Looking out over sun drenched fields filled with century old olives groves, grape vines and citrus trees I took in a deep breath of the Salentro air, inhaling the mix of lavender, rosemary and citrus scents hanging on the breeze and the sound of cicada humming in the background.
I thought to my self, ‘’you finally made it’’
I’d been dreaming of visiting this place ever since I stumbled across a photo of one of Puglia’s hidden secrets ’Masseria Potenti’.
I am normally one for researching extensively to find that hidden gem, a private residence or boutique hotel. I feel a trip is an adventure to experience and to be influenced. This time I did things a bit differently and planned my trip surrounded by a visit to this Masseria that has taken my heart.
Masseria potenti does not disappoint!
Located in Italy’s south, tucked away in the Manduria countryside lays the 16th Century farmstead that was originally owned by the powerful imperial family.
It feels like I have arrived to a sparkling white oasis that has just popped up out of nowhere compared to the vast contrasting red earth surrounding the Masseria and the giant prickly pear climbing the walls.
Maria Grazia and her daughter Chiara warmly welcome us to a delicious lunch of freshly caught tuna from the local Ionian Sea and a sauce of home grown cherry tomato’s, capers and herbs bursting with flavor. Bunches of fresh and dried flowers, dried chilies and the customary Apulian prickly pear leaves are strung up decorating the tables, the ancient olive trees providing shade in the peak of the mid day heat.
Piles upon piles of thinly sliced zucchini’s are drying under the scorching sun on a long table next to us while we dine; reminding us this is a working farm.
After lunch Maria takes us on a tour of her majestic home stay; the sole of any home I feel must start with the kitchen, bottles upon bottles of cherry tomatoes where being preserved as well as trays of tiramisu was laid out being prepaid for the coming night desert. I pulled myself away, trying to savor the delicious aromas of such simple beautiful Mediterranean cuisine.
We move to view the white washed rooms filled with beautiful vintage white linen adorn with hand embroidery on the beds and pottery from the little village Grottaglie dotted around the rooms.
Maria shows me her exquisite linen collection folded and stored into various class-covered cupboards that line the wall of the main hall. Each cupboard filled with antique linen; she has enough to open a museum!
We finish the tour with Maria giving us a little demonstration of the Pizzica, a traditional Salento rhythmic dance preformed with tambourines. The roots of the dance are from the Greek-roman period in connection with pagan rituals. I was to busy dancing around with Maria to get a shot of her, sorry!