We have already dedicated two posts to that part of the Apulian territory that we have called the “golden triangle” (https://www.cittameridiane.it/en/golden-triangle-part-one/ – https://www.cittameridiane.it/en/golden-triangle-part-two/) and that is located between Monopoli, Fasano and Ostuni.
The third side of the triangle
We have called it so not only for what it represents today, that is a flagship of quality tourism in Puglia, but for what has always been: a witness to the most interesting expressions of the various civilizations here over the centuries. Caves, sinkholes and cavities have welcomed the rock civilization that has reached its peak in these areas: just visit settlements like Lama d’Antico in Fasano to realize it and make a real journey through time and space.
It continues immersing itself in the silence of the countryside between the olive trees and the sea, where sometimes the masserie, stone palimpsests of the agricultural history of this land emerge, sometimes severe, sometimes sumptuous. Ostuni boasts in its district some of the most beautiful Apulian farms that today are not only finds from the past, but have become companies, combining the organic production of extra virgin olive oil to careful and aware tourism in contact with nature.
So with this part dedicated to the dense plot of rural settlements that dot and characterize the countryside around the Città Bianca, we conclude the series dedicated to that golden triangle between the provinces of Bari and Brindisi.
Bright examples are the Masseria Carparelli and the Antica Masseria Brancati, both included in the Parco delle Dune Costiere in the area between the Piana degli Ulivi Millenari and the sea.
In the first, through three separate buildings we can read the history of these lands from the 1400s up to the present day. The first nucleus, in fact, which presents linear and dry forms, dates back to the fifteenth century and was probably built by the Zevallos family, while the agglomeration next to it shows charming baroque aesthetic lines grafted on a high lookout tower with ladders and access stairway, which recall to memory both the stories of pirates and brigands and the glories of the bourgeoisie of the ‘700 and’ 800 who moved the styles in vogue over the years.
In the main body, dating back to 18 and overlooking the ancient threshing floor, rooms for guests are housed with original floors and frescoes but modern comforts, a large hall for ceremonies created in the ancient stone-vaulted crusher and a small cellar which occupies today what was the hypogeal space in which the oil was celebrated. All around more than 18 hectares of olive groves from which an excellent olive oil is obtained.
The heart of a farm of about 30 hectares where it is produced organic extra virgin olive oil of superior quality from the monumental millennial olive trees is the Antica Masseria Brancati, which in its area boasts trees planted even in Roman times.
The olive oil is obtained by cold extraction with millstones in stone and sweet pressing to preserve its organoleptic properties and enhance the gustatory-olfactory qualities that we could directly appreciate during the tasting by the producer and owner of the farm, Corrado Rodio, jealous guardian of the enormous patrimony that extends beyond the high and white walls: a thousand olive trees of which 800 registered as a national monument.
Making us taste the gold colored liquid produced by these wonderful plants explains that an olive grove to be called monumental must have at least 60% of trees with a trunk diameter equal to or greater than one meter.
In addition they must present a particular bearing and have a historical-anthropological value ascertained through historical documents, such as the writings of Columella in which he mentioned a place near Brindisi, where the “Salentina” was cultivated, attributable to the ogliarola olive of Salento.
Here, the absolute protagonists, on equal merit, are the monumental olive grove and the fortified farm, one of the oldest in Puglia. Walking through the sculpture trees with enchanting shapes it is easy to be induced to the spontaneous play of the association of the shape of the twisted trunks of the olive trees to a mental image, a psychic process called pareidolia.
Thus we see Adam and Eve, the Great Old, the Hut. But all boast intriguing shapes, with twists, splits and the soft protrusions of the mammelloni, the water reserves to be exploited in periods of great droughts.
The farm, a clear example of a fortified structure, preserves intact all the testimonies of local history, from the Messapi to today. The guided tour begins in the monumental olive grove and continues in the underground oil mill where the oldest element is a large press base, presumably of the Messapian age.
By the will of Don Domenico Rodio, ancestor of the current owner, at the end of the nineteenth century, the old oil mill was transformed into sheepfold and in 1880 a new epigean oil mill was built, with a three millstones tub, olive grove, stable and a room destined housing for the workers, which currently houses a small Museum of peasant and frantoian civilization.
The main body of the farm is the sixteenth-century watchtower which was then incorporated into the manor house, defended by high perimeter walls with a walkway, which still today partially encircle the large internal courtyard.
In the rear, there is a small candy box, the church built in 1768 by the Piscopo family, whose noble coat of arms is placed in the center of the rococo style altar dedicated to the Madonna dell’Addolorata and the two Saints Oronzo and Biagio.
A part of the Antica Masseria Brancati is destined to hospitality: it is about four rooms used in the past by shepherds, deliberately left sober in order not to betray their ancient origin.
Visiting these farms is an obligation for those coming from these parts, because they tell the story of this fertile and generous land better than the pages of a book. Alberto Angela and Davide Rampello well understood that at the Antica Masseria Brancati they dedicated an episode of their very popular programs.
And now we of Città Meridiane have done our part too!