WHAT IS A MASSERIA ?
Masseria Chic's name and logo was born long before my business was officially registered. I was still in design school and I indulged an inordinate amount of time in choosing a name and designing a logo...subject matters which carried little weight with my professors.
The logo might not be graphic design greatness, but I like it. I drew the Masseria and the flowers myself. The name, although not easy to remember nor pronounce for some, still has a little mystery to it.
Sometimes, I am asked "What is Masseria?" The Masseria is a traditional building found in Italy mostly in the south and specifically in the Puglia Region, where I was born. Masserias date as far back as the Magna Graecia Period in the 7th-8th century BC. The Magna Graecia (Latin for Great Greece) is the name for the coastal areas in the south of Italy where Greek or Hellenic settlers occupied southern Italy for many years and blended with the Italic tribes, Etruscan civilizations. Although the Roman Empire eventually conquered Magna Grecia in the 5th Century BC, the Greeks, or the 'Hellas', left a lasting imprint in Italy.
During the Magna Grecia and Roman Empire, the Masserie (plural for masseria) were found along the ancient roads on the southern coastline. The Masserie served as trade depots, shelter, well-water and food supply rest stops. Also built along Roman aqueducts, natural springs, Masserie became farming, trading and communal housing and eventually became feudal estates during the Middle Ages. They survived the test of the time...their favorable locations, nestled in large estates and surrounded by terrain suited for agro-pastoral activities made them sought after residences by ecclesiastics, invaders and Italics alike. Their utility endured through the Spanish domination in the 15th century, the decline of the feudalism in the 18th century and the abandonment during the 19th century.
But in the recent years, these beautiful rustic estates have been purchased, restored and turned into bed and breakfasts, hotels and restaurants. Still some remain abandoned and somewhat part of the natural landscape of this beautiful region.
I love the vegetation that surrounds and sometimes invades the Masseria. Have you noticed how they are usually white? It looks so beautiful against the green. It fights against the beating sun, does it remind you of Greece? Makes sense doesn't it...
Are you in love yet? On my next post, I will talk about the architecture and style of the Masseria and why it resonates so much with me.
Diane Lewis, Masseria - The Italian Farmhouses of Puglia, New York, Rizzoli, Print
The Chora of Metaponto 6: A Greek Settlement at Sant'Angelo Vecchio Web Apr 2019
http://www.madeinsouthitalytoday.com/southern-italy-at-glance.php Web Apr 2019
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