The Secret to Puglia's Charm

Rocco Forte Hotels
Carbotti, Franco
"Puglia’s secret is the wonder that is hidden in simplicity, which awakens our primordial senses"


Italy’s understated heel has an innate charm etched in tradition, where hilltop towns, hearty peasant food and delicate local produce have remained unchanged for centuries.

Sun-dappled cobbled streets, gnarled olive trees and the sparklingly warm waters of the Adriatic frame family farms laden with nourishing vegetables and oven-fresh focaccia bathed in local olive oil – perfect for soaking up the delicious organic wines produced in the region.

Hospitality has always been key to the people who have lived and farmed the land. “We Apulians are heirs of ancient civilisations where the guest was considered sacred," attests Franco Carbotti, Maître D' at Puglian restaurant Carosello, which is housed within the stables of the converted 16th-century Masseria Torre Maizza.

The region’s escarpments and plains are characterised by whitewashed masserias, or fortified farmhouses, surrounded by ancient olive groves that date back thousands of years. They have formed the backbone of Puglia’s agricultural and social economy, where the same families would have lived and worked for countless generations.

Today, guests at Masseria Torre Maizza soon become part of the farm’s fabric, with our team quickly becoming part of one extended family. In the words of a recent guest, “The hotel is run very personally and you can feel the spirit of a perfect team. The General Manager, Franco Girasoli, and his entire team give guests the feeling that they are at home.” The gentle pace of life revolves around leisurely meals at Carosello, where hearty conversations stretch deep into starlit evenings amid ancient groves and vine-heavy walls.

Carbotti, Franco
"We Apulians are heirs of ancient civilisations where the guest was considered sacred"

Puglia’s culinary heritage is defined by the seasonal produce so abundant in the area. From the delicate flavour of the ombrina fish and the pungency of native cardoncelli mushrooms (much sought after in stony Murgia as an aphrodisiac), to the region’s unique pasta, orecchiette, named for its little-eared shape and the oh-so-sweet zabaione, made with egg yolks, sugar and passito dessert wine, in a recipe unchanged for centuries. At Carosello, Michelin-starred Maestro, Fulvio Pierangelini has explored and reworked local ingredients creating a contemporary take on traditional Puglian cooking.

However, the cooking is only part of the experience and the region’s focus on making strangers feel welcome is equally formative. Restaurant Manager, Giuliano Piscina, explains: “People will always remember their emotional experience first, then the food. I'm convinced that giving our guests extra attention, when it comes to service,  establishes a better relationship with their food, which is unfortunately often forgotten nowadays."

Inside, beautifully restored stone arches give way to views of the pool and fertile gardens beyond. Carosello’s white walls are adorned with carefully curated local ceramics while ornate chandeliers, emulating olive branches, hang from the ceilings. Outdoors, tables overlook the citrus grove making the perfect romantic setting for warm Italian evenings, all enhanced by gentle refrains of Carmelo Padellaro’s piano music.

As Franco eloquently puts it, “Puglia’s secret is the wonder that is hidden in simplicity, which awakens our primordial senses. Such a great fortune must be shared."

Once you have explored Puglia’s gastronomic heritage, take in a round at the hotel’s nine-hole golf course, or unwind at our private beach club and spa, housed in an ancient olive mill at Masseria Torre Maizza. Email or call +39 080 2180260.

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