In Puglia, a Masseria is a fortified coastal farmhouse dating from the Middle Ages, built to withstand Saracen and other invaders. Over the last decade, many of them have been converted into small luxury hotels. Stay in one of the very best, Masseria Torre Maizza, a 26-room gem set on an estate near the fishing town of Savelletri. A newly constructed wing of interconnected cottages and courtyards has been blended seamlessly with the 500-year-old Masseria to create a little whitewashed village with its own golf course surrounded by ancient olive groves.
Masseria San Domenico is one of the older converted farm- house hotels, and one of the most beautiful. The building dates back to the 15th century, when it was used by the Knights of Malta as a watchtower. The 50-room property offers exemplary facilities: a stunning free-form swimming pool, a state-of-the-art thalasso-therapy spa, two tennis courts, a well-equipped gym, a private beach, and an 18-hole golf course. It’s all very low-key and discrete, achieving an almost elysian level of serenity and privacy. This, you feel, is the perfect luxury retreat for anyone famous who wants to stay under the radar.