Above: The Masseria Bagnara in Puglia’s Taranto province stands out from the rest of the many excellent luxury farm house resorts.
Over the last decade, Puglia has become one of the world’s sexiest destinations for beachside vacations.
It seems to have just the right balance of rustic and luxury, country fare and high cuisine, to appeal to a broad swath of travelers who are looking for an authentic and restful experience with great food and wine.
There are literally scores and scores of wonderful, best-kept-secret masserie (mahs-sah-REE-eh; the singular is masseria, pronounced mahs-sah-REE-ah) that dot both eastern and western coasts of the peninsula.
What’s a masseria?
It’s the Pugliese word for country house (akin to the English mans) and it is used to denote what is called an agriturismo in Italian (ah-gree-tuh-REEZ-moh), a farmhouse that offers lodging and often food and wine, usually with a menu that features local ingredients and local cookery.
As far as Puglia’s masserie go, there are few that can rival the Masseria Bagnara (mahs-sah-REE-ah bahn-YAHR-ah) in Taranto province.
Not only is this boutique hotel outfitted with all the amenities that luxury travelers expect to find in five-star hotels (including air conditioning, which is not always easy to find in rural Puglia), but it also has a world-class restaurant and a spectacular wine collection.
That’s the wine cellar, above: It’s housed in a classic Pugliese trullo, a hand-crafted stone masonry abode, once used by farm workers and travelers.
Check out the hotel’s page for its restaurant and wine list, which features top wines from Italy and France (and not just Puglia). It’s a unique offering in Puglia and really takes this place over the top in terms of what it offers to the luxury traveler and gourmet.
The people who own it are lovely, writes Paolo Cantele in an email after a recent visit to the property. And we couldn’t recommend it to you enough…