Of Italy’s burgeoning wellness scene, Puglia, with its sun-soaked masseries, sprawling underground spas and endless coastline, ranks high on the list of wellbeing destinations to wishlist. But while the heel of Italy’s boot is undoubtedly an easy sell when it comes to switching off, immersing yourself in nature and enjoying sunshine well beyond the peak-summer months, there’s far more in the name of wellness that’s luring us over to the Southernmost part of Italy right now. Namely Baglioni Masseria Muzza hotel, the five-star outpost pioneering a new wave of wellness within the idyllic surroundings of the Puglian countryside.

The hotel

Of course, the white-washed buildings, village feel and soft, quintessential colour palette of this luxurious yet homely hotel situated near UNESCO heritage city, Otranto, are reason enough to visit. The hotel, which is just an hour’s drive from Brindisi airport, is flanked by acres of land, lake views and countless olive groves; the perfect setting for hiking, horse riding and yoga with a climate that stays warm well into the Autumnal months. 

Housed in a 17th-century villa, Baglioni Masseria Muzza retains the charm and history of its former self, yet today you’ll find it dressed up with a few more bells and whistles. There’s an outdoor infinity pool that boasts blue skies by day, scorched orange sunsets by night. And the spa, to which you must travel underground, has a sauna, steam room, indoor pool, plus a long list of treatments to satisfy seasoned spa goers.

Expect the same colour palette to filter down into the rooms too, which are styled in such a way that will make you want to redecorate when you return home (see: off-whites and stone floors, Otranto-inspired details and rustic yet luxurious furnishings). The menu at Baglioni Masseria Muzza is another highlight and focuses on local cuisine, fresh fish and Puglian flavours. At La Limonia, expect local fare like orecchiette, olive oil and fresh focaccia along with daily catch of the day tossed in spaghetti and risotto with pesto and hazelnuts. 

Venturing out of the hotel? It’s also conveniently located just 10 minutes away from some of Salento’s best kept beach secrets promising turquoise seas and white sand year-round, and Otranto, a pretty town which is home to medieval sites and trinket shopping. 

The retreat

Adding to its string of wellness offerings, Baglioni Masseria Muzza has teamed up with Farzana Ali, a leading sound healer based in London, to offer guests the chance to experience the health benefits of sound healing and sound therapy. 

I was lucky enough to get a first glimpse of the retreat during her residency which ran from the end of September to October 2023. The opportunity to experience Ali’s sound healing retreat was a total privilege. Not only does she make it accessible for everyone to enjoy and experience sound healing but the Puglian setting, sunset vistas and relaxed vibe on which Baglioni Masseria Muzza prides itself makes it all the more unique. 

Though the retreat can be tailored to your personal wellbeing goals, a typical schedule could include daily sound healing sessions, during which you can simply lie down and let the sound vibrations invoke deeper relaxation. There are also insightful sound therapy sessions that combine coaching with therapeutic sound as well as vibroacoustic massage (a kind of massage that harnesses therapeutic singing bowls and sound vibrations to alleviate muscle tension) featuring on the spa treatment menu, too. 

As Farzana points out, sound healing has a ton of wellbeing benefits; it works by using sound waves to alter our state of mind by stimulating the vagus nerve (a nerve that makes up a large part of our rest and digest system) and helps regulate the nervous system. As far as the list of benefits go, it’s a long one, touted for its ability to reduce our stress (cortisol) levels and help induce feelings of calm. There is no doubt about the fact that a few days, or even hours, with Ali will leave you feeling more rested and rejuvenated, not to mention her expansive knowledge and kind demeanour. 

Final thoughts

I’m always amazed at the power of a retreat; how just a few days of mindful recharging can alter my mood, allowing myself the time and space to really switch off. My stay at Baglioni Masseria Muzza was just that; restorative, fun and the ultimate reset button. I am keeping my fingers crossed that Ali will be returning to the Puglian countryside next summer, too. 

words by Amelia Bell

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