Mediterranean dreaming: the modern famiglia of Masseria Moroseta

Two men and a woman standing in a white stone courtyard in the evening.

Meet the farmhouse family behind the enchanting trullo home away from home, nestled in the Puglian countryside

By Jacquelyn Lumley   Monday 3 February, 2020

For those who know it, the rugged countryside of Italy’s Puglia is a quiet refuge. Stark white farmhouses fleck olive groves that tumble down to the Adriatic. Inside one of these farmhouses, between the sea and the ‘white city’ of Ostuni, lives a family of sorts, and it brings life to six rooms with a kitchen at the coveted Masseria Moroseta. Dreamt up by owner Carlo Lanzini, the tiny hotel has gained a reputation for its less–is-more style, designed by architect and Soho House member Andrew Trotter. A cosy table set with food from the garden by chef Giorgia Eugenia Goggi draws in visitors from around the globe to get lost in conversation at intimate dinners that last for hours, dosed with charisma from host Alessio Manca. The modern family behind Masseria Moroseta may not actually be a family, but together the four friends keep their doors open for whoever wants to stop by.
a pool and deck chairs in vineyard
two men in all black sat outside against white wall
outside a villa with blue skies and open doors
Andrew Trotter 
‘I’d known Carlo for about 13 years when he told me he wanted to move to Puglia. We’d been together a few times looking for old buildings to do up, but couldn’t find the right one. One day, he called me to say he’d found a lot and could I help find an architect for a new building. I said, let me design it. I’ve always been interested in houses; I studied interior design, but then went into fashion before starting Openhouse Magazine. I was inspired by local buildings in the area, which in a way, with their tufo limestone and arches cut out of square shapes, are 200-yearold minimal buildings. And it turned out to be something that looks not at all like new architecture – my buildings are rougher than that, they have a feeling. I like to use antiques and vintage furniture. When people travel, they want to feel like they’re part of a community. The masseria is small, only six bedrooms, and built to have communal dining. It’s not a restaurant, it’s one table. When they arrive, a lot of people say, “How old is the building?” Or, “Which part of it is old?” When they ask you these types of things, it makes you feel like you’ve done something right.’
woman walking up stone steps in garden
a town of white buildings on a hill at dusk
Carlo Lanzini 
‘I grew up in a huge house on a hill and always thought of turning it into a bed and breakfast, so it’s been my dream to do something like this since I was a kid. The masseria had an old building, which had been abandoned for 35 years, where three different families used to live together and make olive oil. When I found it, I told Andrew this was the place I really wanted to be and soon he fell in love with it as well. We still farm the land, produce olive oil, and our garden grows more and more every season. Some people think we are a kitchen with rooms and they come to Puglia for Giorgia, which I love because I admire her more than anyone. But it’s not a big piece of land and we do everything on a small scale. We won’t increase the [number of] rooms, because it’s what our guests are looking for. It’s like a big house, and when you enter you’re part of the group. Often we go out for dinner or party with our guests.’

Alessio Manca 
‘I’m from the region – everything is beautiful and still very traditional, like something you won’t find anywhere else. Before I moved here, I was following the masseria on Instagram. I found it easy to be part of the family. Then, of course, I fell in love with Carlo; I adore what he’s doing here. We host dinners for a small group, no more than 20 people, and the hotel guests then add three or four more couples from outside. People travel from all around the world to stay in the middle of nowhere, so we want to keep it a peaceful environment. Our guests feel like family and this is why it works.’
view of villa through gardens
two ceramic jugs on edge of table
a dog in a courtyard
Giorgia Eugenia Goggi 
‘Puglia is so rural and authentic – there are very small producers who use antique methods and [there’s] still this strong culture of craftsmanship. I try to express the environment around me through my cooking. There is a light in Puglia that you can’t really imagine – and you can see tiny differences [because of the light] with the produce and its flavour. It’s incredible to taste the first spoonful of olive oil from a new harvest, and being able to use produce from our own trees is so unique. At the masseria, we can’t wait to sit down with guests, open a bottle of wine and tell stories. That’s why so many of them return, because they feel like part of the family. We call it the “Moroseta Family” and it’s not an exaggeration; we behave like relatives. When you do work that’s challenging, it helps being in a family with people who inspire you.’

Images by Salva Lopez
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