It is majestic among the olive trees close to the sea of Monopoli, surrounded by a thick security wall, and its silly and fouled silhouette has always made us think of one of the most beautiful countryside fortress in Puglia.
One of the most beautiful farms in Puglia
We are talking about Masseria Spina, which we had known for a long time but we appreciated even more after a guided tour with the owner, Mrs. Nori Meo Evoli who told us the infinite history that gave this place its austere charm and at the same time romantic.
The Rural Park tour revives in a short walk among the immense olive groves, a timeframe that starts from the traces of palification of Neolithic huts and the early Middle Ages rocky settlements, to the Spina Grande and Spina Piccola towers, and then leads to our day.
It is worth noting that even the olive trees of the property are small monuments that rise to seven hectares in the “Park of the Millennial olive grooves plain”.
Among all those scattered not only in the territory of Monopoli, but throughout our region, from Gargano to Salento, Masseria Spina is one of the most original and scenic fortified structures, a beautiful historical, cultural and architectural example. A true autonomous citadel, surrounded by tall walls and equipped with a large courtyard that operated as a barnyard, boasts not one but two towers to detect enemies and threats from the sea.
Inside the farm there are also two chapels, one oldest of the medieval age and the other dating back to the late baroque and devoted to the Immaculate, and two orange groves with ancient irrigation systems that Apulia has to the industrious Arab influences.
In the central body of the building, which is strongly characterized by a scenic double staircase in stone, there are manor houses, while in separate bodies there are shelter for animals with feeders, those for the tools, water tanks and the indispensable oil mill.
Actually there are two of them, both hypogeans: one older and the other, bigger and active until 35 years ago.
Within the walls of Spina Grande there is also a cave originally used as a “palmento” and later as a tub of turning off and storage tank of mortar.
In the journey towards the Spina Piccola tower, unchanged except for the wooden drawbridge replaced by a double ladder attached to the fence from the inside, you cross the “lama” lurched by several caves.
The farmhouse has belonged to more than one noble family and has been hand in hand until it came to those of the Meo Evoli family who is its current owner. Nori tells us, during the tour in the delightfully warm sunshine that makes us forget to be in early November, that the first owner was Francesco de Chiantera and then called San Basilio.
It became Spina, a name that it then kept in time, from the family name that will acquire it for marriage. Always as a bride’s dowry it passed to the Ammazzalorsa between the second half of the 1500s and the first half of 1600. It is the next owner, Vito Giuseppe Martinelli, a wealthy trader of fabrics, the transformation of a part of the oil mill in dyeing for silk pieces produced by the worms of mulberries trees of the masseria which became Meo-Evoli in 1890.
When the two sisters Martinelli Maria and Chiara marry the two brothers Giuseppe and Domenico Meo Evoli. Later, their sons, Olga and Leonardo marry, giving birth to their current offspring: Nori and her brother Leonardo, owner of another building symbol of the Monopoli countryside, the Palladian Villa Meo Evoli.
Our tour took us to the stables at the foot of the Torre Spina Piccola where the Meo Evoli family created a small museum dedicated to peasant traditions to hand over the territory’s memory to future generations.
For refined and discreet hospitality, the environments inside the farm have retained the dimensions of the past and the same furnishings for an ancient charm that many seek. We were housed in Il Mezzanino apartment, dating back to 1600 and added to the original body of the Ammazzalorsa family: airy and bright looks out over the inner courtyards and looks out to the sea with the possibility of accommodating up to 4 people in comfortable and furnished rooms with antique furniture without sacrificing the modern conveniences that are hidden in the niches made from thick walls.
The food is entrusted to the young chef Carmelo Cisternino with whom we have experienced our lesson that is part of the courses that the Masseria organizes, to give the opportunity to the young and the old, to learn the art of the culinary tradition of Puglia.
Masseria Spina is an unusual location between history, culture and relax, just a stone’s throw from the wonderful sea of Monopoli, with an atmosphere that combines elegance and tradition. And it becomes the ideal venue for weddings, special events, corporate meetings and even didactic appointments.
On the occasion of the Christmas holidays, the Rural Manger is organized, which runs through the evocative environments of the hypogeum mill with the representation of ancient arts and old trades as well as traditional Christian nativity.