A farmhouse turned luxury vacation rental, Masseria Petrarolo in Puglia combines rustic warmth with elegance. Nine bedrooms in the villa and pool house are set in olive and citrus groves.
We weren’t looking for anything quite as grand as this, but we just fell in love with it. We decided to throw all reason out the window and figure out how to make it work.
Make sure to hire private chef to experience authentic Pulgian cuisine in the comforts of the villa.
You’ll get to choose from so many beautiful sand beaches on the Adriatic Sea and the Ionian Sea.
Come to Villa Pizzorusso for a big group vacation in one of Puglia's famous, historic masserias.
This villa is located deep in the countryside, you will need a car to discover what Puglia has to offer.
How would you describe Villa Pizzorusso in a nutshell?
Villa Pizzorusso is a historic ‘masseria’ turned into a luxury holiday villa located on Via Appia Antica — the old Appian Way, which connected Rome to Brindisi — in the southern Italian region of Puglia, the ‘heel of the boot.’
Tell us a little about the history of Villa Pizzorusso please.
Masserias are one of Puglia’s two indigenous rural architectural structures, along with the conical trulli. Masserias were walled (to protect them from Puglia’s many invaders), self-sustaining farm compounds. They were an integral part of life of the region until the early part of the 20th century. The oldest sections of Pizzorusso date to the 1500s. A ‘piano nobile’ (owner’s floor) was added in the early 1800s. The Moorish and neo-classic design elements including the five cupolas, floor tile work, frescoed ceilings, and grand arched entry and windows date from that time. Villa Pizzorusso had been abandoned for over 50 years when we began its restoration ten years ago.
What made you decide on this part of Italy, Puglia?
I am from Puglia, and moved to the States for school and work about 20 years ago. It was always a dream of mine to have a home here. This dream came true when we found this place. We weren’t looking for anything quite as grand as this, but we saw this property and fell in love with it. So we decided to throw all reason out the window and figure out how to make it work.
What was your inspiration to rent the masseria to holiday guests?
We understood how ambitious this restoration would be when we saw it, and we knew it would become a different kind of project — not just for us but a holiday rental for others to enjoy as well. Villa Pizzorusso has now been our love and obsession for the almost five years.
Tell us a bit about the restoration of the villa.
We used a local architect, Mino D’Astore, and a local contractor, Salatore Medardi of Medardi SRL, a company that has specialised in historic renovations for four generations. We all agreed on what was most important — to preserve as much of the original detail of the villa as possible.
We restored the tile floors, the stone work and salvaged what we could of the frescoes in the two upstairs bedrooms. We introduced modern elements while respecting the structure and history of the house. We wanted the villa to retain its soul. We also found local antiques — at fairs, flea markets, and through family — that we could imagine could have always been there.
What has been the biggest reward about renting out the villa?
We are happiest when holiday guests appreciate the culture of Puglia and how Pizzorusso is connected with it. When people fall into the natural rhythms of the region — sun, sea, food, wine, people — they get the most out of the house and their time in Puglia.
Please tell us a little bit about Puglia.
Puglia is a surrounded by the sea (in fact two, the Adriatic and the Ionian) and holds a strategic position in the Mediterranean. Because of that position, Puglia has a complex history of invasion and occupation dating back to the 8th century B.C. The indigenous Messapian culture was overtaken by Greeks, Byzantines, Romans, Turks, Normans, Bourbons, Saracens, Dalmatian pirates and Slovenians, among others. All of these influences have created a layered and rich culture.
Puglia is the largest producer of olive oil in Italy and is the largest grape producing region. The wines of Puglia are spectacular — from the full reds (Primitivo, Negroamaro) to rosés to light fruity whites. The wheat produces some of Italy finest pastas and breads. And the seafood is always abundant and fresh. Puglia has not yet been fully ‘discovered’ and is still ‘authentic’.
There are six bedrooms and six baths at the villa, a study, and a great room (the former stables) with living and dining spaces and kitchen. The interior courtyard is almost 1/2 acre and has outdoor dining and living ‘rooms’, an abundant vegetable garden, a dramatic 25-meter pool, and a walled ‘aranceto’ (citrus grove) with Roman columns. The land leading to the villa is an ocean of olive trees and we grow wheat on the land immediately surrounding the house.
Main building: Bedroom 1: Queen size bed, shared access to hall bathroom with stand-alone shower & bathtub, air conditioning, access to private balcony, private entrance
Bedroom 2: Queen size bed, shared access to hall bathroom with stand-alone shower & bathtub, air conditioning, direct access to terrace, private entrance
Bedroom 3: Queen size bed, sofa bed, en-suite bathroom with shower/bathtub combo, air conditioning, garden view, private entrance, fireplace
Bedroom 4: Queen size bed, sofa bed, en-suite bathroom with shower, air conditioning, garden view, private entrance
Courtyard Building Bedroom 5: Queen size bed, en-suite bathroom with stand-alone shower, air conditioning, garden view, private entrance
Bedroom 6: Queen size bed, 2 single beds, en-suite bathroom with shower, air conditioning, garden view, private entrance
At Villa Pizzorusso guests will find free Wi-Fi, a fully equipped kitchen, a laundry room, fireplaces, air conditioning, a media room, and a walled courtyard with a barbecue station. Included in the rates is a maid service for two hours each day, except on Sundays. Special arrangements such as a private chef, cooking lessons, a tour guide and driver, and even Italian lessons are available upon request.
Villa Pizzorusso is central to many of Puglia’s top destinations. Within an hour of the villa are: the stunning baroque architecture of Lecce; the white ‘Greek’ city of Ostuni; Martina Franca, which hosts Puglia’s top summer classical music festival; the trulli of Alberobello; the beautiful seaside city of Otranto with its distinctive cathedral containing a spectacular and unusual mosaic floors and shrine of 800 martyrs: the ceramics center of Grottaglie; Castellana Grotte, with perhaps Europe’s most dramatic underground caves; beaches on both the Adriatic and Ionian Seas; and fantastic regional restaurants featuring Puglia’s ‘cucina povera’ and fresh seafood.
The holiday villa is located 25 mins from the ocean in the countryside. The nearest big city, Brindisi, and airport are 20 mins away. The nearest town is Mesagne. It has about 30,000 people and its own Norman castle and Messapian ruins. It has a beautiful historic center, with great shops and restaurants, just a five minute drive from the house.
On the other side of us is Latiano, which is more of a farmers’ community but also has incredible shops.
Puglia is famous for its Mediterranean climate with milder winters and hot summers. The sun shines almost year-round, making it a beautiful and bright vacation destination for all seasons. During spring there are few tourists and temperatures are in the early twenties. During the summer it is crowded with Italian tourists and there are lots of festivals and events happening. In Autumn and Winter the region quiets down again as the water is too cold to swim in and it might rain here and there. However, we can highly recommend visiting during those months as the autumn harvests bring in the best food of the year.
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