Masseria Lilei

Region: Puglia

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Masseria LiLei

"Masseria LiLei" is located approximately 5,500 metres from the town centre of Lecce and is easily accessible via several different routes. Immersed in silence, it is about 6,000 metres from the Acaya Golf Club. From the terraces, you can catch a glimpse of the bell tower of Lecce Cathedral to the north and the protected Cesine woodland area to the northeast. This historical residence is 50 km from Brindisi Airport, 10 km from Lecce railway station, 30 km from Otranto, 60 km from Leuca, 35 km from Gallipoli, 30 km from Porto Cesareo, 80 km from Ostuni and 110 km from the Castellana Caves.

The Masseria, or fortified farmhouse as it was in former times, is one of the most significant examples of rural architecture in the Lizzanello countryside. Situated at the intersection of the local roads connecting Merine, Pisignano and Lizzanello, the forecourt in front of the north-facing entrance is preceded by a small quadrangular-shaped temple, which is open on three sides and features arches supported by columns whose capitals are decorated with vegetal volute motifs. The stone cornice is adorned with vertical palm leaf ‘palmette’ decorations, dominated by a small bell tower. The fourth, west-facing side is closed and accommodates a twenty-square-metre altar that is stylistically reminiscent of Renaissance architecture and indeed dates back to the 15th century.

The Masseria complex lies at the centre of an estate that extends over ninety hectares planted with olive groves and vineyards, as well as areas of Mediterranean maquis shrubland. Inside the olive grove, there are four ‘pagghiare’, rural constructions made of ‘pietra viva’ stone using the dry wall technique typical of the Salento region that used to serve as shelters for the farmers. The neighbouring forest is called "Li Lei", a name derived from the adjacent farm with the same name.

This natural woodland is composed of a carpet of holm oaks surrounded by majestic and ancient olive trees, typical of the Visciglito area. It is a charming remnant of the vast Forest of Lecce, which was cleared in the 18th century to favour the cultivation of olive trees. The former woods covering the whole area of Salento were so dense that legend has it that squirrels could cross from Brindisi to Capo di Leuca without ever having to descend from the trees or touch the ground.

Along with thousands of olive trees and hectares of vineyards and carob trees, the estate also boasts imposing a wealth of pine trees and giant holm oaks (Quercus ilex) that have grown in isolation from the forest and have survived over the centuries. These magnificent trees are truly majestic, with trunks that measure up to 4 metres in circumference, crowning 20 m in diameter, and branches that graze the ground and form enormous natural canopies.

The farm building complex consists of a fortified ‘masseria’ farmhouse with a quadrangular tower dating back to the late 15th century that was expanded in the following century (1600) with the construction of additional rooms. Two of the rooms were built in ‘carparo’ stone with pavilion ceilings, while all the others are in local Lecce stone and have stellar vaults. The entire construction, with the exception of the oldest part that is made of dry stone and reinforced with intersecting arches, is in fine Lecce stone and encloses a large courtyard with a stone pavement that extends towards the garden.

There are two existing rainwater collection cisterns, still in excellent condition. The internal one is reserved for the use of the ground floor residence, while the external one, which has a capacity of 180 cubic metres and which also served to collect the 'overflow' of any excess water from the inside cistern, supplies the whole irrigation system.

This fortified Masseria was built at the end of the 15th century, during a period when numerous strongholds were erected along the coastal and inland areas of Salento to defend the territory from the violent raids of Turkish pirates, who plundered the region and enslaved the local inhabitants.

It has a squat and powerful quadrangular shape that was spread over two floors to provide a secure refuge for the residents while preventing attackers from accessing the upper floor. On the terrace, there is a raised patrol passageway and a small square cantilevered ‘bertesca’ sentry box shaped like a pulpit which sits on the southeast corner of the rooftop, from which danger was signalled to the inhabitants of the other Masserias or to the defenders of the territory known as ‘cavallari’, who patrolled between the defence towers dotted along the coast and further inland, and in the inhabited complexes.

The Masseria stands on the remains of a pre-existing farmhouse or ‘villa rustica’, dating back to Roman times, and it is no coincidence that the material used in its construction includes precious elements that are vestiges of the pre-existing buildings.

With its stellar vaults made from locally sourced Lecce stone, its barrel and pavilion vaults, its wooden roofs covered with terracotta tiles and its hand-made rain gutters fashioned by local craftsmen and baked in a wood-burning oven, together with its original flooring made of traditional Apulian limestone slabs (‘chianche’), volvanic rock (‘basolo’), paving stones or waterproof ‘cocciopesto’ building materials, Masseria LiLei narrates six centuries of history, from its defence against the Turks to the present day.

Visitors are welcomed to the Masseria amidst fragrant scents of citrus fruits, lavender, sage, mint, thyme and rosemary. The salt-water swimming pool is equipped with hydromassage, while its many pathways invite you to stroll among olive trees and vineyards, or to soak up the atmosphere in the lush, green oak forests all around.

Masseria Lilei and its suggestive accommodation

Masseria LiLei, a charming hotel, offers accommodation in 12 spacious units equipped with every comfort. Each room has satellite TV including Sky and Netflix, Wi-Fi internet connection, a digital safe, minibar and kettle. All bathrooms have double washbasins and dual flush toilets to save water, while the shower cubicles are themselves all flush with the floor. The beds are all king size. The rooms and common areas are equipped with air conditioning and heating for the winter, although the thick walls and system of ventilation guarantee that the rooms remain cool even during the summer months.

The Master Suite, approximately 120 square metres large, is situated on the first floor and consists of a bedroom, an antechamber with a large pouffe which can be converted into two additional beds, a living room with a sofa and a large fireplace, an office area with a sink, a minibar, a kettle and a coffee machine. It has two bathrooms, one with a chromotherapy shower, and two exclusive, spacious terraces.

There is also a Suite in the oldest part of the Masseria, located at the base of the defence tower. It is approximately 70 square metres and contains a large fireplace, as well as a 20-square-metre bathroom which has been designed as a private ‘wellness’ area, equipped with a bathtub and a chromotherapy shower. This room also has a view of the ancient cistern used for collecting rainwater, and the well from which water was drawn to serve the needs of the community.

Another Suite of approximately 70 square metres is composed of two rooms with pavilion vaults, one with a double bed and the other with a pouffe that can be transformed into one or two more beds, as necessary. Each room has its own bathroom and a large fireplace.

There are also two Junior Suites, each approximately 70 square metres, with stellar vaults in local Lecce stone. One of them features a fireplace and both have large bathrooms with showers with cascade jets for cervical massage and chromotherapy.

There are also three rooms of about 36 square metres each, with bathrooms of about 12 square metres that have separate showers and bathtubs, adjacent to the spa, plus two other spacious and comfortable rooms with their own bathrooms.

Finally, located outside the farmhouse walls, there are two rooms that share a large common living room of about 25 square metres with a fireplace, from which there is also access to the private garden serving the two units, each about 50 square metres large.

Upon arrival, guests are welcomed into the reception area which has a lounge, a fireplace, luggage storage and restroom facilities. There is also a large communal area with lounges and a big fireplace, a dining room for guests, which also has a fireplace and a wine bar facing the pool area. The dining room is directly connected to the kitchen. This entire area is linked by a portico overlooking the garden, with a courtyard, citrus grove and pergola adjacent to the swimming pool, where there are changing rooms, restrooms and a first aid room.

The Masseria kitchen offers guests simple yet authentic dishes that reflect the best of Salento's culinary tradition, served according to preference: by the poolside, in the dining room, on the portico or even on the exclusive terrace with its enchanting view of the sunset. The very well-stocked cocktail bar provides direct access to the area behind and a wide paved courtyard in ‘chianche’ stone, leading to one of the rustic ‘pagliara’ buildings, the monumental oak trees (the so-called oaks of the brigands), the olive grove, vineyard and Mediterranean maquis scrubland. There are various pathways to stroll along, with a number of places where one can simply meditate or contemplate the peaceful, silent surroundings all around.

Last but not least, it is possible to reserve time in the relaxing wellness area with its heated pool and a splendid view of the courtyard. There is also a regenerating thermarium and a sauna, while in the tower there are two massage rooms, a solarium and a herbal tea room with a meditation and relaxation area.

Guests can book cooking classes, wine tours of the farm or in one of the most renowned wineries of Salento, guided tours and beach services with sunbeds and umbrellas along the coast from Melendugno to Santa Maria di Leuca, Gallipoli, and Porto Cesareo.

Masseria LiLei has also been authorised and approved by the Municipality of Lizzanello for the celebration of civil weddings or civil unions. Every wedding is unique and exclusive at this location, as the individual couples can organise and arrange all the details of their ceremony, and decide whether to choose the small temple, the gardens or one of the other dedicated areas for their special day.

Masseria LiLei, hotel de charme, offers hospitality in 12 large units equipped with every comfort, each room is equipped with satellite TV with Sky and Netflix, Wi-Fi internet connection, a cabinet with a digital
safe, minibar and kettle. All bathrooms have double basins, double drains for water saving and all shower cubicles are at floor-level. All beds are king size. The rooms and common areas are equipped with airconditioning and heating for the winter period, even if in summer the thick walls guarantee a natural coolness thanks, also, to the ventilation of the rooms.
The Master Suite of about 120 square metres is on the first floor, consisting of a bedroom, an anteroom with a large ottoman and the possibility of setting up two beds, a living room with a sofa and a large
fireplace, an office with basin, mini-bar, kettle and coffee machine. It has two bathrooms with a shower, of which one with chromotherapy, and two large exclusive terraces.
A suite in the oldest part is at the base of the defense tower, measuring around 70 sq m, with a large fireplace, plus a bathroom of around 20 sq m. conceived as a "private wellness area", equipped with a bathtub and shower with chromotherapy. In the room the ancient cistern for collecting rainwater can be seen, with a well from which water was drawn for the needs of the community.
A suite of about 70 square metres consists of two rooms with pavilion vaults, one with a double bed and the other with a large pouff that can be transformed into one or two beds if necessary, each with its own
bathroom, including a large fireplace.
Moreover, there are two junior suites of about 70 square metres each one, with vaulted ceilings in Lecce stone, one of which with a fireplace, equipped with large bathrooms with showers with cervical waterfall and chromotherapy.
There are, in addition, three rooms of about 36 square metres each, plus bathrooms of about 12 square metres, with separate shower and a bathtub, adjacent to the spa, and two other comfortable and spacious bedrooms with their own bathroom.
Finally, there are two rooms located outside the walls of the farm, which share a large common living room of about 25 square metres, with a fireplace, which also leads to the private garden that serves the two units, which are about 50 square metres each.

At the first arrival of guests, there is an area dedicated to their warm welcoming including a lounge, a fireplace, a luggage deposit office and toilets.
Furthermore, there is a large common area with lounges and a large fireplace, the room dedicated to catering for the guests of the structure,also with a fireplace and the wine bar, which overlooks the pool area.
The hall is connected directly to the kitchen. This whole area communicates with a portico overlooking the garden with the farmyard, the citrus grove and the pergola with an adjacent swimming pool area which has its own changing room and dedicated toilets, as well as a first aid room.
The kitchen offers internal guests simple foods which are locally considered the best of the Salento culinary tradition, served according to guest’s requests, by the pool rather than in the restaurant, or in the arcades or, still yet on an exclusive terrace with a view of the lovely sunset.
From the wine bar, which offers unforgettable drinks, you can directly access the rear area, with a vast pavement in chianche, from which a straw hut can be reach, the monumental oak trees (the oaks of the
brigands), the olive grove, the vineyard, scrubland and a small wood, with marked out walking paths.
Also, there are scattered, in the silence, several meditation areas.
Finally, available upon reservation, a comfortable wellness area with a heated swimming pool and a splendid view of the rear courtyard, as well as a thermarium, a sauna and, in the turret, two massage rooms, a solarium and a herbal tea room in meditation area where one can relax.
Guests are reserved, always by reservation, cooking-class courses, wine tours in the masseria or and in the most renowned cellars of Salento, in addition to guided tours, beaches with sunbeds and umbrellas from the marinas of Melendugno, up to Santa Maria di Leuca, Gallipoli and Porto Cesareo.

Masseria LiLei is also a structure authorized and affiliated with the Municipality of Lizzanello, for the celebration of civil weddings or civil unions. Anyone can organize and set up a wedding ceremony making it original and exclusive within the location either in the temple, in the gardens or in the dedicated areas.

The Farm estate

The farm estate is run by the owner, Giuse de Pascalis Candido, assisted by her husband Giovanni Greco and their two sons Gianluca and Carlo. It follows organic farming practices, with olive groves producing D.O.P. (Protected Designation of Origin) extra virgin olive oil, vineyards that yield fine wines (red and rosé Primitivo, red and rosé Susumaniello, white and rosé Prosecco), as well as plentiful fruit trees in the gardens (figs, pears, myrtle, citrus fruits, mulberries, persimmons, quinces, pomegranates, carob trees, apricots, rowan trees, medlar, plums, almonds, and azaroles). The estate also has an organic vegetable garden, including medicinal plants, and there are vast areas of Mediterranean scrubland with numerous types of oak, including cork. These ancient plants and prized varieties are essential for preserving invaluable savoir-faire and history in the same way that the estate’s bougainvilleas, roses, and jasmine will leave unforgettable traces in their turn. In addition, Masseria LiLei is part of a larger wildlife-management project, providing protection for various species of wild animal, including foxes, hawks, blackbirds and badgers.

Numbers of beds:28
Event salons:SI
Numbers of seats for events:150
wedding reception rooms:SI
Places for weddings:200