What is an Italian Masseria?
A “masseria” is an Italian version of a plantation, hacienda, or farm. The name masseria is used mostly in the Puglia region of Italy. These homes are sometimes referred as “massi” or “factoria.” From the 16th to 18th century, masserias were the farmhouses in which workers and “pedrones” (English: master/boss) would reside while harvesting large farms. Italy has a number of farmhouses which are still on functioning farms and which are available as unique lodging accommodation.
I have stayed at a converted 16th century farmhouse in Lecce, Italy and a converted family home which produced silk in the lower Dolomites. Both times, the owners made the best meal of our vacation, with fresh ingredients from their multiple gardens!
Where to find a masseria?
Sometimes referred to as “Agriturismo” you can find many of these Italian farmhouse accommodations at agriturismo.it, a state supported website started in the 80’s in order to promote rural communities. While, in English speaking countries it is known as Farm Stay Holidays. Many of these accommodations can be found on bookings.com, VRBO, and Airbnb. Don’t be surprised to find stays ranging in prices as much as a major city, as some of these stays can be a bit pricey. Unlike other sights, those accommodations on agriturismo are working farms and a percentage of the products used and sold must be from the farm itself.
For those who are looking for reasonable or often FREE accommodations, you can find accommodations on the website, https://wwoof.net/ . Which is an acronym for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms or Willing Workers on Organic Farms. Most WWOOF farms provide free accommodation in exchange for light manual labor around the farm.