The Policoro holding belonged to the San Severino family from 1300 to 1600; later, after taking a vow, this family donated it to the Jesuits. In 1772 the Jesuits were expelled from the kingdom of the Naples, that was then called the kingdom of the two Sicilies, and the Policoro holding was sold by auction and bought by by Maria Grimaldi, princess of Gerarce.
In 1893, the holding with a population of 275 residents was sold to Luigi Berlingieri, Baron of Crotone, who owned it until the early 1950s, when the well known Land Reform Agency of Puglia and Basilicata dispossessed him of the whole 5625 hectare estate.
These lands were subject to a deep agricultural transformation; after malaria was defeated thanks to the use of DDT, vast water drainage works were carried out, along with deforestation and land reclaim; country roads were built along with schools, nursery schools, a church and a medical centre. 700 farmsteads were built, each consisting of about six hectares with houses, wells, and shelters for farming equipment and animals. The Agriculture Development Agency distributed these farmsteads to farmers coming from the provinces of Matera, Potenza and nearby Puglia region.
Of the original 5625 hectares that were expropriated 150 hectares were left aside and these were turned into two large farms of equal size. One of these farms was given to the University of Bari to be used as a centre for agricultural researches, and the other was allotted to the Third Order of the minor order Grey Friars in Italy to be turned into a teaching farm for the orphans and for the children of the local farmers.
The idea of a teaching farm was put forward by the late father Teodoro Buonfiglio who made all possible efforts to have the farm allotted to the Third Order of the above said Friars.
This is how the farm was born, that Father Teodoro wanted to call “Villaggio Sant’Antonio”.
In the years following the allotment, the Father was stubbornly determined to have a 1300 square metres building built, that would house a school for future farmers; he also had stables and stores for farm produce built, he continued to systematize the plots of land and set up a cow stock-farm for milk production, a large olive tree nursery, a modern citrus fruit plantation and a small peach tree grove.
It took the Father three years to have part of his dream come true; unfortunately, The Agriculture Development Agency failed to continue the Father’s initiative and there were hardly any youths to be trained. After spending all his energies in the management and improvement of this difficult land, Father Teodoro Buonfiglio never saw his plan accomplished, as he met an early death in a car crash.
In 1973, when Faustino Caruso was M.P.R. minister, the above mentioned Franciscan Order, owner of the Farm called “Villaggio Sant’Antonio, allowed the grand parents of the present lady owners to manage it. Their grandfather on the father’s side, Pasquale Benevento, died three months after his arrival in Policoro, when he was only 56; then the grandfather of the Benevento sisters took over the management of this Farm and decided to continue to improve the farming techniques as it was in Father Teodoro Buonfiglio’s plans. He has always loved and still loves this land, just like Father Teodoro, and has dedicated 30 years of his life to that aim..
The Franciscan Fathers, aware of the Benevento family’s attachment and love for the Farm called “Villaggio Sant’Antonio”, sold it to the Benevento sisters, thus fulfilling their wish.
During the last thirty years of their management, they have swapped from stock-farming to vegetable-farming; in 1995, following the advice of the experts and managers of the General Fruit in Ravenna, they decided to turn the whole farm into a fruit-growing farm. The collaboration with the General Fruit expert fruit growers, along with the strong determination of the owners, has made the “Villaggio Sant’Antonio” Farm one of the leading producers of peaches, apricots, oranges and other citrus fruit varieties. The owners have lately decided to restore part of the 1300 square metres main building, which now houses an Agriturismo (Farm Holiday Establishment).
The ground floor has become a typical welcoming restaurant with a fully equipped modern kitchen; the little chapel, that Father Teodoro had built, has been enlarged and restored . On the first floor left wing there are seven comfortable bedrooms having 2, 3 and 4 beds with air conditioning and TV.
The owners’ father often says that a lot has been accomplished, but there is still a lot to do, so that the dream of Father Teodoro Buonfiglio may really come true, a dream that he has also shared since 1973.

Azienda Agrituristica "Villaggio Sant'Antonio"

Proprietà Famiglia Benevento

Via Nazionale, 42 - 75025 Policoro (MT)

P. IVA 00586660771

Tel/Fax 0835/902997

e-Mail :0835902997@iol.it