From old country farmhouse to luxury guest house. Built in 1700 in the archaeological excavations in Egnatia, upper Brindisi, the Masseria Cimino is now one of the 101 best hotels in the world, according to Tatler.
The historical farmhouse owned by the Melpignano family in Savelletri di Fasano, was fully renovated in 2006 but has preserved all the appearance linked to its original function and the use of local materials. Age-old olive trees surround the residence built from tufa brick, the local white stone, 300 metres from the sea. The soberly decorated walls seem to whisper the ancient history of the farmhouse to the guests, telling of the pride of this land, severe yet able to arouse an infinity of emotions. The public areas are filled with an air of discreet elegance, right down to the finest detail, overseen by the Melpignano family, represented today by Aldo and his sisters Marisa and Annamaria, with the precious collaboration of the architect Pino Brasca.
Country tools, agave leaves and bunches of cherry tomatoes adorn the white walls, becoming original candle holders with a rustic yet exclusive style. There are 15 rooms, looking out over the sea, the archaeological site and the 18 hole San Domenico golf course, built in 2001 around the farmhouse. The guest rooms are dominated by Mediterranean design, with stone or cast iron beds, white bricks used as lampshades and small candles giving off a soft light.
The most prestigious Massaro Suite, located in the tower, has a private balcony and a small lounge heated by a fireplace in the winter months. Here every detail is tended to, from the hand-made curtains to the bespoke ceramics produced in Grottaglie. And the same attention is paid to the cooking, which cleverly mixes the typical flavours of the region. And as the sun goes down, when the light dresses the agaves and oleanders in gold, guests can relax on the sofas with a snack of Puglia taralli flavoured with fennel, chilli pepper or olive oil.
Dinner at Masseria Cimino is a buffet of home-grown vegetables, local focaccia cooked in a wood-fired oven and other typical Puglia dishes. Not to be missed are the orecchiette strascinate served with fresh tomato or broccoli tips, oven-baked pasta with meatballs and roux sauce, or the traditional tiella with rice, potatoes and mussels. Finally, the guest house is very attentive to allthings green.
“We take great care over separated waste collection, the careful use of raw materials and energy. Indeed the ancient farmhouse system was always based on minimising waste,” explains Annamaria Melpignano. Confirming that sustainability is not merely a passing trend but an ancient philosophy, born from good practices and handed down along with traditions. Just like the dream of the Masseria Cimino.