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Diary-of-Axel-Ritenis Luxury Hotels and Resorts

MASSERIA in Puglia-Connoisseur’s Guide

Written by Aksel Ritenis

Historical context of Masseria in Puglia

The “Masseria” is a typical rural building in Puglia, in the Salento inland, whose origins can be traced back to the 17th century. 
It is a courtyard-farm built according to the customs of that time, considering the farmer’s needs and the activities he had to realize in this place.

The Masseria in Puglia was a real agricultural centre, dedicated to farming and production, in which the farmer lived with his family, each of them having specific duties and roles. (Occasionally there were also sowers, gleaners, shepherds and other workers who helped in the periods of more intense activity.)

From dawn to dusk everyone in every masseria in Puglia was involved in the hard activities required to make the farm work: someone sent the sheep out to pasture, others were engaged in the sowing and others in the threshing. The animals in this farm played a significant role: horses, oxen and cows were needed for the work and, where necessary, they also represented an important supply of meat.

In Puglia the farmer was the “boss” of the masseria, a tenant who undertook to give the owner half the harvest and the first fruits of each variety.

The Tenant had to hire the workers and assigned the various tasks, he gave orders and distributed the goods produced. A modest and hard life, marked by the uncertain cycle of the seasons: in autumn men were engaged in the ploughing of the land, sowing and vintage; in winter they pruned the plants around the masseria and carried out maintenance works. In spring they worked with the cereals and sowable land, and in summer they harvested the hay, reaped and threshed the cereals.

Life for women was not easier, as they had to look after their children and realize household and rural work, they prepared bread, pasta, conserves, jams, tomato sauce, spirits, cheese and ricotta, in order to meet the owner’s requests and guarantee a warm dish to their family even in periods of shortage; they bred rabbits, chickens, turkeys and pigs which animated the large central courtyard, and, when necessary, women also had to help men in the fields.
The children, considered a source of wealth because they could work, sent the animals out to pasture and milked the goats and sheeps.
 Thus, masseria in Puglia was a business based on the family as an essential centre of production, where a poor and difficult life was led, but also marked some joy and happiness in their work and much social interaction!

(Sources – thanks to Wikepedia)

Today and in modern times, the Masseria have been renovated and remodelled to cater for modern tourism ,and contemporary needs !

If You visit Puglia you will daily find plenty of things to do and places to discover e.g. local markets, wineries, food producers, craftsmen, breathtaking coastline and little villages, sandy beaches, warm local people.

I visited several Masseria in september of 2012 and was very impressed with what I saw and pleased with the experience in general. The tow Masseria where quite different, with Prvenzani being much more like a Farm, but both offered the same relaxing mediterranean charm.


MASSERIA PROVENZANI

Masseria Provenzani is a charming restored Salento style farmhouse nestled around the peaceful olive groves where you can experience a rural experience. It is an impressive stone manor house dating back to the 16th century converted into a rustic and comfortable country house where you can find many original Salento features.

Although amidst the tranquility of the Salento countryside, Masseria Provenzani is an easy driving distance from Lecce and the Itria Valley.

The whole country house is surrounded by a very large garden and a splendid swimming pool set amongst an ancient olive grove.

Masseria Provenzani offers the opportunity to experience the authentic taste of the Salento lifestyle in the Puglia countryside. The country house is surrounded by hundreds of centenarian olive trees and flowers, at 1 km from the nearby seaside.

 


It has ensuite bedrooms and a beautiful communal kitchen where You can enjoy cooking classes with guests and friends.

The country house has been recently renovated with delightfully traditional rustic style finished interiors in keeping with its original “country chic Salento style.”

On the groundfloor there’s a big room with two fireplaces, sat tv and an internet point. A reading room with another fireplace will be the ideal place to relax end enjoy the slow life of this cozy place. It has a pool where you can relax or enjoy a good book or a glass of wine.

A gorgeous place to stay in the heart of Salento, close to Lecce, Salento and the Itria Valley. The nearest village is 1 km. The Baroque city of Lecce is just 15 minutes drive from this unique country house. Whenever you come and visit Puglia, you will daily find plenty of places to discoversuch as the local markets, wineries, food producers, craftsmen, breathtaking coastline and little villages, sandy beaches, warm local people.

Meals are served in the beautiful dining room or “al fresco” with a maid preparing daily delicious traditional recipes in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. The owners of the country house, who live in adjacent country side in the same property, grow fresh fruit and vegetables, herbs and salads and take care of organizing the freshest daily produce from local suppliers.


It is possible to rent the whole property on special events (small groups, ceremonies, weddings) or single units. For those who appreciate local gastronomic traditions, the country house offers many of the high quality products such us wine, extra virgin olive oil, home made pasta and many more highlights.

Located in the northern territory of Salento, the old farm Provenzani is located within an area of great natural and historical and cultural significance.This area, between Lecce, Squinzano-Casalabate and San Cataldo, was once occupied by extensive feudal possessions for most property of religious orders. On these estates was organized, in the fifteenth century, a dense network of settlements consisting mainly of fortified farms.

The apartments have been built from the original old structures, the old barns, the exact same places where the farmers and sheep herders lived and worked!

COOKING CLASSES

During your stay at Masseria Provenzani You can participate in a cooking class. Masseria Provenzani has teamed up with COOK IN PUGLIA, celebrating mediterranean healthy living and organic cooking classes with local mums. Cooking classes are run in English and French.

For more information on how to book a cooking class at Masseria Provenzani please contact Yle atinfo@cookinpuglia.com and please mention Masseria Provenzani when enquiring or send an email to info@masseriaprovenzani.com

It is also possible to obtain information about Wine tasting and Vineyard tours in the Salento,visit olive groves,enjoy a picnic lunch in amongst the extensive olive grove,s and see oliveoil making and refining in september or october, and explore other gastro or touristic experiences.

It is also possible to take a “passeggiata” (stroll) in Lecce, drink some local Salento wines or share a meal with the friendly local people. Its also a great chance to “brush up” on your Italian. and aquire a knoledge of Italian culture and history or visit an oilve farm or particiapte in a Grape and olive harvest- there are numerous possibilities, did I forget to mention sailing on the nearby Adriatic sea!?

Masseria Provenzani Strada Provinciale 236 – Via Provenzani n°102, I-73100 Casalabate (LE)

Tel/Fax +39.0832.389140 – Mobile +39.348.3325378 – info@masseriaprovenzani.com

MASSERIA TERRA DEI PADRI

The Masseria Terra Dei Padri is in the heart of the Salento peninsula, it is less rural in its atmopsphere and pervades rather a “sophisticated yet relaxed” contemporary atmosphere.

It offers modern luxury style air-conditioned rooms with free internet, private bathroom, and Sky LCD TV. It is set among olive groves and has a lovely bar and restaurant.

It is located on the road to Cellino San Marco, well signposted and easily accessible (with the right directions!). (The hotel is just a 10-minute drive from Lecce and a 30 minute drive from Brindisi)

It comes in a beautiful new resort, with ample parking and large and comfortable suites and rooms. The rooms all very beautiful white leecce stone, with bespoke constructed four-poster beds, very spacious and with all modern amenities.

It has a convenient location between the Adriatic and the Mediteranean so that gives You the option of choosing Your beach location according to prevailing winds!

I found the Masseria to be impeccably clean and tidy, with a superbe spacious and modern marble bathroom, but most important to my personal taste, with a very comfortable and spacious shower cabin.

The accomodation or complex of rooms is slightly detached from the lobby and restaurant, which allows for maximum tranquility and total relaxation, the hotel is 2-storeys, the ground floor with large shared veranda under a porch overlooking the beautiful well-kept lawn, which extends the sense of total relaxation, and where, I was advised by Raniero the friendly and very professional Manager, next year will be built a swimming pool.

Incidentally the second floor has a beautiful sun terrace with beautiful views of the surrounding countryside including the olive grove and a fabulous place to watch a typical mediterranean sun set, and to fully enjoyed the beautiful rural atmosphere!


I really enjoyed my stay here and would recommend this place wholeheartedly, especially if You are interested in trying some excellent Puglian cooking and tasting some top Salento or International wines. One of the advantages here is that the Manager is a respected Sommelier who can tutor You in local or Italian wines and the Restauarant has an excellent wine list painstakingly compiled by Raniero.

This place exudes charm and luxury. The days that I was there they were displaying an Art exhibition of Painting that had been painted by local school children from the local Montessori school and its seems they are very well meshed into the local community and display a lot of community spirit.

This is a luxuriuous yet understated and peaceful Masseria, a superb building painstakingly restored and beautiful facilities and gardens. You can do a cycle around the Garden Special events that have been organized with special menu.

It is only now, when I reflect on my stay there, that I realize just how good the place is!

This Masseria does Special Menus and food preparation for persons with special dietary requirements. In fact I understand they liase with and co-operate with local medical establishments. And they also do Special Events, e.g. John Lennon Remembrance Dinner or events commerating Music or Literature, or famous Writers, e.g. I saw lookin through the guest book that they had a well remembered Edith Piaf dinner with special Tasting menus and themes. So again they have community involvement in the off season when Toursim is not so prevalent.

The rooms and suites at the Terra Dei Padri are decorated with Lecce stone known as Pietre Lecce and have real fireplaces.


Some of the more expensive rooms include a terrace.

The hub of this fine Masseria is undoubtedly the kitchen and hotel restaurant.

RESTAURANT AT TERRA DEI PADRI

The Masseria’s restaurant seats up to 120 seats in the inner hall and delightful alfresco and outdoor dining is available during the summer, romantic tables are also available in the two gardens!


Masseria Terra dei Padri offers an exclusive restaurant with fine furnishings and Porcelain and cutlery, an excellent service and a high quality Mediterranean cuisine.

The culinary creations of the Chef “follow the rhythm of the seasons” and combines Mediterranean Fine Art Cuisine with courses of the great Apulian tradition, always with due respect and special care for the quality of ingredients and adherence to many of the principles of “Slow Food.”


They have an excellent wine list as Raniero the hotel manager just happens to be a very knowledgeable Sommelier and the Wine list offers a selection of the best Puglia regional and Italian wines, and even some wines produced by Terra dei Padri winery itself. Not surprisingly they also produce their own olive oil. A wide range of distillates both local and classic Italian dishes.

It also provides wine from the estate’s own vineyards, including a complimentary bottle for guests on arrival. Great restaurant and gastronomic traditions.

Dinner at the restaurant, or in the open courtyard on a busy sunday eve was really delicious, good and varied seafood appetizers, and main course “fresh Seafood” well cooked and presented, all washed down with a deligthful citrussy House chardonnay and the local Salice Salentino rosso. On the Sommeliers recommendation I also tried the Primitivo, and the Leon de Castris Moscato really “hit the spot”!

The Masseria provides a good and varied breakfast,comprising Panna di Casa, Italian charcuterie such as salami and prosciutto, formaggio, etc. (I enjoyed my usual delicious “due espresso dopia” with some excellent fresh Italian pastries and wonderful jams and fruit preserves made from their own cherries and apricots.)

They have a huge Garden and grow their own housewine, and prepare their own olive oil. Historically the olive and Vineyard together, used to be called Tenuta del Macchia.

(The two House wines that they produce are an excellent citrussy style Chardonnay and a delicious red Salice Salentino.)

Wine tastings and guidance is available from Raniero Lomartire, who is a professional sommelier, as well as the Hotel Manager.

It is possible to participate in Cooking classes for friends and yourself in order to discover another perspective on Salento and learn how to make the regional pasta orecchiette! In Raniero’s words, “the kitchen is about culture, creativity and conviviality”, a way to learn about the traditions of the country or region. The Masseria’s experienced chefs will lead you to discover the typical dishes of Puglia and classic Italian cuisine.

The different programs include cooking classes for both beginners and more profficient cooks. There is also a one day course for a minimum of 2 participants, or more days (1 to 3 days.) for up to 6 people.

If you a little more ambitious in aquiring more advanced cullinary skill , it is possible to do the Chef for one Day course!

Chef for 1 day-Details

The course is divided into a theoretical and a practical lessons on traditional Salento, Apulian and classic Italian cuisine.

The practical lessons consist of instructions in the preparation of a complete menu including making a good tomato sauce, stewed meat rolls, buns, pettole, puccette, beans and chicory, eggplant parmigiana, vegetable pies; basic preparations to make fresh homemade pasta; desserts such as tiramisù and pasticciotto Lecce.

INFORMATION:

The hotel is just a 10-minute drive from Lecce and a 30-minute drive from Brindisi airport.

(Caters for Special Dietary needs, e.g. Gluten free or Nickel free, or limited perfumes, or A/C. So they work closely with a local hospital that specializes in special dietary problems.

One bottle of House wine is their standard welcome gift! (I enjoyed mine!)

SERVICES: Restaurant, Bar, 24 hour reception, newspapers, garden, terrace, no smoking rooms, facilities for disabled guests, family rooms, safes, soundproofed rooms, heating, luggage storage, air conditioning.

ACTIVITIES: library, cycling (see their itinerary), Wine tasting, Cooking courses.

OTHER SERVICES: room service, meeting/banquets, breakfast in room, bridal suite, bicycle rental, fax/photocopying, free Internet. Wired internet is available in the rooms. Free wi-fi in common areas. Guided tours available with prior reservation.

CONTACT DETAILS:

S.P. 101 to Cellino San Marco, km 1.6
I-73012 Campi Salentina (LE)
Tel +39.0832.793060
Fax +39.0832.1785134
cell. vodafone 345.1249658
info@masseriaterradeipadri.it

skype: masseriaterradeipadriGeneral

Manager: Raniero Lomartire direzione@masseriaterradeipadri.it

 


Written by Axel Ritenis

 

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Aksel Ritenis

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