Midway between the picturesque towns of Martina Franca and Ostuni, Masseria Cupina is set deep in the heart of the tranquil Valle d’Itria. The rolling countryside is carpeted by flowers, criss-crossed by low slung dry stone walls and dotted with enigmatic trulli. Vineyards, orchards, olive groves and country lanes preserve a rustic landscape carved out by generations of farmers.
Where is La Cupina?
Ostuni is the nearest large town and can be reached via the SP22 which connects Ostuni with Ceglie Messapica. The two main airports are Brindisi, about 56km by road, and Bari, an 85km drive.
The masseria is well positioned to explore the fascinating towns of Ostuni, Alberobello, Ceglie Massapica, Locorotondo, Cisternino and Martina Franca (all within 20 minutes drive). Further afield, Lecce can also be reached in one hour by car or train.
Surrounded by massive stone city walls, Ceglie is one of Puglia’s most ancient towns. It is regarded as a regional gastronomic capital, so you must sample the fresh, local cuisine in one of its wonderful restaurants.
This is the closest town to the masseria, just a five-minute drive away. The Greek-influenced centro storico is especially enchanting.
Draped across three hills and coined La Citta Bianca (the White City) for its brilliantly whitewashed buildings, Ostuni offers stunning views of the valley below.
You can easily while away an afternoon exploring the labyrinthine of cobbled streets in the town’s medieval centre. Ostuni’s beautiful 15th century cathedral is worth a visit on its own. In the evening, Ostuni takes on almost magical quality as lights are switched on and a vibrant night scene comes alive.
Nicknamed ‘La Vera’ (the real thing), Cisternio was founded by monks and a spiritual vibe is still tangible. The tiny, whitewashed alleyways of the old town are great for ambling away a couple of hours and the Greek-style centro storico possesses a delightful intimacy.
Between late June and September, a series of open-air concerts are held in the main square, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele.
A genteel 18th century town of meandering lanes, wrought iron balconies and sculpted portals, Martina Franca’s medieval centre offers a dazzling array of baroque and rococo buildings. The baroque façade of the Basilica di San Martino portrays St Martin (the town’s patron saint) sharing his cloak with a beggar, while inside is a beautiful painting of the Last Supper.
And when you’ve had your fill of culture and man-made things, the Valle D’Itria can be seen in all its glory from the town’s hillside vantage point.
The trulli capital, around 1,000 domed and conical dwellings pack the narrow streets of Alberobello and give the place a fairytale feel. The Museo del Territorio is made from several trulli and visitors are shown how these dwellings were built and furnished with local crafts.
Just north of the town are the spectacular Castellano caves. Stretching 3 kilometres (2 miles), the caves contain calcareous and crystal stalagmites and stalactites shaped over thousands of years into an extraordinary variety of shapes and colours.
Although nicknamed the ‘Florence of the South’, the baroque splendour of Lecce is very much a Southern Italian thing. Most of its elegant art can be seen from traffic-free streets in the form of vivid frescoes and detailed church facades carved from the area’s unique golden limestone which is extremely easy to carve when freshly quarried. It is about 90km away and takes an hour and a half to drive there.
The sea and the nearest water sport activities can be reached within 20 minutes by car. Along the coastal road between Bari and Brindisi, there’s a choice of turn-offs to sandy coves where you can enjoy a few hours of sunbathing and swimming in crystal clear sea.
Many of the coves have beach bar and restaurant facilities where you can enjoy a post-dip feast of fresh seafood and glass of wine.
The nearest beaches to the masseria are found around Villanova on the Adriatic coast.