As more visitors have discovered in recent years, this region in southern Italy, the stiletto heel of the boot, has a range of really seductive attractions: fortified hilltop towns with historic centers; the cone shaped, almost fairy tale stone cottages, trulli; coastal cliffs overlooking the turquoise waters of the Adriatic; a rich agriculture-based gastronomy. Spread out along the countryside are also centuries old, stone masseria farmhouses transformed into intimate, atmospheric resorts. The latest one worth checking out is Baglioni Hotels & Resorts’ Baglioni Masseria Muzza which opened in June in Puglia’s Salento countryside near Otranto, one of the most beautiful coastal cities.
The center of the property dates back to the 17th century, is constructed of whitewashed limestone and now houses 40 rooms, many with vaulted ceilings and imposing columns. The design is serene and local: a beige and white color scheme accessorized with natural fabrics and area ceramics; patios and balconies overlook the olive trees dotted around the five acre estate, the resort swimming pool or the Alimini lakes of the nearby nature preserve.
On property, the spa utilizes herbs and flowers grown on the estate for oils and essences in treatments such as a facial treatment with rosemary extract and orange blossom water and a body scrub with calendula flowers. Yoga and meditation sessions are also available along with other fitness instruction.
In line with any property in this region, and this country, it the region’s cuisine is on display in the three restaurants. The gastronomic restaurant Le Site offers selections such as a mixture of Gallipoli red shrimp with Puglia burrata and scorpion fish and shellfish poached in olive oil, garlic, parsley and cherry tomatoes. La Limonaia, specializing in dishes from the Salento, presents dishes such as toasted-wheat orecchiette with tomato sauce and meatballs with ricotta cheese drops, filet of sea bream baked with zucchini and bread crumbs with olive oil and wild thyme along with a range of pizzas, with and without tomato. Al fresco breakfast and lunch is available at the poolside restaurant Mirto with dishes such as spaghetti with organic tomatoes, the cheese Stracciatella, olives and crumbled tarallo biscuits, grilled yellowfin tuna with garden vegetables and pizzas.
Off property, a number of experiences are curated for guests. Among them: a hike through the Alimini Lakes preserve and visit to the nearby Baia dei Turchi beach; riding horses through the Otranto countryside, winding up along the coastline and an Otranto beach; kayaking along the Otranto coast; a gourmet tour in the imposing, Baroque city of Lecce, the Salentine capital and the city often described as the Florence of the South and a tour of Otranto and the trulli of another prominent town Alberobello along with a tasting of local mozzarella. Guests can also experience an olive oil tasting in another beautiful city of the region, the hilltop white town Ostuni along with a picnic in an olive grove. Or they can kick back and take in the scenery aboard a sailboat or yacht cruising the Salento coast, admiring the beauty of the pristine water and the majesty of the hilltop towns.