that was once a cart house, while Massaro 1 and 1 are very spacious with high, arched ceilings; the latter has its bed on a wooden mezzanine floor. Perhaps the most characterful of all, though, is Trullo Sovrano, which is filled with pale, rustic arches and is entered through the centre of the main building.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fireplace
  • Hairdryer
  • Iron
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

Meals are served in the former manger hall, a prettily rustic space furnished with antiques, fine cutlery and crisp tablecloths. You can also eat outside on the terrace that runs alongside the garden, lit by candles at night. The courteous waiting staff wear old-fashioned maid-like uniforms, which gives the sense that you're eating at a grand country house.

Dinners are available on request and are a set menu but you can let staff know of any preferences or dietary requirements beforehand. They begin with a splendid antipasti buffet featuring ricotta, lampascone (shallots), olives, roasted peppers, aubergine with capers, salamis and local cheeses. The primo (first course) might include a handmade pasta dish with fresh seasonal produce, while the secondi could be roast pork with potatoes or meatballs. It’s all excellent, and the crowning glory when we dined was the heavenly chocolate and ricotta cake for dessert.

Breakfast is a buffet of fresh juices, pastries, cold cuts and delicious homemade cakes. Light pasta dishes and salads using vegetables from the garden are available for lunch. You can also tuck into snacks and aperitivi (early evening nibbles) by the pool, or head to the vaulted bar for a glass of local wine by the fireplace.

If you don’t fancy eating in, there are restaurants aplenty in Martina Franca, 4km away. Anna recommends Nausikaa, Ciacco and La Locanda degli Artieri, all of which serve a tempting range of antipasti, pasta dishes and pizzas.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner on request
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Organic produce
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Lounge around or dive into the masseria’s pretty pool, snooze on the shaded terraces, or wander through the private woodland (there’s a jogging track through the trees if you’re feeling energetic)

  • Rent one of the masseria's bikes and explore the rolling countryside surrounding the farm, with its twisted olive trees, dry stone walls and valleys dotted with trulli

  • Visit the elegant medieval town of Martina Franca, only 4km away, with its 14th-century walls, richly muralled town hall and chic boutiques

  • Go wine tasting in hilltop Cisternino (12km away), with its many cellars and gleaming white buildings clustered around a central square

  • Explore Ostuni, 30km from the masseria, whose brilliantly whitewashed houses dazzle in the sunshine. Narrow streets and churches spill out across its slopes, and its piazzas are thronged in summer

  • Head to the beach: the nearest white-sand stretch is at Savelletri, around 40 minutes’ drive away, with balmy crystalline water, sun beds, a pretty harbour with bobbing boats, and restaurants clustered along the promenade

  • Take a day trip to the exuberant Baroque town of Lecce (1.5 hours away). It’s packed with striking palazzi, Roman ruins and crazily ornate churches carved from golden stone

  • Golf and horse riding are available nearby; ask staff for details

Activities on site or nearby include:

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

Kids

Children are welcome here, but the secluded location and peaceful ambiance mean it’s not ideal, and families might feel self-conscious about disturbing other guests. Kids will enjoy splashing around in the pool, but don’t expect any entertainment facilities beyond the satellite TV in each room.

Family friendly accommodation:

All room types can fit a baby cot and the Suites have space for an extra bed, too.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

8/
Rooms
7/
Food
8/
Service
7/
Value
8/
Overall

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