If you’re looking for an extraordinary retreat in Italy, Baroque Travel has found just the place. It’s called Palazzo Daniele, and it’s located in a sleepy little town called Gagliano del Capo in Puglia
These days, travel is all about exploring new, unusual places and immersing oneself in the local culture. A getaway to Palazzo Daniele is such an experience, a stunning little boutique guesthouse in the area of Salento, located at the tip of Italy’s heel. It’s a seaside town, where the rocky coastline of the Adriatic meets the Ionian Sea, a best-kept secret known only to a few such as actress Helen Mirren, who has a house a little further away in the town of Tricase.
This 19th century palazzo has been in Francesco Petrucci’s family for five generations. Petrucci is known for co-founding Capo d’Arte, a non-profit organization that promotes contemporary art in the area of Puglia. He hired a series of architects to assist in transforming the family home into a luxurious guesthouse, which is a combination of artistic splendor and simplicity. An added attraction is the proximity to some of the best beaches in the region, just a short drive away, although the property does have it’s own cool, dark swimming pool for those who prefer to stay there.
A complex blend of old and new, Palazzo Daniele is home to exquisite vaulted frescoed ceilings, mosaic floors not to mention Petrucci’s magnificent, ever-increasing contemporary art collection. Each of the 9 en suite bedrooms is luxurious and simple, with exquisite linen from Marrakech, the most far-flung of its special touches. Guest rooms are minimally furnished, with a bed and a custom-made black steel-framed wardrobe.
The rest of the house is Puglian, pure and simple, with ceramics created in the nearby pottery town of Grottaglie, a chef offering mouthwatering regional specialties using fresh ingredients from surrounding farms such as local pecorino cheese and freshly picked tomatoes. Guests can learn how to make pasta in the palazzo’s grand kitchen – and no matter what is made there, it is always washed down with delectable local wines.
The refurbishment entailed turning the layout of the building around completely. The spaces where artworks are displayed used to be the living areas of the original townhouse. The guest rooms and living spaces are now located at the back of the building, all looking out onto a series of courtyards, one with an orangery, another with the dark swimming pool.
The refurbished 19th century building now comprises guest rooms, an art space as well as artists’ studios where an annual residency program in partnership with Villa Medici, the French Academy in Rome, takes place.
When artists are not in residence at Palazzo Daniele, Petrucci rents out rooms, or the entire establishment, to guests. At the entrance is a plaque that says “This is a place to be shared”. But the owner is very discerning, which is why the place is such a best-kept secret.
The 10-year-old Palazzo Daniele is open for bookings for the coming 2019 spring and summer months.