Masseria Prosperi

near Otranto, Puglia & Basilicata, Italy Book from

Reviewed by Nadine Mellor
Glorious country villa close to the coast, with 2 pools and delicious food (available by the room or as a rental for up to 18)
Mercedes, Antonio and their daughters lived here until they moved next door, flattened the farmhouse, and rebuilt it from scratch to create this wonderful 6-bedroom villa. Owners of lovely Masseria Montelauro, they took its chic white aesthetic and embellished it with 2 swimming pools (indoor heated with a steam room, and outdoor unheated with a large sun terrace) plus a custom-built subterranean kitchen from which fabulous Pugliese fare appears morning, noon and night. There's a communal living/dining room on the ground floor with white sofas and star ceiling lights, wraparound terraces and balconies, and an outside sitting room which converts to a conservatory in winter months. Interiors are beautifully realised, with simply dressed beds, whimsical headboards, antique sideboards and equine-themed art. Talking of horses, Mercedes has her own, plus there are ponies, donkeys, chickens and goats - a big draw for families.

Puglia's Salentine Peninsula has been likened to Cornwall for its rugged cliffs, miles of beaches and long coastline, but remains blissfully under-visited. We loved exploring the region's characterful historic towns and sampling its excellent local cuisine, returning home to relax at heavenly Prosperi.

Highs

  • A super purpose-built country house, with no expense spared in its design and execution. There are comfortable, spacious bedrooms and classy bathrooms
  • Delicious and never-ending food; Antonio is an excellent cook
  • Whether you book one room or the whole house, breakfast is included in the rates
  • Two swimming pools, lovely lawns, animals and paddocks
  • Friendly owners who make you feel like part of the family from the moment you arrive

Lows

  • Not for those who don't like communal dining, although couples can eat separately on a balcony or in the conservatory/summer room
  • Dinner is a set menu, although you're asked what you would like
  • The extras can add up
  • This is very much a family-run operation with kids and dogs romping around, so if you prefer the anonymity of a hotel, book elsewhere
  • Southern Puglia with its pine forests is less pastoral and flatter than further north. It can get very hot in summer and is windy at times

Best time to go

Puglia is best visited April through October. Note that it can get very hot in the summer although you're close to the coast for cooling breezes - there is a minimum stay requirement of one week in August. The Masseria is open through the winter.

Our top tips

Don't miss exploring the charming small towns nearby such as Otranto and Galatina, and do head for the southern tip of the rugged and beautiful Salentine Peninsula.

Great for...

Beach
Eco
Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Guesthouse
  • 6
  • Breakfast (+ other meals on request)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pools
  • 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
  • Widescreen communal TV
Room: superior

Rooms

There are just 6 bedrooms, 4 up and 2 down. All are light-filled, spacious, uncluttered and beautifully decorated. Walls, ceilings and sheer drapes are pure white, and shutters and blinds shield you from the morning sun. Beds are blissfully comfortable and dressed simply in white coverlets. It's the details which sing out: quirky headboards of framed fans, icons, a shelf of riding tackle, antique painted sideboards, vintage armoires, drawers and chairs, pastoral and equine-themed pictures. Lights come as mini-chandeliers, pendants and side lamps, or even as stars in the ceiling in the dining room.

The 2 downstairs Superior rooms (one of which, no.2, can be a twin) have French windows opening to the garden, and tubs rather than showers in their ensuite bathrooms.

Three of the upstairs rooms (Suite no.3, Suite no.6 and Classic no.4) share a balcony which faces to the south and west. Suite no.3 has a double shower and a daybed, and Suite no.6 is best for couples, with a whirlpool tub. The other room on this floor, Suite no.5, has big picture windows facing the pool and paddocks, an antique iron single bed, and a fabulous sunken tiled bath plus a drench shower in the ensuite bathroom.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Ipod dock
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

One of the nicest things about staying at Masseria Prosperi is the quality and quantity of the food provided. Breakfast, included in the price, is a superb smorgasbord of every delectation you could wish for: freshly squeezed blood orange juice, coffee prepared to your precise specification, home-baked tarts, crostada and cakes, a selection of rolls, local jams, biscotti, cereals, charcuterie and goats' cheese, hot chocolate, fresh fruit, and traditional Puglian specialities.

We were out and about during the day so weren't at home for lunch (available on request - usually something simple such as a caprese salad, sandwiches, fruit), but we can vouch for the wonderful dinners (also on request) rustled up by Antonio and his team. You eat family-style at the communal table, and they check in with you as to what you'd prefer to eat that night. One evening we had sea bass baked in salt, another the most tender pork chop. At every meal was a fabulous array of locally grown, flavoursome vegetables, presented in simple Pugliese style - tender chicory, fava beans, braised vegetables on curry-flavoured couscous, aubergine broquettes. And excellent bottles of wine were available.

For eating out, there's a classic Italian restaurant and pizzeria, Da Umberto 1972, just next door, which is also an enoteca with its own wine cave. We can also recommend Menhir Salento in Minervino for its octopus dishes and wine tasting from its own vineyard, and the unpretentious but awesome pasta restaurant, Primo, in Otranto.

If you're taking the whole house, you still get the same bountiful breakfast and will also find a welcome basket of fruit and wine waiting for you. A shopping service can be arranged, see Rates, and you can book a chef on request. The professional kitchen is underneath the building and superbly well equipped; you will be preparing meals in the smaller kitchen in the living/dining room, which has full crockery, cutlery, glassware, a fridge, a hob and an oven. Food and farm shops are found locally around Frassanito, and there are supermarkets in Otranto, a 10-minute drive away.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Children meals
  • Communal dining
  • Dinner by arrangement
  • In house cook
  • Lunch by arrangement
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
  • Chef & shopping service on request for whole-house rentals
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Kick back at the Masseria: swim in the pools, meander around the grounds and admire the farm animals, take a cooking class
  • Explore the charming local towns of Otranto (castle, harbour and extraordinary 11th-century cathedral with marvellous floor mosaics), Galatina (a Romanesque church with fine frescoes), and Baroque masterpiece Lecce, dubbed the 'Florence of the South'
  • Head to one of the many sandy beaches nearby. Lido Tropea is just 4km away and has umbrellas and sun loungers for hire (10% discount negotiated on umbrellas and deck chairs for Masseria Prosperi guests)
  • Walk along the cliffs on the southern tip of the beautiful Salentine Peninsula. Break for lunch at one of the fish restaurants such as in Sannicola near Gallipoli
  • Eat and drink your way through the local produce and wine of the region - Mercedes recommends wine-tasting at Cantina Guarini at Scorrano, Cantina Castel di Salve at Depressa, and Cantina Vallone at Galatina
  • Borrow a bike and cycle around this rural idyll. There are coastal trails with breathtaking views through pine woods directly to Otranto
  • Go horse riding - Mercedes has all the gear, and the horses!
  • Tennis, football, golf, kitesurfing and windsurfing are all in the vicinity, too

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Kitesurfing
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Windsurfing
  • Wine tasting

Kids

All ages are welcome - Puglia is a great place to bring children on a family holiday. Mercedes and Antonio have 2 girls of their own, and are fantastic with kids. We think it best suited to primary-age children and younger, who will love the farm animals, pony rides and choice of pools, plus the lawns for romping around. Teenagers may be a little bored, although there are beaches close at hand.

Children sleeping in their parents' bed are not charged, note that there is a daily rate for cots and extra beds

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

The best rooms for families are the 2 larger Suites on the first floor, nos. 3 and 5. No.3 has a balcony and No.5 a sunken bath plus a shower. Both can take an extra bed and cot, and if required No.5 can take 2 extra beds. No.5 has wonderful picture windows over the pool to the back - useful for keeping an eye on the kids below. A baby cot can be added to the Superior rooms, and to Suite no.6.

Babysitting:

Arranged on request

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots
  • High chair
  • Baby bedding
  • Armbands

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

Children's meals:

  • Antonio and the chef can whip up kids' meals of pasta and pizza on request, and there's always the option of yummy cakes and ice cream for dessert
  • Plastic cutlery and crockery and drinking straws are available
  • Da Umberto 72, a few hundred metres' walk away, has kid-friendly menus
  • If self-catering, there are grocery shops in Otranto

Kids Activities on site:

  • Two pools: the indoor heated one has a wide shallow shelf for non-swimmers and toddlers to play safely on; the outdoor unheated one has a parapet surrounding it and a shallow end under the trees
  • Farm animals (donkeys, ponies, horses, chickens, goats)
  • Swing
  • Horse and pony rides
  • Friendly dogs to play with

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Beaches a few minutes' drive away
  • Walks along the coast and in the country
  • Small towns nearby that are fun for family sightseeing: Lecce has kid-friendly museums, Otranto a lovely castle and church full of mosaics

Families Should Know:

The indoor pool is enclosed. The outdoor pool has a parapet surrounding it and a wide terrace, but isn't fenced as such. There are plenty of animals and dogs which may not suit kids with allergies. The staircase to the first floor doesn't have a banister to hold onto

Distances:

  • Airport: 1 hour (Brindisi)
  • Hospital: 30 minutes
  • Shops: 10 minutes (Otranto)
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
10/
Food
10/
Service
9/
Value
9/
Overall

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Rates for Masseria Prosperi