Masserie were the places where the agricultural work and the whole economical and social life were organized in southern Italy. Concerning the structure, Masserie were born on the truncated late-Roman villas where the volumes are distributed around a comfortable and wide internal space. Time and history have requested some works that have modified the architecture of our ancient Masserie for politic economic and social needs. The charm of these structures has remained although several changes have occurred. The functional nature of the internal and external spaces division is really surprising; spaces fit well environment with great harmony, as well as a perfect balance between man and nature, the elegance remains also in the poorest shapes.
Masserie with court structure show structural and frequent elements that become steady characteristic of them, despite the complexity of the area, the dimension, the activities and the rural changing events of the south.
This kind of masseria seems to be a quadrangular or rectangular fortress with a large courtyard inside (about 500 sqm), usually paved with stone slabs or rubble, in the centre we find the well or water tank. The court is the physical and operative core of this masseria, the heart of the structure, through a unique door is possible to accede to the court in order to avoid any external contact.
Along the sides of the courtyard we find the spaces where ancient life developed while fields and grazing extended around and behind the building.
This kind of Masseria at single or two levels with court, was developed on the large estates of our country where pastoral function was more important than the agricultural one. On the ground / first floor the Massaro lived. Usually there wasn’t the master’s residence, since it wasn’t a resort house.
The courtyard wasn’t surrounded by the workers’ lodgings, but was bordered by closed sheds (suppenne) and few spaces concerned the milk process. Sometimes the Masseria pastorale consists of two interconnecting courtyards, all the rustic buildings are disposed around the first one, and the sheds for animals are disposed around the second that has a own door.
Agricoltural an pastoral Masseria
This Masseria is usually distributed on two levels with a court structure. The entrance is on the main side composed of two floors and usually houses a little church: an external stairs leads to the first floor where the owner’s residence is, on this part of the building it’s possible to find a little lodge, from there the gaze embraces all the extension of the property, on the ground floor the Massaro usually lives.
On the other sides of the courtyard, further spaces are distributed on the same level and without a fixed order: warehouse for agricultural products, stables with stone mangers, dormitory for seasonal workers and a quite large room with oven and kitchen where workers ate their meal. Around and behind the building, (it depended on the size of the Masseria), there was the oil mill, the “palmento” for the wine and the farmyard for the wheat. The farmyard was paved with “chianche” used for recovering the rainwater that was impounded into tanks and used for drinking, for cooking legumes and for watering of crops. The rain water was recovered also from roofs through gutters.
Linear shape Masseria
In this type of Masseria well distributed on our area, the court is absent. Inside the structure several buildings (depending on their complexity and on the size of the Masseria) are disposed along a single side with rooms on the ground floor or with levels that overlap.
The same structure belongs to Masserie with simple economy, where we can find a simple house where the Massaro lives, little shelters for sheeps and round small towers for doves.