THE EVOLUTION OF MASSERIA TORRE MAIZZA
05 August 2020
Nestled in unspoiled countryside with a cooling sea breeze drifting over from the Adriatic, Masseria Torre Maizza is an Apulian idyll for guests after tranquility and stunning scenery. Those unfamiliar with Apulian architecture may wonder about its whitewashed walls and tall tower, relics of the past. Long-standing Concierge, Pasquale Bernardo, brings to life the Masseria’s fascinating history and evolution over the centuries.
Can you tell us what a masseria is, in your own words?
A masseria is a fortified farmhouse found in Puglia and typically built in the 16th century, as ours was. Rather like a Spanish hacienda, the masseria formed the centre of a rather large farm complex, where the landowners stored their food and possessions. Indeed, the word "masseria" comes from the Italian word masserizie, which means household furnishings, food stores or belongings.
Why were they originally built this way?
Masserie generally run along two sides of a central high-walled courtyard. The buildings typically include the landowner’s dwelling-house, farmer workers’ houses, stables and barns. The complex usually included several other specialty buildings to house animals, to store crops, or to make wine or cheese. Some masserie developed into small villages surrounded by high walls, with a central courtyard surrounded by all the other structures. The masserie were fortified to protect against attacks by soldiers or pirates.
Can you share a little about Masseria Torre Maizza’s history over the centuries?
Masseria Torre Maizza was a watchtower to warn of attack from the Ottomans and Saracens. Over time, it became a fortified farmhouse where typical Apulian products like tomatoes, courgettes, aubergines and olives were grown. In the stables, there were animals that produced milk, eggs and meat for the people who lived in and around the masseria.
How much of the original farmhouse remains, and what purpose does it serve today?
Everything within the walls is the original farmhouse. Today, it hosts our elegant Carosello restaurant, the cosy Bougainvillea Bar, the romantic orchard, and the impressive Tower Suite as well as the reception and spa area. We built our swimming pool on the site of the former vegetable garden.
How has Masseria Torre Maizza changed since becoming a Rocco Forte Hotel?
Since becoming a Rocco Forte Hotel, Masseria Torre Maizza has become an Apulian gem. Inspired by the sensational landscapes of Puglia and the ethos of Rocco Forte Hotels, it exquisitely blends local heritage with contemporary luxury and unparalleled service. Surrounded by ancient olive groves, the renovated masseria is filled with thoughtful design touches and details that create a unique sense of place, from the stunning Olga Polizzi-designed rooms and suites to the romantic sunset rooftop bar, elegant pool-view restaurant and indulgent Torre Maizza Spa.
Is there anything guests are often surprised by when they stay for the first time?
The immediate ‘wow’ factor when guests arrive is the incredible colour palette: the green of the olive groves, the pink of the bougainvillea, the white walls of the masseria and the cobalt blue Apulian sky create a magical mix that guests immediately fall in love with.
What is your favourite area of the hotel and why?
Personally, my favourite area of the hotel is definitely the orchard. It has been completely untouched, and its scent of fresh lemons and citrus trees transports me back in time; standing there, I imagine how the masseria must have been centuries ago. I always recommend that guests have breakfast or a romantic dinner there, as I think it is a truly unique and fascinating place.”
Discover Masseria Torre Maizza’s authentic architecture and unique ambience with a stay this summer. Book by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling +39 06 32 888 890.