During the second half of our time in Puglia, we stayed in a farmhouse (“masseria”) in the small town of Cutrofiano. Set on seven acres and built in the 1700s, Critabianca has been beautifully restored by a delightful family from Torino and opened it’s doors in 2016.
Throughout Puglia several masserie were built in the 1700s, often by the wealthy and arisocrats. Over time, many were abandoned. But with the growth of tourism in Puglia, many have been restored and turned into boutique bed and breakfast accommodation. What I loved about Critabianca was that it felt private and tranquil, yet it is cleverly located making it an easy drive to much of what we wanted to do and see. And Roberto, Roberta, Nicoletta and Alessandro will do everything possible to make sure you have a lovely stay. How gorgeous is the front door!
The six rooms feel tranquil and luxurious with lovely antique pieces throughout mingling with modern requirements. You can see hints of the original frescoes on the carefully scraped back walls. Our family room (note children over 11 years only) was very spacious and comfortable, with a large outdoor terrace. And the pool was great for a refreshing dip after our days of sightseeing and exploring.
Around the pretty grounds, you’ll find plums and figs, which Roberta turns into gorgeous jams for breakfast, and plenty of olive trees. Breakfast is served in an outdoor courtyard on beautiful locally made ceramics. As well as making the jam, Roberta sets her own yoghurt, and Roberto is a dab hand at focaccia and cakes. The bread, cheese and eggs are from down the road, and I also had some of the best ricotta I’ve ever tasted. One morning we devoured a juicy melon, and not long after we saw Moussa, the cook, go out to the garden and grab another one. Yes, the breakfast is about as fresh as it gets.
Cutrofiano town itself is small, but on Wednesdays there is a good size local market with food, homewares and clothes. You could put together a nice lunch. The olive guy, bread and cheese guy were doing a roaring trade, and in another truck the chooks being slowly roasted smelt delicious.
Having seen a taste of beautiful ceramics in Grottaglie, I’d heard that in Cutrofiano town there was a large ceramics studio called Fratelli Coli. And this is where much of Critabianca’s ceramics at the breakfast table are sourced. There are huge outdoor pots and lots of beautiful homewares (I tried to take some photos inside but they said no). We bought some fantastic oversized coffee mugs here, some small trays and the Small People also bought Pomi, the Puglian good luck charm.
We really enjoyed our stay here with this lovely family.