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Puglia’s Masserias Are Where History and Luxury Meet

16 June 2023
by Michele Becker
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All about Puglia's Masserias, where history gets a new life.

Nestled in the “heel” of Italy’s boot, the southeastern region of Puglia has gained immense popularity over the last decade. Italian and international tourists alike now flock to its pristine beaches and breathtaking cliffside towns to enjoy the fresh, southern cuisine. With four UNESCO heritage sites to visit, miles of olive groves and vineyards, and a rich culture, it’s easy to see why Puglia has made it to the top of many people’s travel lists. The recent surge of tourism has also led to the resurgence of many countryside farms and estates throughout the region, known as masserie.


What Is a Masseria?

A masseria is a rural structure that consists of a fortified estate often surrounded by farmland. These charming stone, marble, and stucco buildings can be found throughout the gently rolling hills, vineyards, and olive groves of southern Italy, making their location truly beautiful and unique. Once forgotten serfdom estates, many of these structures now operate as gorgeous places to stay on your next visit to Puglia.  


Masserias have existed in Italy for centuries. Their origins can be traced back to the latifundia (farm plantations) of the ancient Romans. In the 13th century, when southern Italy was primarily a serfdom, these feudal estates housed not only the landowning family, but also all of the workers of the farm and surrounding land. Peasant farmers would work the land and care for the animals in exchange for food and housing. As the feudal system began to collapse in southern Italy in the 20th century, many of these massive estates fell to ruin and were abandoned.


Masseria Dauna

The Masseria Today

In the last 10-20 years, masserias all over Puglia have been restored, renovated, and put to use once again. While some operate as family-owned farms, others have converted those rural estates into luxury resorts, bed & breakfasts, and farm-to-table restaurants. Many have even built dazzling pools and spas for a truly relaxing, idyllic vacation experience. Although renovated, the original, arched, stone architecture of each estate has been preserved, as well as each masseria’s connection to nature and farming. Stay in these light, airy rooms with access to Mediterranean gardens and stunning countryside views for a wonderfully tranquil trip. Connect with nature and wander the farmland, explore each masseria’s unique products, or dine under the blossoming pergolas. Some masserias even offer activities for guests to enjoy such as cooking classes, wine tastings, outdoor yoga, and off-site excursions. Prices range significantly depending on the masseria, but staying the night or visiting the restaurant for a meal is a truly unforgettable experience! 


One that has remained a working farm is Masseria Dauna. Founded by the Pozzuto sisters in 2001, Masseria Dauna is a woman-owned and operated company dedicated to preserving Puglian culture with integrity and authenticity. Continuing the traditions of their parents, these passionate women grow their tomatoes in Lucera, on the hills of the Dauni mountains. Masseria Dauna uses a technique called arid culture to grow their tomatoes. This sustainable form of agriculture relies on the natural strength of the soil, rather than intense watering, to create a product that is concentrated in flavor and absolutely divine. Masseria Dauna’s team picks and processes the tomatoes by hand within three hours to ensure the freshest taste possible. Giada absolutely fell in love with these Puglian tomatoes the moment she tasted them! Now you can taste the reverence and history of a Puglian masseria right at home with our tomato products from Masseria Dauna.


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