On the outskirts of Ostuni, one of the most picturesque towns of the Puglia region of Italy we found a true Pugliese treasure. This masseria, a fortified farmhouse typical of the area, was constructed in various stages over the last four centuries amid 72 acres of olive trees that date back as many years. Armando and Rosalba Balestrazzi purchased the farm 17 years ago, the only people outside the original family to have owned it. In search of a slower, healthier way of life, they traveled the whole of Italy, only to return to their native Pugliese soil where the time-honored rhythms of the land set the pace of their days. They have brought the abandoned house back to life and oversee the land, its produce and the gardens with a passion.
Rosalba reigns in the kitchen where she recreates dishes of the past and newer innovative recipes using the products and herbs grown right outside her kitchen. The farmhouse has 13 guestrooms, each one homey yet elegant. Outside, a shade garden and a nearby citrus grove add to the pleasure of the place, but it is in the evening, when guests are invited to succumb to the pleasures of the table (eight-course dinners), that makes a stay here so memorable.
All images and reviews copyright 2015 by Ginda Simpson
Masseria Il Frantoio
SS16, km 874, 72017 Ostuni ~ Puglia, Italy
Masseria Il Frantoio ~ Original watercolor painting by Ginda Simpson