Steeped in history

The original building, which was initially called Masseria Selvafine, began in 1711 when the Giangrande family from Alberobello bought a 35 hectare wood with the purpose of creating a vineyard. 

The oldest part of the building is the original cellar and trappeto (or press).

This was soon extended to provide space for the animals in a rapidly expanding farm and the major rooms downstairs all boast the original mangiatori, or animal feeding troughs. At one stage, these were purely practical, but now provide unique, decorative features.

Preparing for the Parade

In 1853, and prompted by the fact that the Giangrande family now had two brothers who were both priests, the building was further extended to incorporate a chapel which served both the family and the workers on what was then a thriving farm.

In 1881, the entire property was entrusted to Antonio Demichele who was know as “the gypsy” not solely because he came from Romania but rather that he travelled constantly trading in horses, mules, donkeys sheep and cows.

The photographs on this page show Antonio and his family and provide a flavour of what Masseria della Zingara was like in the early 20th Century. The Demichele family only left the building in 1958.

The property then reverted to the Giangrande family who sold off some of the land but retained the core building for use as a summer home until finally selling the estate in 2006 to the current English owners who initiated the renovation process.

The Demichele family – It was Antonio’s family that built the accommodation on the first floor and it was through this family that the property became known as Masseria della Zingara.  

By then, the house was in need of total renovation. The ground floor had never been used for human occupation and the evidence of centuries of stabling cows and horses was clear – 2 foot deep clear!

The first floor, whilst sound, had been spoiled by the introduction of harsh 1960’s style plastic floor coverings quite out of keeping with the property as a whole. A complete transformation was required.

The original kitchen - fancy eating food made here?
The original kitchen – fancy eating food made here?
The trulli we first inherited
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Our sitting room as we first found it

In Italy, every single element to be changed requires official sanction but, with the help of an excellent geometra (a half way house between an architect and civil engineer) together with an equally excellent builder, the planning and rebuilding process was safely navigated, coming in on time and on budget just two years later.

Masseria della Zingara had come back to life; had retained its original character but was now equipped to host people expecting 21st Century comforts and facilities. We look forward to welcoming you.

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