Rustic South East Italy has always been a destination for travellers seeking more than the average beach holiday, with interesting culture and history, a stunning coastline and not to mention its very interesting and distinctive architecture. In recent years, more and more people have been making the trip as holidaymakers look to make their experiences more memorable.
To cater for this demand, many local farm owners in the region of Puglia have responded by turning their farmhouses – Masseria – into wholesome and luxury getaway locations.
A Masseria is a fortified farmhouse or country house and estate similar to a ‘hacienda’ in Spain or a ‘plantation’ in the United States. The masseria operated as a large farm complex, where the land barons stored their food and possessions from the 16th to 18th centuries. The word “masseria” comes from the Italian word masserizie, which means household furnishings, food stores or belongings. The Masserie were often fortified in order to protect from invasion from the threat of turks and pirates.
The masserie was once the heart of vast land estates, surrounded by rolling fields, groves and pasturelands, inhabited in the summer months by the landowners and the peasant farm workers who tended to crops and the farm animals.
The complex usually included several other specialty buildings to house animals, to store crops, or to make wine or cheese. Some masseria developed into essentially small villages surrounded and protected by high walls, with a central courtyard surrounded by all the other structures.
Nowadays, many masseria have become unique getaway destinations too. Their rural locations, often surrounded by working farmland and vast olive-grove estates, make for an escapists paradise, perfect for those looking to switch their hectic daily lives for a more outdoor-led and sustainable break.
The conversion of these Masserie, and the popularity and success of them as touristic enterprises have led the Italian government to name it as it’s own kind of tourism – Agritourism. While not entirely exclusive to Italy, Agritourism is becoming increasingly important to Italy’s overall economy. Many travellers value taking a more eco-friendly approach to their holidays, and are switching bustling tourist epicentres for quieter and slower-paced alternatives. Puglia’s masserie cater for this perfectly.
For more information on Agritourism in Italy