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Ostuni: Masseria Il Frantoio

S.S. 16, km. 874, Phone: 0831.330.276

Reviewed by: Ginda Simpson from Italy, review #1019

When: May 2005

A masseria (fortified farm house) on 150 acres of ancient olive trees. A shade garden, citrus grove, beautiful rooms and Rosalba's cooking!!!! Paradiso!

On the outskirts of Ostuni, one of the most picturesque towns of the Puglia region of Italy, lies a true Pugliese treasure. This masseria, a fortified farmhouse typical of the area, was constructed in various stages over the last four centuries amid 180 acres of olive trees that date back as many years. Armando and Rosalba Balestrazzi, purchased the farm 14 years ago, the only people outside the original family to have owned it. In search of a slower, healthier way of life, they traveled the whole of Italy, only to return to their native Pugliese soil where the time-honored rhythms of the land set the pace of their days. They have brought the abandoned house back to life and oversee the land, its produce and the gardens with a passion.

Rosalba reigns in the kitchen where she recreates dishes of the past and newer innovative recipes using the products and herbs grown right outside her kitchen.

The farmhouse has ten guestrooms, each one homey yet elegant. Outside, a shade garden and a nearby citrus grove add to the pleasure of the place, but it is in the evening, when guests are invited to succumb to the pleasures of the table (8 course-dinners), that makes a stay here so memorable. Visit their website to get a taste of their offerings.

Reviewed by: Donna Marie from CA, review #498

When: October 2003

Beauty, charm and hospitality awaits at Il Frantoio!

The owners of Il Frantoio, Armando and Rosalba have taken an ancient masseria outside of the white city of Ostuni and created an oasis of extraordinary beauty. This, their home, is open to those of us lucky enough to travel to Puglia and spend some time.

Each room is comfortable, cosy and fitted with all the comforts of a home away from home. The bedrooms, off a central foyer upstairs in the main house, are large and comfortable with linen draped beds, armoires roomy enough to hold everything and bathrooms of marble and terra cotta tile. A library is yours to browse in, a game room and communal room with travel information at your disposal are on the first floor.

Breakfasts are taken in the separate diningroom - feast on freshly squeezed juices, rolls and cakes baked that morning. Jams and jellies are all made on the farm and the capuccino (or tea) is robust and delicious. All this to the sound of classical music playing softly in the background.

Rosalba, a talented chef, presides over the kitchen and hosts ten-course (!) dinners during the week....do not miss it! This is truly an event and one you will never forget. All ingredients used come from the farm...all fresh, every dish home made and delicious, each course memorable and accompanyed by aperitif, wines and cordials. Sip a refreshing welcome drink and nibble on an assortment of home made biscuits on the patio when you arrive, stroll the gardens, vineyard and orchards and rest awhile before going out to see the sights...

Il Frantoio is a restful haven and a pleasure to return to at the end of the day.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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