Masseria Petriolo – Apulia
Built in 1689, the fortified house sits within a 30 hectares (75 acre) organic farm. The buildings were completely restored under the supervision of renowned interior designer Alexander Waterworth (Soho House), who has marvelously succeeded in creating a refined, rustic-chic decor while keeping the historic elements of the complex, like its impressive vaulted ceilings and its magical 17th-century chapel.
The farmhouse, complete with noble towers, is built around a spacious courtyard off which most of the rooms are accessed. The Dante Drawing Room features a soothing palette of light teals, greys and beiges, creating a harmonious ambiance with the villa’s massive stone walls. It has several comfortable seating areas, including around the lovely fireplace. Another impressive open fireplace presides over the large dining room, which features a grand table to accommodate evening feasts of pugliesi specialities carefully prepared by the villa’s chef and using organic produce straight from the property’s gardens. Guests can also dine al fresco under the beautifully-lit covered loggia.
The sophisticated decor is carried over into the bedrooms and each one has a special feature from personal fireplaces to luxurious soaking tubs set right in the bedroom, one being located on a private terrace. Six of the eight bedrooms are found in the main villa which also includes an extra double bedroom and a fully separate concierge apartment. Two other bedrooms, interconnected, are located in the pool house with wonderful uninterrupted views, covered terrace and outdoor kitchen, dining and lounging area. The pool house is located about 25 meters from the main villa.
The villa’s two pools are a real highlight. On the rooftop you’ll find a 5x4m heated pool from where you can enjoy stupendous views of the olive groves and the Adriatic sea. It also has a dining area, fabulous sunbeds, a changing room and a shower. Sportier guests can do their lengths in the larger 18x16 heated pool nestled in the garden and children can play in the shallower area. Get a further work out in the villa’s astro turf private tennis court then fully relax in the hammam.
Peacefulness reigns over the estate’s sprawling farmland where you can stroll amidst orange, mandarin and lemon groves, ancient olive groves, and organic fruit, vegetable and herb gardens. Within the olive groves you may come across a surprise: a 1973 Airstream Overlander. It too has been entirely modernised and can be used, at extra cost, as a base for a picnic or al fresco dinner or a romantic hideaway to steal away to for a a secluded night, or a unique place for an overnight guest to stay if the main house is full. Off the estate, guests can enjoy a trip to the beach or to various fishing villages and historic sites which provide a window into this very untouched and enchanting region of Italy.
• The 5x4 rooftop heated pool offering sweeping views of the olive groves and the Adriatic sea in the background. The rooftop pool is equipped with a dining area, extra wide sun beds accommodating up to 10 pax, a changing room and a shower
• Heated pool 18x16 with swimming lanes to do lengths, a shallower area for playing and a toddler circle for the little ones
• Astro turf tennis court with viewing gazebo. Rackets and balls are available
• Kids play ground
• Pool house offering with covered terrace and summer kitchen, dining and lounging area, further to 2 bedrooms
• A traditional walled-in citrus grove which nurtures five varieties of lemons as well as mandarins and oranges
• A 1973 Airstream Overlander. Purchased by the owner in West Virginia and located in the olive groves of the Masseria, the Airstream is a vintage trailer car which has been completely modernised. It can be used as a base for a picnic or al fresco dinner, a romantic hideaway to steal away to for a a secluded night, or a unique place for an overnight guest to stay if the main house is full
• Aromatic vegetable and herb gardens to provide the chef with the freshest ingredients
• Orange and olive groves from which the estate produces marmalades, honey and olive oil
• The hammam has domed ceiling decorated, featuring a two small windows to create a half-light; it also contains a large stone bed to lie on and a double rainwater shower. It has three different access: one from the master bedroom, one from the courtyard and one from the corridor relying the Gargano and the Valentino bedrooms
• The Dante Drawing Room has vaulted ceilings, an open fireplace, different seating areas with inviting sofas in the tones of lilac, grey and lichin green and views of the citrus grove. The state-of-the-art sound system and projector can be set up in the drawing room, or in the garden for a starlit cinema experience.
• The grand Trajan dining hall, a spectacular setting for celebratory feasts, sits 20 for dinner with a 26 feet banqueting table. Architectural features are wooden beams, arrow slit windows, an ancient french oak floor and a large stone fireplace.
• Well-stocked library with satellite TV
• Kitchens: Petriolo includes three fully equipped kitchens. The breakfast kitchen located on the ground floor has direct access to the breakfast terrace; the professional kitchen on the ground floor accessed from the main courtyard and with a service entrance for deliveries, and the light and airy first floor family kitchen, a charming place for casual dining.
• House laundry
• The Estate uses renewable energy sources for all heating and cooling. The woodchip boiler provides hot water, heating for the pool and villa, while the Yazaki absorption chiller provides air-conditioning. Solar panels and parabolic solar collectors provide extra energy.
• Soho house prime bedding
• State-of-the-art projector with sound system can be set up in the drawing troom, or in the garden for a starlit cinema experience
• Wireless bluetooth speakers
• Air-conditioning and underfloor heating throughout, independently controlled in each room
• Bathrooms have bath set with soap, shampoo, shower gel and high quality extra thick towels, pure linen bathrobes and hairdryer
• Night time surveillance
• Baby equipment (cots, high chairs, table, chairs) available on request
• Pool heating
Staff | Service included
• Breakfast prepared by housekeeper, including milk, coffee, cappuccino, fruit juices, tea, hot chocolate,
Croissants, homemade fresh bread, homemade jams (made from estate-grown fruit), homemade pies and cakes. Eggs prepared upon request (scrambled, poached, omelet, soft boiled), bacon, smoked salmon, tomatoes, homemade yogurt. Fresh fruit from the estate, muesli.
• A welcome pack and water
• Morning and afternoon snack is also included, i.e home-made biscuits with a selection of teas
• English speaking concierge for 4 hours daily
• 3 maids for morning maid service and evening turn-down service from 8:00 to 9:00pm
• A chef and her sous-chef
• Daily garden and swimming pool maintenance
Staff | Service on request
• In-house esthetic treatments or massages
• Personal laundry services
• Babysitting service
• Cooking courses
• Weddings or other receptions
• Closest commercial and private airport Bari 60 km/ 50 minutes drive
• Nearest beach, Polignano a Mare 7 km / 14 minutes drive
• Locorotondo 30 km / 30 minutes drive
• Alberobello 25 km / 30 miunutes drive
• Ostuni 45 km / 40 minutes drive
• Lecce 110 km / 1 hour drive
• Otranto 160 km / 1 hours and 40 minutes drive
Things to do
• Bari. Bari Vecchia is a walled city crowded on a peninsula jutting into the sea. There was no room for expansion and the resulting overcrowding has meant that life is lived on the streets. Wander down the narrow alleyways you will feel like walking through someone’s living room, or well, everyone’s living room. Entire families from grandparents to babies sat outside their homes chatting, playing, napping, while washing dangled from balconies and scooters whizzed past.
It’s not just relaxing and socialising that takes place in the streets. In the mornings they become a pasta factory as women sit at tables outside their homes making the typical Puglian pasta orecchiette. These “little ears” are made by rolling the dough into thin logs, cutting off a chunk with a knife and shaping it by hand—all at an impressively rapid pace. If you get lost in Bari Vecchia, look down. The black stone pavement was laid to help visiting merchants navigate their way out after market day; the white limestone paving will take you deeper into the maze. Don’t forget to taste the focaccia smeared with roasted cherry tomatoes, olives and glistening with local olive oil.
• Alberobello stands to the southern part of Bari province, near Castellana Grotte, Locorotondo and Putignano. The town was founded in the 15th century by Acquaviva-D'Aragona, two counts of Conversano, on land that was originally an oak forest. A typical feature of Alberobello are the trulli, white dry-stone houses with conical roofs made of lapidary stones. Inside, the trulli have a square central room communicating with the other rooms of the house via arches. Many trulli in Alberobello can be visited and the tallest trullo in the area, Trullo Sovrano, is on two floors and houses a museum. The roofs of the trulli are embellished with decorations and pinnacles of various shapes, often symbolising religious signs or signs of the zodiac.In 1996, Unesco made the town of Alberobello a world heritage site.
• Ostuni, La Città Bianca, the white city, is one of Puglia’s most beautiful cities, a tumble of white-washed buildings perched strategically atop a hill with views of the endless olive trees in the Valle d’Itria countryside, and the glimmering Adriatic Sea. The medieval walled city was built without a plan, and it shows. The web of streets is confusing, a maze of alleyways, staircases and arches. Buildings were built on top of each other, and the archways support the houses they connect, making up for the lack of strong foundations. You turn one way and find a dead end, another and get a glimpse of the sapphire sea. Puglia has seen a stream of invaders—Greeks, Romans, Goths, Byzantines, Normans—and the labyrinth of Ostuni is the perfect way to confuse the enemy. The stark white buildings are dazzling in the southern sun and are brightened by vivid green and blue wooden doors, pots of red geraniums and cacti. In the 17th century a plague killed millions in the area and infected houses were painted white by mixing limestone dust with water. Locals noticed that there was less illness around the white houses and attributed it to a miracle; most likely it was the antibacterial effect of the calcium carbonate. Nowadays the white houses attract tourists and the local government encourages everyone to repaint every two years by paying for half the cost.The main street in Ostuni is lined with boutiques and souvenir shops selling local olive oil and Salentino sandals, but the best way to experience the town is by diving down the narrow side streets and like the invaders once did, getting lost.
At Ostuni’s highest point you’ll find the Cathedral, built in the 15th century in the late Gothic style, rare in Puglia where most of the churches are austere Romanesque or ornate Baroque. Its graceful lines lead to the sky and there’s a magnificent rose window with Christ at the centre surrounded by 24 finely carved columns representing the hours of the day. Visite on a Saturday, Ostuni’s market day. It’s very much a local place—most tourists don’t make it here on the edge of town—and is foodie heaven. Browse the stalls of bulbous round cucumbers, fresh almonds in brine, dried figs, piles of walnuts, aromatic bunches of oregano, twin balls of caciocavallo cheese dangling from string, trays of snails, entire octopus, and mounds of vibrant red chiles, sweet and spicy, round, bell-shaped and long.
The Salento is a hot, dry peninsula at the southern tip of Puglia. Its geographical isolation has meant that it has developed a strong identity with its own cuisine, traditions and music, influenced by its Greek past. Along with some of Italy’s best beaches there are some fascinating towns to explore.
• Lecce is known for its exuberant baroque architecture in the golden Leccese stone of the area, its churches lavishly decorated with cherubs, gargoyles and griffins, and delicately carved columns and cornices. Lecce is one of Puglia’s larger cities but it’s still a walkable size, and it manages to be both lively and relaxed.
• Otranto has a stunning coastal location where you can combine morning visits to churches with an afternoon swimming in the clean, impossibly turquoise sea. It’s just 72 km from Albania and its location has resulted in many invasions, the worst of which was the Turkish siege in 1480 when they destroyed much of the city and tortured and killed its people. Otranto’s principal attraction is the Cathedral with its mosaic floor built in 1163-1165— it survived the Turkish invasion although parts of the Cathedral were destroyed. It’s one of the largest mosaics in Europe and covers the entire floor. Its central motif is the Tree of Life, supported at the base by elephants, a symbol of purity, with branches telling different pagan and biblical stories. Another tree near the front of the church depicts heaven on one side and grizzly scenes from hell on the other. In the chapel you can see the human remains of the 800 martyrs who resisted the Turkish invasion and refused to convert to Islam. The empty sockets of hundreds of skulls stare down at you in stark contrast to the beauty of the mosaic floor.
• Gallipolli’s old town is on a island connected by a causeway to the mainland. It has a relaxed, elegant vibe, some stunning churches, and a golden curve of sand right in the centre of town, plus many more along the surrounding coast. It was ruled by the Greeks for five centuries between 7th and 2nd century BC, but all signs of their existence were destroyed by the Romans and most of the architecture seen now is from the Middle Ages.
Other than leisurely walks along the city’s seafront walls, the most interesting thing to do in Gallipolli is visit Frantoio Ipogeo in Granafei Palace one of the 35 underground olive presses. It was first used in 1600, excavated by hand out of the soft rock, to make olive oil for lamps which was exported around the world. You can see the original equipment used for grinding and pressing the olives and get a sense of what it was like to work in this dark, damp cave. Blindfolded donkeys were used to work the olive mill and they lived down here with the workers who smoked weeds and carved little sculptures to distract themselves from the miserable conditions.
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