The term “masseria” describes a large farm house. Many masserie date back to the times when there were large estates owned by rich aristocrats and wealthy members of the middle classes. The masserie were in fact large agricultural concerns which contained accommodation for the workers and staff as well as storage for produce and livestock. Many masserie combined different types of agriculture, though some farms were dedicated primarily to cereal crops, while others concentrated on livestock farming. The distinctive appearance of the masseria is due to its long walled buildings, which were often fortified, surrounding a central courtyard. Around the courtyard were stalls for the animals, as well as workshops and storage rooms for machinery and equipment. The doorways and windows which opened towards the outside of the buildings were often surmounted by “Caditoie”. These enabled stones and other offensive materials to be dropped onto the heads of anyone undesirable attempting to gain access to the farm.