PUGLIA =  Pronounced POOL YA
Puglia is a region in Southern Italy. It located at the bottom of the country sometimes referred to as at “the heel of the boot”.
Puglia is a kaleidoscope of many cultures in one....
Each town or village has its own peculiarity, its own history, and its own small hidden treasures.

MASSERIA = A fortified farmhouse or country house on a country estate found in the region of Puglia. Masseria lodging ranges from rustic to luxurious and most are set in working farms producing olive oil, wine, or produce. You'll usually find them in countryside settings, often very scenic. The masseria is typically fortified, originally against attacks by Turks or pirates, and dates from the 16th to 19th centuries.


Introduction to the Masseria:

Masseria Serra dell’Isola is a charming countryside mansion surrounded by olive groves and vineyards located in the heart of Puglia, Italy.

It is situated close to the medieval town of Conversano and about 3 miles from the village of Mola di Bari, overlooking the Adriatic Sea.

Masseria Serra dell’Isola and the cookery school Cucina in Masseria are owned by Rita Guastamacchia. 

The masseria was built by her ancestors as an olive oil mill in the 17th century and later became the summer residence of her family.   

Today Masseria Serra dell’Isola is a unique place to relax and find tranquility. It is far away from the hectic cities. Time, has stopped here centuries ago and its history and culture have been preserved through the authentic lifestyle, genuine foods, extra virgin olive oils and wines, and the true art of hospitality.  

“If you want to experience an authentic family country home and atmosphere where what matters are food, hospitality, passion and a deep love of the land, its bounties, sociability and conviviality then you will find time spent at the Masseria, a memorable and unforgettable experience.

Introduction to Rita Guastamacchia:

Built by my ancestors, once a 17th century olive oil mill and then summer residence of my family, Masseria Serra dell’Isola is today a unique place for travellers to relax and find tranquillity, far away from the hectic cities. Time has stopped here centuries ago and has preserved its history and culture unaltered through the authentic lifestyle of those days, the genuine foods, extra virgin olive oils and wines, and the true art of hospitality.

More than the owner, I consider myself the heiress and the guardian of a tradition and of a place where time and the frenetic rhythm of the metropolis are far away and unknown.

Here in Puglia-in little villages and in the countryside, far from mass tourism, our people welcome visitors as precious gifts.

At Masseria Serra dell’Isola, centuries have passed, preserving its history and culture, as well as the authentic lifestyle of those days, when the wayfarer was welcomed as a sacred guest, and left as a friend.

At Masseria Serra dell’Isola, you will find only people who are happy to be part of a community where you will always be welcome.

Once a journalist who specialized in environment and agriculture, today I devote myself to the studies of Puglia’s history and of our Southern identity.

I enjoy cooking,.making jams and marmalades, and preparing exquisite rosoli, all recipes hedged in precious cook books written by the ladies of my family throughout the centuries.

My library is a well of curiosity and interest for my guests. Within the quietness of my gardens you will discover the joy of laying under the trees while reading a good book, and feel the mistral wind blowing; “The Wind of the Lords”, as the farmers used to call it, because of the gentle breeze that gets up in the late morning and brings here the pleasant smell of the sea.”

Rita Guastamacchia

Introduction to Betsy and WHY?

A few years ago my interest in food and cooking took me to Southern Italy on a food tour.

That experience made me fall hard , fast and madly in love with Italy!

Since then, I have been studying Italian and have continuously returned to Italy every year since; Each time visiting a new region and learning more about the language, history, food and Italian culture.

My travels brought me to Puglia, Italy and to Masseria Serra dell’Isola and the cookery school owned by Rita Guastamacchia. 

Not only did Rita & I form a friendship, but I was so inspired by my experiences there, that I wanted to share it with others.

Thus, Puglia With a Local, was born.

I do need to get this out of the way. 
I (Betsy Spivak) am NOT the Local- Rita Guastamacchia is.

Together Rita and I have created trips for small groups of people. Our groups are small on purpose with only 6-8 people per trip. 

We are really excited about the trips and can’t wait to have you join us!

Grazie,, a presto!

Betsy Spivak