In this special series, we showcase the people, stories and ideas that bring color and energy to this land, from the small town to the big city.
Award-Winning Writer, Activist,
Sommelier & Estate Owner
Italian-American writer Mea Argentieri spent years looking for a home in the south of Italy. One property had what another lacked, but neither were ‘it’. At one point during the tireless and persistent search, a friend suggested that she consider another direction. “There is a magical
place you must go to,” she said. Eager to set her eyes on the plot destined for her, Mea followed the lead to the land of Puglia.
Amid sixty million olive trees, lush greenery from coast to hilltop, terracotta velvet earth, and wild flowers blooming among crumbling walls made couture decades ago, the magic presented
itself. A set of historic trulli built in 1640, left untouched and vulnerably beautiful, stand close
to one another. Huddled like a tribe of farmers who inhabited it, supporting each other’s walls
but retaining aesthetic independence with its unique coned ceiling. It’s easy to see why Mea fell
in love with Puglia and how Los Angeles was easy to leave behind.
The bond with the land took time, diplomacy and patience to form. The ground on which the trulli sit proved stubborn, solid rock land with a strong energy that challenged even the most creative plan. In fact, to Mea the restoration was exhausting yet cathartic. A chipping course and Boules court are at the front, while a free-hanging tent around the back is perfect for bookworms and afternoon meditations. At the footsteps of the trulli are the lounge and dining area with indoor and outdoor settings to accommodate changing seasons.
Then, like a runway platform rising from the Adriatic is the infinity pool, dug from the rock. What is a private Apulian villa without its own olive oil and wine? The estate produces its own bottled extra virgin oil while harvests mature in the wine cellar, an achievement that she is proud of. The ‘Ella’ harvest is indeed wonderfully pleasant, light and fruity.
Having much to do never challenged Mea; it only inspires her further. She was a sought-after broadcasting executive in the booming Eighties and won several Cannes Lion Awards for her brilliant writing skills.
She continues to write professionally, campaigning for social causes and publishing several books, including ‘Cowgirls in English Saddles’ with photography by Veronique Vial (available on Amazon). The book tells the story of a grassroots movement that saved eight acres of land to become a horse facility and explores the relationship between women and their horses – a symbol of energy, partnership and strength. In 2014, Mea’s name was among the Top 100 Female Influencers in Los Angeles. Her autobiography “My Whole Life Came True” will be published in 2020.
Her inquisitive eyes and volcanic spirit indicate that she is ready for more magic.