masseria salento agriturismoThe masseria stands on a gently sloping, wooded hillside affording panoramic views, that on clear days, reach the Albanian coastline. The structure dates back to the XV° century and it has been carefully and lovingly restored using traditional materials and workmanship.

Abandoned for several years, today the farmhouse has been reinstated in its role in the surrounding rural territory, offering a very suggestive and peaceful environment.
Surrounded by 8 hectares (20 acres) of land, the farm has received full biological certification and produces vegetables, olives, legumes, aromatic herbs, cereal products and typical local fruit cultivated with the organic method.

 

The House

The rural fortified settlements, the masserie (farmhouses), are representative of farm life in the Salento area during the fifteenth to the seventeenth century. The Salento territory, with its open plains lacking in natural defenses, was constantly being invaded by the Turks, Saracens and pirates. The masserie, often situated in strategic positions along important routes of communication and as warehouses for quantities of grain and oil, were in great danger. Their particular architecture, thick walls built around the farmhouse and the outbuildings with towers, retractable stairs and secret hiding places were a logical development.
In this historical context, small churches, underground cave dwellings and masserie, among which, Masseria Santa Lucia, grew up around the crossroads known as Contrada Macurano. Macurano, situated along the ancient Appia-Traiana Way was an important route for pilgrims going to Jerusalemme.
Since ancient times people have inhabited this area, first the Messapi, then around the fifth century B.C. the Basiliani Greek monks fleeing from political persecution. Following their cultural tradition the monks built refuge/cell dwellings conducive to the ascetic life. In the eleventh century A.D.the Benedictine monks began arriving and due to the growing importance of olive oil, the ascetic refuge/cell dwellings gave way to underground oil presses. About this time the church of Santa Lucia and a fortified farm, Masseria Macurano, were erected.
The Benedictine organization greatly stimulated economic growth and Contrada Macurano flourished for several centuries. A monastery, Masseria Santa Lucia, and the church of Santo Stefano were built during this era.
During the sixteenth century, continued raids by the Turks and pirates caused the slow, relentless deterioration of the area until the 1700’s when the buildings were transformed into farms, giving rise once again to an important market place as well as a respite for travellers. Farming continued in the area well into the nineteenth century with the main crops, vegetables, grains and especially tobacco.