Words & Photographs by Anna Harrison.
Driving through a sea of olive tress near Lecce in Italy’s glorious, glowing south, the Adriatic Coast only minutes away, you can’t help but wonder … is this the right place?
Old stone walls guide us along ochre dirt roads - we’re on route to something luxurious, yet this feels like a world forgotten.
But then we see the giant oak doors, all that stands between us and a garden oasis. We step in, abandoning worries and any notion of duty by the door. There is, in this moment, nowhere else we wish to be.
We are in Puglia’s Masseria Trapanà, which began its life as a 16th century olive oil farm. Constructed from local sandstone, the hotel still found on 60 acres of land filled with over 250 citrus trees, flowers aplenty and an olive grove - the ancient press itself still preserved beneath the courtyard. Left to crumble for close to a century and then lovingly restored over a two year period by hotelier Robert Potter-Sanders (an Australian who fell in love with Italy in his early 20s), what stands today is a wonder. The scent of oranges fills the air, tempting you to amble through Masseria Trapanà’s six gardens, each with a unique theme, designed to take you on a journey around the world. Should you not wish to wander though, simply claim a hammock, seek sun by the pool, lounge beneath fruit trees, join a cooking class, explore the chapel, take your time with a leisurely, fruit-filled breakfast or partake in a yoga session - if the body is willing.
A truly intimate hideaway, this property only has nine, spacious suites - some with outdoor baths and showers, all with cloud-like beds you will have no intention of leaving. While modern comforts abound, historical features have been very much preserved, which works rather wonderfully with the Bali-inspired interior design. The restaurant and communal spaces, like the rooms, are rich in soft, sun-warmed hues and artfully curated objet d'arts. There is an underground spa that needs to be experienced to be believed, built around ancient olive oil stone storage tanks left from the property’s farming days - a decadent and inviting time capsule. Immerse yourself, let go, and unwind, making sure you accept the limoncello whenever it is offered!
You can visit the hotel’s website by clicking here.