Masseria Amastuola ⏤ A Heartwarming Experience Inside a Unique Countryside Vineyard
Should an individual of discerning taste be contemplating upcoming travels, then there is no destination more amenable than Puglia for a sojourn in the European South.
Historically, Taranto in Puglia was an important commercial port: once the fulcrum of the Magna Grecia, it was founded by a Spartan colony who named the localization after the Greek god Taras, then taken over by Romans. Taranto is characterized by the fact that it has “Two Seas”: the Big Sea, the bay where ships harbour, and the Little Sea, a lagoon closed in by the peninsula of the old city. Though the region is well-known for its many beaches, it boasts a rich culture as well: vast layers of history are condensed and experienced in the National Archeological Museum of Taranto (MARTA), respectively small for the story it relates.
About fifteen kilometers in-land, Crispiano is a small town that expresses another side of Puglia. Worth a visit for the distinct countryside estate and vineyard Masseria Amastuola alone, the region is deeply tied to rural life and the cultivation of wine and produce. Filippo Montanaro, owner of the Amastuola wine resort, says the region is special because it is varied and rich, with the sea, the hills, cultural heritage cities and old constructions like the Masseria.
Address: Strada Provinciale, 42, 74012 Crispiano (TA)
“Coddled by the warmth of the people, the places rich in history and the sun that illuminates our days for almost the entirety of the year, a tourist never feels lonely in Puglia,” says Filippo.
Masseria Amastuola, whose construction dates back to the 1400s and which overlooks the Mediterranean, welcomes visitors year-round, currently boasting nine elegantly renovated rooms which are set to double by early 2018. To retreat from the bustle of city life, Montanaro suggests taking to the outdoors, perhaps engaging in an amble through the picturesque Pianelle forest, with its curving branches and preserved greenery; or otherwise visiting the sources of the Tara River or the relatively unexplored Gravina, just a couple of kilometres from Amastuola. Without a doubt visitors will be able to grasp the symbolism of the ancient mythologies that sprung from these landscapes.
For a typical dining experience, there are options for vegans, pescetarians and the carnivorous alike. Note that the cultures and traditions of the region are linked to an impoverished history, indicating meals are often simple and flavourful, produced by hard-working hands. Largely based on vegetables and legumes, the ricette povere, “poor” recipes of the agricultural tradition, yield the most flavourful results: orecchiette with rapini or the famed fava bean purée are served with country vegetables to their best capacity in countryside restaurants. Then there are the typical fornelli, which, Montanaro tells us, are butcher shops where it is possible to order various little plates or their specialties of grilled meats. Of course, a plate of spaghetti or tubini with famous Taranto mussels is a must in the city.
To start the day, taking coffee in Taranto, seated on a little terrace by the characteristic turning bridge that divides the ancient city from the new one, is the choicest way to take in the scenery and to observe the people going about their day: the way Pugliesi interact is very open and Mediterranean, perhaps only to be expected in a naval city that has seen an influx of visitors for millennia. After studying their gestures for some instants, one might find oneself greeting strangers in the same warm-hearted way.
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