Hospitality according to nature since 1870
The story of Susafa as told by the owners, Manfredi and Tommaso
Susafa’s story began more or less 800 years ago when the whole area was known as Susafa and was a benefice of the Teutonic knights.
Even in those far distant times there was an independent and self-sufficient community living here.
Over time, this community continued to grow until it eventually reached around one hundred and twenty families (about 400 to 500 people).
The majority of the inhabitants were involved in the cultivation of wheat which, at that time, was the most important and precious commodity. A smaller number of the local people were responsible for growing and producing everything else that would be needed in order to sustain the community.
So, here you would have found the man in charge of the vineyards, the gardener who took care of the kitchen garden and the orchards, the people who baked the bread and produced the cheese and so on.
This was a self-sufficient community that had no need of supplies from outside and for this reason, people in the neighbouring areas started to call this community who knew how to do everything themselves by the name “Su Sa Fà” – SuSaFa (which means, ‘they know how to do it.’)
This situation continued more or less unchanged until after the war when industrialisation resulted in people leaving the villages and the maximization of resources such as, for example, intensive usage of the land. This brought about the demise of the gardens, the vineyards and the peasant village which was a hamlet with thatched houses where the workers slept.
It is from this knowledge gleaned about the history of Susafa that our idea of rebuilding this slice of history was born. The same self-sufficient reality as in times gone by. We reactivated the water source within the property (the communal aqueduct doesn’t reach as far as this), we have a garden again which covers about 7000 square metres, an orchard that is planted with native varieties of fruit trees, an aromatic herb garden, an organic olive grove from which we produce our own extra virgin olive oil, we have solar panels which generate the electricity and hot water, we bake our own bread with traditional flour and we want to start producing some of the old species of wheat for use internally within the estate.
All this natural produce is at the disposal of our restaurant where we offer an à la carte menu that changes every six weeks or so in accordance with the seasons as well as a tasting menu that is created daily depending on what has been picked from the kitchen garden. When it comes to foodstuffs that we do not produce ourselves, we concentrate on sourcing these from small local producers.
We have also rebuilt and refurbished the areas that were used historically as part of the Masseria (the old farmhouse). From the barn with its pointed arches, we created a restaurant. From the mill, the room where the wine was made and stored, we have created a wine bar. From the tenant farmers’ lodgings, we have created the current bedrooms and so on…….
Our guests can immerse themselves in this recreation of an old reality and become part of it thanks to the activities that we can offer such as, for example, a guided tour of the kitchen gardens, the orchard and the aromatic herb garden. The cookery courses begin with collecting the ingredients from the kitchen garden, accompanied by our chef, that will be used during the cooking lesson. You can also enjoy a stroll and a guided tour around the 50 hectares of cherry trees that surround the Masseria. Or, there is also the opportunity, with the help of a map and a list of tisanes that you will find in your room, to wander around the aromatic herb garden and pick the leaves to make your own tisane.
None of this is done in order to keep up with recent trends but is all about going back to our roots, to the origins of Susafa.
All these ideas enable us to offer an experience that is truly different, unique and authentic. This is the Susafa experience. Being able to immerse yourself in an authentic reality in which time seems to have stood still, reliving a Sicily that is still authentic.
This unique ambience and our ideas as to how you may wish to spend your time have been much praised in the comments we have received from our guests. In fact, this has led to our being included in some of the collections of the world’s most important hotels, (HipHotels, Condè Nast Johansens, Chicretreats, Authentic hotels, etc.) and, just a few months ago, to our winning one of the most prestigious awards in the hospitality industry at the CNJ Awards in the category for “Best Small and Exclusive Property.”