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region Apulia

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Masserie - diffusion

Along so many roads of this rural itinerary there is also the chance to encounter many "masserie palazzo" (palace countryside houses), whose owners led their lives following personally the productive activities. Here it is clearly evident the social distinction between landlords and workers, simply by observing the diversity of their houses, even physically so distant one from the other. The more the landlords were rich and powerful, the larger their estate properties, the nicer and extraordinarily sumptuous the decorations. The people living in masserie were known as "homini defora" or "foresi", in other words, citizens who were living outside the town's walls. They used to work as farmers, harvesters, shepherds, tree trimmers, cheese makers and they were given orders by the "massaro", an ambiguous figure who was loved and hated both by the workers and the owners, since he didn't belong neither to the former nor to the latter category; anyhow this figure represented the essence of each one of these countryside houses deserving the hard earned name of masserie.

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