The best masseria hotels in Puglia

Masseria Torre Maizza - the best masseria hotels in Puglia
Masseria Torre Maizza combines the authenticity of its heritage rural setting with contemporary luxury

Studding Italy’s heel are fabulously exotic ‘masserie’ – historic rural estates that mould Arabic, Greek and Spanish influences into a distinctive vernacular architecture. Dating from the 16th to the 18th centuries, these hacienda-like farms, traditionally painted dazzling white, feature baronial manor houses graced with vaulted stone halls and porticoes, private chapels, farm buildings and sometimes cone-roofed ‘trulli’, opening onto airy courtyards. Some grew up around ancient coastal watchtowers with seraphic sea views; others were fortified and girdled with vineyards, croplands, almond, olive and lemon groves.

Today, many have been converted into agriturismi, hotels or resorts where the march of time is marked ‘adagio’ and man and nature still dialogue in harmony. Styles range from pared-back rustic to uber-chic design hotels complete with landscaped gardens, pools, spas and gourmet restaurants, yet the sustainable ethos and convivial spirit of their origins still lingers. Here’s our pick of the best masseria hotels in Puglia.

How we review

Every hotel in this curated list has been visited by one of our expert reviewers, who are usually hosted on a complimentary basis. They stay for a minimum of one night, test at least one meal and trial other experiences (in this case, for instance, the family facilities) that the hotel might have to offer. 

This sun-drenched, white-washed, contemporary masseria is set in a landscape of ancient olive groves overlooking Ostuni and the Adriatic Sea. This boutique retreat provides a contemporary take on the traditional masseria, with floor-to-ceilings windows and glass doors featuring alongside the original archways and white-washed walls. The interiors are rustic and minimalist in style, with design accents like oriental rugs and distressed-wood furniture. This all provides the relaxed, bohemian setting for stylish stays in one of four double rooms or two suites, which are joined by a communal dining area, light-filled lounge, fitness room, spa and open-air pool.

A charming member of the Rocco Forte collection of hotels, Masseria Torre Maizza combines the authenticity and character of its heritage rural setting with the contemporary luxury of this hotel group. Within historic walls distinguished by original features such as a medieval tower and sweeping arches, highlights of this Puglian retreat include traditional-meets-contemporary rooms and suites, the Bougainvillea Bar, a pool bar and the Carosello Restaurant taking inspiration from Puglian tradition, as well as an open-air fitness area and Roman-inspired pool, a small spa and nine-hole golf course. A shuttle transports guests to the hotel’s own stylish beach club.

This five-star hotel built around a 16th-century farmhouse provides a family-friendly stay amid ancient olive groves between Fasano and the coast. From here, it’s a 15-minute bike ride to the Adriatic Coast where the hotel also has two private beach clubs. The original farm’s limestone buildings, complete with watchtower, have been sensitively adapted to now encompass chic bedrooms, places to eat and drink, and a spa that now occupies underground caves formerly used for an olive mill. Activities here abound, with horse riding, cooking classes and yoga among those on offer. The family-run masseria hotel lies within idyllic gardens also home to an inviting pool.

Just eight suites accommodate guests in this intimate farmhouse-turned-hotel set amid olive groves just north of the small town of Surbo. The restoration of this property ensured the preservation of this heritage site’s many original design details, with the modernisation of this space then seen through the integration of glass walls, colourful rugs and finishing touches like coffee table books and Moroccan cushions. As many as six walled gardens span these grounds cultivated with hundreds of orange and lemon trees. Traditional Puglian dishes are cooked up in the hotel’s kitchen and time can be spent lounging on the daybeds by the pool.

Taking over a 15th-century masseria near the small fishing town of Savelletri, this five-star retreat nestled amid palm-shaded gardens is one of several stylish Puglian country hotels owned by the Melpignano family. Here, 40 classically designed rooms and suites are joined by a collection of indoor and outdoor restaurants, a wellness centre specialising in Thalassotherapy, tennis courts and, what many say is a highlight of this property, a vast seawater lagoon pool. Two private beaches, one rocky and the other sandy, are nearby with a shuttle provided during the summer months.

The centuries-old farmhouse now home to Masseria Il Frantoio is found within a huge expanse of olive groves and poppy fields northwest of the hill town of Ostuni and three miles from the sea. Beyond the 500-year-old farmhouse’s courtyard where bougainvillea drapes down white-washed walls, the historic buildings now reveal 16 characterful guest rooms, a vaulted dining room showcasing Puglian cooking and a pool amid the ground’s ancient olive trees. The masseria has long produced its own olive oil and olive oil tasting is among the experiences offered on site, which also include cooking classes and bike tours.

Ancient Roman walls surround the 18th-century buildings of this masseria hotel looking across ancient olive groves to the Adriatic Sea in its position near Savelletri di Fasano. A sense of timelessness is felt on stepping into the rural retreat now decorated in rustic Mediterranean style. Just 14 rooms feature throughout this former farmhouse, its tower and accompanying buildings, all with rustic décor and farm objects as decorative touches, with the first-floor tower suite affording views to the sea. Local fare is the focus at the masseria’s restaurant, which is joined by a bar and lounge, and small pool, with bike hire also available.

With its location amid olive groves at the end of a winding track, Masseria Le Carrube feels particularly remote despite being within easy reach of the villages and towns of Valle d’Itria. The white-washed farmhouse, which was once used as an olive mill, has succeeded in retaining its rustic charm, with design details like a giant olive press among the reminders of this site’s past. Locally sourced and seasonal cuisine is the focus of the masseria’s vegetarian restaurant, with tasting menus served in the evening. This masseria has 19 rooms and suites, many with balconies and terraces overlooking the olive groves, and there are bicycles to borrow and two swimming pools.

A 16th-century masseria featuring a quartet of this region’s distinctive trulli, Cervarolo is a charm-filled rural hideaway in Puglia's verdant Valle d’Itria, near Ostuni. The soul of this architecturally impressive site has been retained through its transformation into a boutique hotel. Of the 17 rooms and suites, this retreat’s traditional-meets-contemporary rooms occupy the main house, along with some of the junior suites also featuring a terrace or balcony, while the remaining suites take over the site’s trulli. The restaurant takes over the masseria’s lamia and the bar is found by the pool, which is located in a natural sinkhole of the terraced gardens.

This former masseria places guests closer to urban life with its location on the edge of Lecce’s historic centre. The resort pays tribute to both the past and present of Puglia with contemporary art and designer furnishings decorating the 18th-century site. A walled olive grove with outdoor pool surrounds the inviting house. An art-filled sitting room, restaurant and garden terrace then join the accommodation offering, which encompasses 16 sophisticated rooms and suites. The hotel’s private art gallery is just a couple of minutes’ walk away and home to a sculpture garden. The main tourist sites of this city are also within easy reach.

As its name suggests, this masseria hotel combines a rural resort with wine-making. The farmhouse and ancient manor, plus a chapel, stables and other outbuildings, sit within around 170 hectares of land mostly made up of vineyards on a plateau providing views over the gulf of Taranto. Each of the buildings has been converted by a local architect with a minimalist approach and use of the land’s natural materials. The family-run resort has 18 spacious rooms and suites along with a restaurant drawing inspiration from the tradition of the masseria. Experiences based around the vineyards include tastings and scenic tours.

Contributions by Clare Speak, Paula Hardy, Hayley Lewis & Jade Conroy