There’s plenty to discover in Italy, and until recently the sleepy fishing towns that dot its northeastern coast was pretty much undiscovered by the masses. It has everything the Italophile in me craves: the burning Italian sun, an endless Mediterranean coastline, bountiful fresh seafood and centuries old history. Last September I headed to Puglia to check out the newly launched Masseria Torre Maizza, a new feather in the cap for Rocco Forte Hotels.
A 16th-century farmhouse transformed into a heavenly retreat on Italy’s Adriatic coast, Masseria Torre Maizza is set amidst ancient olive groves and a sprawling, verdant garden. A seaside sanctuary that marries lush natural beauty with an elegant Italian aesthetic and the distinct, warm Forte hospitality, it provides a perfect retreat to explore the stunning region of Puglia.
There are plenty of hotels on this coast that can curate holiday fun, but nowhere could be smarter or more sparkling with sophistication than at Masseria Torre Maizza.
The bright and airy rooms and suites are exquisitely decorated in a contemporary eclectic style and have views out to the terrace or to the gardens. The suite that I was assigned to has a private terrace and an expansive roof-deck complete with a daybed for soaking in the beautiful Puglia sunsets in privacy.
Lavish features like Italian floor tiles, oversized beds covered with luxurious Italian linen, finely crafted furniture and a mountain of pillows are perfectly complemented by sophisticated in-room amenities like rain shower, a deep bathtub that looks out to a private courtyard, Wi-Fi and an espresso machine. Exquisite local craftsmanship throughout in the form of beautiful ceramics from the neighboring town of Grottaglie adds distinctive Italian detail that echoes the cultural uniqueness of the region.
Measuring 80 square metres and offering sweeping vistas of the entire resort and the ocean beyond, the two-bedroom suite is the embodiment of the ultimate luxury experience. Housed in the distinct tower building by the entrance to the resort, it consists of two bedrooms, a lounge, a dining area in an open-plan style and a spacious sundeck with daybeds. Let the butler indulge your every whim, from arranging spa treatments, private yoga sessions, to sunset cocktails prior to an intimate dinner on the private deck.
Masseria Torre Maizza also offers a series of indulgent imbibing and dining experiences within its exceptionally stylish surroundings, superbly combining the laid-back spirit of Puglia with the marriage of Italian tastes and the best of local flavours. Carosello, the main restaurant, is the perfect setting to melt into the chilled-out vibes of Puglia while savouring local inspired dishes. The resort’s pool bar and restaurant next to the bustling pool is where to head to for simple lunch of pizzas, pastas and salads. And my favourite of course is the Instagram-worthy Bougainvillea Bar and an outdoor terrace decked in pretty bamboo lounges and brimming with creeping bougainvilleas. I spent many evenings here enjoying delicious pre-dinner cocktails made by Francesco who helms the cavernous bar while being entertained by Carmelo, the resident entertainer who will surely get you tapping away to his repertoire of English and Italian songs. If not, his color coordinated ensemble and his cheerful antics will surely brighten your evening.
It’s just a stroll into the azure waters of the Adriatic sea after a leisurely lunch at the nearby private beach club, where there is access to a wealth of water activities. Back at the resort, guests have the option to indulge in a 9-hole game of golf or just whack some balls at the driving range. A leisurely horseback ride can be arranged, or you can just set up camp by the swimming pool that looks directly out onto acres of unspoiled landscapes studded with citrus and olive trees. For a little me time, drop by the spa for a massage and a range of beauty treatments, or work up a sweat amongst lemon trees at the open-air gym located next to the pool area.
And when the yearn to dive into the local culture kicks in, Masseria Torre Maizza offers unique activities and excursions to provide guests with ample opportunities to explore the idyllic nearby villages like Alberobello; to view up close the UN world heritage Trulli houses which are entirely made of local limestones and Martina Franca; also known as festival town whose buildings with exquisite baroque details have been the backdrop of the Summer Opera Festival since 1975. Also within easy reach are the towns of Locorotondo; what must be Puglia’s most pretty little town where you can get lost for a few hours exploring the labyrinth of alleys and walkways while soaking up its rich architectural details and Ostuni where you will be astounded by the picturesque whitewashed buildings some of which originated from the Grecian times! And that, frankly is just touching on the surface of this Puglia region that offers a truly different Italian discovery.
Masseria Torre Maizza
C.da Coccaro, s.n.
7205 Savelletri di Fasano (Brindisi) Puglia, ITALY