Masseria Santu Lasi (Santu Lasi Farm) near Salve – some architectural curiosities in Puglia, South Italy

Тази статия може да я прочетете и на: Български

It appeared that I have been to a massseria before, but I had not known the exact word. Masseria is something commonly found in South Italy, particularly Puglia and Sicily. Generally, the masseria is something like a fortified farm. It consists of several rural buildings, including residential areas, warehouses, barns, etc., surrounded by a tall stone fence. Masserias first appeared around the 16th century when attacks by pirates and Ottoman Turks were common in the area. Local farmers protected their land with such fortifications.

Between the town of Salve and Ionian sea

February 3rd is the Day of San Biaggio. On this day each year the Masseria Santu Lasi near Salve, Salento, opens its doors for visitors. It is one of the best renovated masserias in Salento. Its other name is San Biaggo, the patron of the place and the patron of the small chapel in the estate.

Santu Lasi is a private estate and belongs to prof. Vincenzo Cazzato, a professor of History of Architecture in the University of Salento in Lecce.
One of the rooms in the masseria
One of the rooms in the masseria

The masseria of prof. Cazzato is located almost in the middle between the town of Salve and the Ionian Sea. It was built 102 m above the sea level, on the highest point in the region, with amazing view to all directions. It was indeed an important defense site.

A beautiful stone house, known as pajaru
A beautiful stone house, known as pajaru

Pajare and a garden

Behind the first stone walls we find a garden with almond trees, prickly pears (or opuntia), aromatic herbs and pomegranates. And despite is was early February, everything was green and beautiful.

The yard with prickly pears and a pajaru house
The yard with prickly pears and a pajaru house

The first building we saw was a renovated pajaru – a traditional conic building, widespread in Puglia. It was not in its authentic look but rather turned into a romantic room with a comfortable bed, a small kitchen, indoor and outdoor fireplaces and very cozy furniture.

The ceiling of the pajaru
The ceiling of the pajaru

These buildings, known locally as pajare (plural), were once built and inhabited by shepherds and can be seen all across Salento. This one did not look as a shepherd’s home but was the best place for every romantic.

The furniture in the first pajaru
The furniture in the first pajaru
The kitchen of the pajaru
The kitchen of the pajaru

From the pajaru towards the outer wall of the masseria

When we climbed to the roof of the pajaru, I still did not know what exactly masseria was. I thought it was some kind of a mill. Then we walked through two more stone walls and entered the yard of the masseria. Here was the yard for the sheep and also the elongated building of the oven. This building was again turned into cozy retro rooms for the guests of the professor.

The yard for sheep and a pajaru in the background
The yard for sheep and a pajaru in the background
A room in the oven building
A room in the oven building

The masseria

I did not miss to enter the almost square central yard, surrounded by tall walls from stone and tuff. There was also a well in the middle, a large table covered with tangerines and a small kitchen where my favourite pittule were cooked (take a look of my article about food in Salento).

Masseria Santu Lasi
Masseria Santu Lasi
Torre colombaia - the Tower of the Doves
Torre colombaia – the Tower of the Doves

On the first floor of the masseria once lived the agricultural workers. The second floor and the fortification tower (Torre colombaia, the Tower of the doves, built in 1577) are accessible by outside staircases.

A room on the second floor of the masseria
A room on the second floor of the masseria
More details of the second floor of Masseria Santu Lasi
More details of the second floor of Masseria Santu Lasi

Along the whole length of the building there is a balcony overlooking the inner yard. Both floors and the tower are now turned into wonderful guest rooms. I really wished to spend a night there.

The fireplaces in the masseria
The fireplaces in the masseria
Another cozy fireplace at Masseria Santu Lasi
Another cozy fireplace at Masseria Santu Lasi
The room in the round tower - Masseria Santu Lasi in Puglia, Salento, Italy
The room in the round tower

The second floor offers wonderful views to the surrounding lands and the sea. The rooms are nicely furnished and even have their own fireplaces. By a small white staircase, I climbed to the white roof of the masseria and, across another beautiful yard with prickly pears and almonds, I spotted another white pajaru and a small building next to it.

The other pajaru at masseria Santu Lasi
The other pajaru at masseria Santu Lasi
The wall of the building next to the second pajaru
The wall of the building next to the second pajaru

One more pajaru

Through a small door in the fence, walking through the well-maintained garden, I reached the other pajaru. Again, a very cozy and calm place. I spent quite a long time here that my friends started searching me. Then came the music band from Salve which I listened to for the second time. The first time was on the St. Nicholas day in Salve. Then they served pizza, pittule, tangerines and other food and the inner yards was crowded with visitors. The big celebration began.

The path to the bedroom in the pajaru
The path to the bedroom in the pajaru
The small kitchen with dining room
The small kitchen with dining room

We love the rural life

This place night seem to you not that important, because it is not a palace or castle, but for me it is a part of a colourful story. Maria and I love such places. I really regret that she was not able to join me on this trip. This is why I decided to share it with her and you and I hope you like this rural escape from the popular attractions. I really admire professor Cazzato for creating this wonderful place. I apologize if I made some mistakes while describing it, but all my sources were in Italian and I do not speak Italian.


Sources:

1 MASSERIA “SANTU LASI” (SAN BIAGIO): UN’ARCHITETTURA IN MINIATURA – http://www.aiapp-puglia.it/bbb/file_content/fl97.pdf

2Сайтът на Университета на Саленто – https://www.unisalento.it/scheda-utente/-/people/vincenzo.cazzato



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