History in stone
History in stone
Set amongst the endless olive groves and vineyards that stretch across the Puglian countryside are masserie - fortified villas that sometimes bear more than a passing resemblance to medieval castles - and, for good reason. Their defensive ramparts and walled courtyards were designed to withstand attack from foreign invaders - over the centuries, Puglia has been occupied by a succession of conquerors, from the Greeks, Romans, Normans and Goths, to the Aragonese and Byzantines. All have left their mark on the local landscape, which is part of the reason why Puglian architecture is as exotic as it is cosmopolitan.
The Puglian masseria has a long and illustrious history – one associated with trade, pilgrimage and conquest. But above all else, the masseria is associated with farming. The fertile soil of the region has been continuously cultivated for over two millennia, and such country estates lie at the heart of this ancient pastoral way of life.
Many of these simple but elegant homesteads are set on working farms that produce wine, olive oil, fruit, vegetables and a range of other local produce.
The word ‘masseria’ comes from the words, ‘masse’ = earth, and ‘eria’ = place of production. As the name implies, these buildings evoke a strong link with the earth and are very much a part of the landscape in which they are built.
As you might expect, then, the layout of a typical masseria has been heavily shaped by Puglian agrarian practices. The traditional rustic way of life has left its traces in features such as large reception rooms with impressive arched ceilings, beautiful walled fireplaces, and barrel vaulted underground storerooms (which make excellent wine cellars), all of which add to their charm and character.
The combination of clean lines and country charm, generous square footage and secluded positioning mean that masserie offer enormous development potential - they can be converted into luxurious holiday accommodation that provides all the comforts of modern living whilst still retaining their historical authenticity and connection to the landscape. In short, masserie offer the discerning buyer looking for a stylish and elegant holiday home something truly exceptional.
Built of large blocks of tuff stone, masserie are spacious, airy and cool. Their thick stone walls and shaded courtyards help to keep out the summer heat, whilst their generous grounds offer plenty of space for swimming pools, walled gardens and outdoor entertainment areas. Some even come with their own chapel or olive grove! This has made them immensely attractive to foreign buyers. Several have been transformed into luxury boutique hotels and spas, although the majority have become magnificent private holiday residences.
Buying a masseria is about more than owning a piece of history – it is about getting away from it all and embracing a simple, more relaxed way of living, one that enables them to embrace the full Puglian lifestyle experience.
Many who have stayed in or purchased a masseria feel that they have bought much more than just a holiday home – these buildings seem to encourage a connection to nature and the outdoors – a relationship enhanced via features such as raised balconies and rooftop terraces with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, colonnaded walkways that open up interior spaces to the elements and walled courtyard gardens offering privacy and shade from the heat of the midday sun.
Secret Puglia can help you source, purchase, develop and maintain distinctive properties such as these. Why not browse our property portfolio to find your perfect holiday property in Puglia?
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