Masserie in Puglia (singular: masseria) are one of region’s most typical and distinctive features: they are emblematic of the region’s rural civilisation and its strong links to the land. At one time, masserie in Puglia were flourishing centres of agricultural and social life, set up to be self-sufficient and focused primarily on the cultivation of crops and the rearing of livestock. Until the early twentieth century, they played a historical role of prime importance, so much so that still today they represent a centuries-old intertwining of art, popular traditions, life and conviviality, production and economy, and agricultural and pastoral activities.
Masserie in Puglia have extremely ancient origins; they grew out of the ruins of country villas built by the ancient Romans to protect themselves from the frequent dangers of looting and devastation by bandits, rivals and pirates. These masserie were then given to soldiers and courtiers who ran them while providing for themselves and their communities. They later passed into the hands of feudal lords who turned them into summer residences.
In Puglia, and more specifically in the Valle d’Itria and the area around Ostuni and Fasano, it is still possible to come across such buildings that have often been restored and re-used by young entrepreneurs who, with passion and enthusiasm, have decided to redevelop and enhance these constructions. Masserie make a great solution for experiencing Puglia at its most authentic; they are perfect for those wanting to immerse themselves in nature or in search of peace and relaxation. It is also possible to learn about life in a masseria through special visits designed around themes ranging from food and wine to wellness, or from history to archaeology. Experiencing a masseria is also an interesting way to learn about the transformations undergone by rural Puglia over the centuries.