FT Weekend features Villa Elia, 31 March, 2012


Palatial in Puglia

By Rebecca Rose.

"Villa Elia was all so quiet, so sunlit, so huge... Villa Elia is, in fact, not strictly a villa - it is a masseria, a fortified farmhouse estate found in southern Italy, in particular the Salento region of Puglia...

...Built in 1792, Villa Elia was owned by the Ravenn family, aristocrats from the nearby seaside town of Gallipoli, in the south of Puglia. That was until eight years ago, when it was bought by Gaetano Castellini, son of a famous Milanese coutourier, Lella Curiel. The locals though that Castellini was pazzo to take on such a huge property in the middle of the countryside at the carefree age of 35... but to Castellini it was an incredible opportunity."It was like meeting a beautiful, charming old lady who was waiting for someone to invite her out, so she had an excuse to do her make-up and dress up again," he told me as we walked around the pool area"...

...Our week at Villa Elia went by in an indolent haze of al fresco meals, dips in the pool and regular house explorations... The cook prepared an eye-watering Italian feast for our arrival lunch: freshly made parmigiana, minted potatoes and courgettes, and still warm ricotta and buffalo mozzarella, collected from the dairy that morning. We ate on the patio under the vines... with a delicious chilled white wine from Castellini's honesty cellar. It was quite an introduction to masseria living...

...Jude Law and Sinnea Miller stayed at Villa Elia a couple of years ago..."


Villa Elia in the Financial Times, 31 March 2012 | Think Sicily

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