“CONFIDENCE COMES FROM KNOWING THAT YOU ARE EXACTLY WHERE YOU SHOULD BE.”
Would you like your wedding here? Masseria Salento is available to be rented as a private villa, you’d be one of the first to party in this enchanting place.
As residents of the water-surrounded heel of Italy’s boot, with exposure to the pirates of the Aegean, Turk invaders and other unwanted visitors, the 14th to 18th century massaro, or landlords of Puglia, built huge fortified masserie to protect themselves.
These multi-use buildings would typically have the massaro‘s accommodation on the first floor, downstairs stables and living quarters for the workers and underground store rooms and work rooms.
Being large, handsomely built of thick local stone, usually including a chapel, orchards and kitchen gardens and surrounded by a large wall affording privacy, recent decades have seen them converted into beautiful small hotels, such as Masseria Salento, which opened at the end of last month. A place of charm and relax full of history and traditions that have changed a lot during the centuries.
The building is a 16th-century farmhouse repurposed into a sophisticated eight-suite hotel with verdant walled gardens. Lay dormant for 200 years until a professional purchased it in May 2013 and set about creating something special. He painstakingly restored the place, remaining faithful to the bones of the old buildings and carefully picking out furnishings and finishes that speak to both the area’s history and modern luxury. The original taupe, tufo stone and arched ceilings are modernised through the use of glass walls, huge fresh flower displays, thick-pile colourful rugs, coffee-table books, snazzy Moroccan cushions and music blaring out across the main courtyard all day long. It’s all in the detail: pom pom-edged towels in rooms, striped throws by the pool, umbrellas by the door – everything in the signature stamp of tangerine orange. Hardly arrived, head straight for your room’s al fresco bath.
Outside, six walled gardens, verdant with cacti, ferns and more than 500 orange and lemon trees, are dotted with colorful hammocks, a serene pool, fire pit and croquet lawn (floppy sunhats are available).
That it’s the only hotel in Italy to have Aesop products speaks volumes of its considered attention to detail. Set amid olive groves just north of a little town, it’s about 20 minutes by car to Lecce, with its Baroque churches and bustling streets. Brindisi airport is 30 minutes away. Make sure to get directions from the hotel – there are signs in but they are easy to miss.