Italy for the Ordinary | Puglia Part 1
It wouldn’t be fair to say we saved the best for last but as far as what we truly love, then yes. Puglia is a dream come true. We deliberately planned our trip around ending in a beach like environment. For me it’s like when I enjoy a really good meal, I want to end on my favorite note. I loved Lake Como and Tuscany but going to the beach is like going home. I am drawn to water and nothing compares to the sea and we certainly explored and experienced the sea. We swam in the Ionian and Adriatic Sea. But there is so much more to Puglia. Join me as I look back at a dream come true.
I’m gong to have to divide Puglia into a few parts. I think it’s important to get a different feel for each of the places we visited. I’ll start with our Masseria then I’ll go through the towns that we experienced along the way. It wasn’t all beaches though. Puglia is a complete destination with unique culture, food, landscape and of course the sea. The common thread that connected every part of Puglia was the acres and acres of olive groves! The groves were endless and it’s almost like the olive groves connected this magnificent region into one. The olive trees are the body and then it branches out into beautiful cities and beaches. The olives provide life to the region. It kind of makes sense, olive oil is the conduit of nearly every meal, it brings everything together. The picture above may not be the most magnificent picture but for me it was the most prominent sight captured as we traveled from place to place in Puglia. You will see amazing pictures of water-scapes and city-scapes but Puglia and olives go hand in hand. So that is where I must start.
We were fortunate enough to select a fabulous place to stay while in Puglia- Masseria Il Frantoio. Now I’m sure there are other wonderful places to stay but it might be hard to beat our experience. I think that is key. If you’re looking for an experience, then a masseria is for you. We like to participate in the local region and experience the culture. Staying at a masseria affords you a unique opportunity to be part of an establishment that started in 1500’s ,modified in 1800’s and continues today as a modern yet historic setting. It really is wonderful, as you will see.
Masseria Il Frantoio has all the comforts of a hotel with the character and charm of living in someone’s home. However, you are a preferred guest who cannot overstay their welcome. As their guest, they ensure your stay will be a pleasant one and for us that certainly was accomplished.
We had a lovely room with a balcony that overlooked the citrus orchard. The grounds were relaxed and cared for but not overly manicured. The landscape wasn’t there to “impress” so to speak but offer an abundance of fresh produce and ingredients to create mouth watering meals for guests that stayed in the masseria and those that came just for a meal. This is another setting similar to Borgo di Vagli that cannot be replicated. Masseria Il Frantoio is in Ostuni. It is a great launching post to so many other towns. The one caveat is you need a car when exploring Puglia. Sure if you plan on staying at one location, then perhaps it can be done, but you will not bear witness to the land and sea unless you can get in a car and drive.
The ins and outs of Masseria Il Frantoio.
The tastes of Masseria Il Frantoio
I’m sure your mouth is watering a bit right now. Breakfast was included with our stay and you can make a reservation for dinner. We ate at the masseria 2 nights and I’m so glad we did. Of course you want to experience other places along your travels but I certainly do not regret having 2 evening meals there. They apply such attention to detail and you truly felt like a guest of a fine restaurant or country residence. In one of my prior blog posts I wrote about little “tidbits” that I learned along the way of life. In one of those posts I wrote about something I borrowed from Masseria Il Frantoio which is to use doilles to cover your pitchers to keep insects from taking a taste. You can read it if you like by going to my blog post Repurpose.
There was such much to explore at Masseria Il Frantoio. I’ve included a bunch of pictures so you can truly see it for yourself. If you ever have the opportunity to travel to Puglia, I highly recommend staying here. I am not a travel agent that has been to endless places but I know what I like and I have no reluctance in recommending Masseria Il Frantoio. As I said above, I’m sure there are many wonderful places to stay but do consider staying in a location that offers something beyond the ordinary as you set off on your deliberate escape.
The last group of photos of Masseria Il Frantoio illustrate other aspects of this ancient working farm. These photos include the cellar where the olives were pressed. As the pictures pass your view, you will see how this antiquated technique, although very ingenious, was incorporated with the use of various tools and mechanics to accomplish the tasks. They would use a donkey to walk in circle which would turn a crank and a mill stone would press the olives. It really is fascinating to not just learn by actually visualize how olives were processed in years past. So take a look as the pictures scroll by from this currently active-working-masseria.
I hope that gives you a good glimpse of where we were fortunate enough to stay while visiting Puglia. My next post will take you off the grounds to many various towns and beaches. As you can tell from our trip to Lake Como and Tuscany, we travel to see, taste and experience. There’s so much more to come, I hope you stick with me as I complete this travel blog.