After a few dusty days in southern Puglia, driving north and arriving at Masseria Palombara was wonderful. Masseria Palombara is between two charming towns, Oria and Manduria, and falls in my new favourite part of Italy, Salento. The Salento peninsula is basically everything south of Taranta and Ostuni and unlike so many parts of Italy, doesn’t have all the trademark signs of tourism (although there are of course exceptions). You can still discover small sleepy towns with unspoilt historic centres with authentic daily life buzzing around.
Set in a classic Puglian landscape of limestone and low-slung almond and olive groves, Masseria Palombara pays homage to both the tradition Salento beauty and modern Italian style. The main and original farmhouse was built in the 1700 / 1800s and is full of exceptional local antiques. The interiors were a real highlight for me – it is exactly what you hope a Puglian farmhouse to be, with earthy sandstone, wood, beautiful antiques, whitewashed walls, candles surrounded by piles of wax, dried flowers and an incredibly warm and welcoming feel.
The other major highlight for me was, of course, the food. The Masseria’s restaurant is among its most impressive attributes, serving traditional Puglian fare made with ingredients from the hotel’s own organic garden. They have 250 acres of beautiful sunny land and have been organic gardening for 15 years. 90% of what is cooked in the restaurant is grown on the property.
Masseria Palombara has two beautiful pools, and if you can drag yourself away from there, you are only 20 minutes away from some glorious Salento beaches – hit up San Pietro in Bevagna and Punta Prosciutto.
Fabiana is a wonderful host, having grown up locally with excellent knowledge of the area but also of the hotel. Fabiana / the masseria will provide you with a great things to do locally, but honestly, we found it pretty hard to leave! Two things I particularly loved: we had dinner in Manduria one night at Color Vinaccia Vineria con Cucina (image below), the food was delicious (sort of like local Puglian tapas), and we also tried some local wine here. I’ve also heard good things about Gusto Primitivo and All’Hostaria in Manduria – but book if it’s July! The other thing we did that I loved was visit Grottaglie, the city of ceramics – Nicola Fasano’s place is just so special!