This elegant agriturismo — resort, really — is a magical oasis in an ideal location for touring the historic and fascinating Valle d’Itria in central Puglia. Each day we found ourselves torn between venturing out to the valley’s historic hill towns, each with its own distinct character and history — Ostuni, Locorotondo, Martina Franca, Cisternino — versus staying put to relish the sophisticated attractions of this exquisitely restored Masseria. Its convenient location made venturing out easy, but the pull of the property itself was strong too.
The owners of Cervarolo, Teo and Patrizia, have obviously lavished years of thought, taste, and hard work upon this labor of love, and we who get to stay here for a time are the beneficiaries of their creativity, taste, eye, and immense effort! Everywhere one looks there is a composition thoughtful enough for a photograph; each wall, room, courtyard, garden vista is an artistic composition that adds up to true delight for the eyes, and an unforgettable experience. From the history, to the decor, to the landscape, to the lighting, staying here is like being transported to live out the fantasy of an elegant, enchanted existence. We didn’t have the good sense to opt to stay in one of the historic trulli that have been made into suites on the property, but next time we will definitely splurge because they are fascinating (so much so that Joe is ready to buy one to live in)!
This enchantment is enhanced by the enchanting staff. Each one is warm, affable, thoughtful, and attentive (not to mention attractive and charming!). We were greeted each day by all members of the staff as though our being there was an absolute pleasure, which of course made it a pleasure for us!
Being in Italy to us means eating wonderful food, and here Cervarolo continued the enchantment with regional but elegant, sophisticated cooking that impressed us both. Refined yet not fussy, traditional but modern, of the locality but impressive by any standard, we had no need or desire to dine anywhere else for breakfast or dinner. This is quite possibly one of the most elegant, sophisticated restauants inthe area, but the chef strikes an ideal balance that incorporates the traditions of food and preparation particular to this locality. That two of our four dinners were served al fresco in an exquisite outdoor room was a bonus that only added to the sense that we were living an enchanted existence.
The delights that kept us on the property even when the Valle d’Itria beckoned? Start with a large complex of buildings, from ancient Trulli to modern rooms. Add one of the largest and most pleasant swimming pools (no chlorine!) that I have ever seen, in a setting of ancient stone walls and modern conveniences (like a staffed bar, pergolas for shade, many options for seating and relaxing). Also add lovely and colorful landscaping amid historic olive trees, a varied assortment of paths and courtyards, a beautifully furnished library, even a parking area thoughtfully shaded by the masseria’s solar array, and you begin to sense the appeal of this magical place. But to do Cervarolo justice, you have to come and experience it for yourself– to meet the warm and charming people, to taste the refined food, to luxuriate in the huge, gorgeous pool, to wander through the complex after dark, when the spectacular lighting illuminates everything from walls to trees to buildings in a soft, warm glow.
Inviting on its own, Cervarolo becomes incomparable by its location so convenient to all the most beautiful towns and sites of the incomparable Valle d’Itria in the center of Puglia. For an elegant oasis far from life’s hustle and bustle; for a time of sheer relaxation in a sophisticated an elegant setting; I can’t imagine a superior alternative.