This Italian Palazzo Now Beckons as a Breathtaking Hotel
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This Italian Palazzo Now Beckons as a Breathtaking Hotel

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By Alia Akkam
Palazzo Daniele in Puglia pays tribute to a rich Neoclassical heritage.

The idyllic region of Puglia in Southern Italy is dotted with farms, beaches, and trulli—iconic stone houses crowned with cone-shaped roofs. Amid this picturesque backdrop is Palazzo Daniele, a 158-year-old building converted into a posh, nine-suite boutique hotel.

Palazzo Daniele's front entrance. Its mid 19th-century Neoclassical architecture is common to the region, which is also known for Baroque and Byzantine structures.

Palazzo Daniele's front entrance. Its mid 19th-century Neoclassical architecture is common to the region, which is also known for Baroque and Byzantine structures.

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Palazzo Daniele's stunning courtyard. In the distance is the circular-domed Kaffeehaus, a one-time aristocratic hangout where guests can now savor candle-lit dinners.

Palazzo Daniele's stunning courtyard. In the distance is the circular-domed Kaffeehaus, a one-time aristocratic hangout where guests can now savor candle-lit dinners.

Another glimpse of the courtyard. On the grounds there is lush landscaping, including orange trees, that evoke the Mediterranean.

Another glimpse of the courtyard. On the grounds there is lush landscaping, including orange trees, that evoke the Mediterranean.

Located in Gagliano del Capo, a charming village in the Salento region close to the Adriatic coast, Palazzo Daniele is the former home of Francesco Petrucci, cofounder of the non-profit organization Capo d’Arte and its eponymously named annual art show. Fittingly, pieces from Petrucci’s remarkable stash of art and furniture, including Italian abstract painter Carla Accardi’s lithography work and stools by Swiss artist Nicolas Party, continue to adorn the rooms. 

A bright, well-preserved fresco covers the ceiling of the airy common room.

A bright, well-preserved fresco covers the ceiling of the airy common room.

Palazzo Daniele is the latest venture from Gabriele Salini, founder of GS Collection, which includes sister property G-Rough in Rome. Like that petite hotel, situated in a 17th-century building near Piazza Navona, the palazzo thoughtfully showcases original architectural elements without sacrificing modernity. 

Exquisite detailing abounds in the parlor.

Exquisite detailing abounds in the parlor.

"With a property like Palazzo Daniele, with such history and timeless presence, there needs to be an artful nuance, a harmony, between the building’s past and its future," says Salini. "What we aimed to do is create a sense of ‘contemporary nostalgia,’ blending centuries-old architecture and old-world luxury with contemporary artwork, avant-garde furniture, and site-specific installations." 

The suites exude a calm, monastic air.

The suites exude a calm, monastic air.

All the suites effortlessly juxtapose history and modernity.

All the suites effortlessly juxtapose history and modernity.

Built in 1861 by architect Domenico Malinconico in the Neoclassical style, it flaunts colorful frescoes, vaulted ceilings, and mosaic flooring. To amplify those stunning period features, Milan–based design studio Palomba Serafini Associati muted the interiors, thoughtfully furnishing the suites that wrap around the centerpiece open-air courtyard. 

"The walls are all done up with local finishes, painted with lime and various pigments from the region," says Gabriele Salini, Palazzo Daniele's co-owner.

"The walls are all done up with local finishes, painted with lime and various pigments from the region," says Gabriele Salini, Palazzo Daniele's co-owner.

The quirky, pastel-hued living room inside the Suite Apartment, which comprises an entire wing of the palazzo and includes three bedrooms and baths as well as a dining room and private kitchen.

The quirky, pastel-hued living room inside the Suite Apartment, which comprises an entire wing of the palazzo and includes three bedrooms and baths as well as a dining room and private kitchen.

Still, the pared-back spaces teem with details that exemplify craftsmanship, like the firm’s custom black steel-framed open wardrobes and Rome photographer Simon d'Exéa’s art-meets-function lightboxes. 

A ceiling fresco and mosaic floor steal the limelight in the Royal Junior suite.

A ceiling fresco and mosaic floor steal the limelight in the Royal Junior suite.

Reminiscent of an art installation, the rain shower in the Royal Junior suite cascades from a nearly 20-foot-high ceiling into a basin designed by Italian artist Andrea Sala.

Reminiscent of an art installation, the rain shower in the Royal Junior suite cascades from a nearly 20-foot-high ceiling into a basin designed by Italian artist Andrea Sala.

Palazzo Daniele stars artworks from the likes of Mohamed Namou, Sergio Breviario, Claudio Abate, Eva Jospin, and Christian Frosi. 

To maximize the property's connection to the outdoors, the kitchen was moved to a formerly neglected storage area and opened onto the gardens.

To maximize the property's connection to the outdoors, the kitchen was moved to a formerly neglected storage area and opened onto the gardens.

When guests aren’t relaxing on Driade sofas and armchairs, they find solace in the sauna or steam room, or perched at the communal table inside the open kitchen. "The front and back access to the grand kitchen is special; we re-opened an old arcade which was walled at the beginning of the 20th century," says Salini. 

Concrete stairs lead from the kitchen to the pool area. A peekaboo perforated screen crafted from black metal allows guests to see the activity unfolding inside.

Concrete stairs lead from the kitchen to the pool area. A peekaboo perforated screen crafted from black metal allows guests to see the activity unfolding inside.

The pool, seen through the arched entryway of the kitchen.

The pool, seen through the arched entryway of the kitchen.

Once afternoon cooking lessons wind down, the cinematic pool becomes a magnet for guests. "Creating an indoor/outdoor continuity throughout  was one of our biggest challenges," says Salini. "The severe 19th-century architecture was based on a clear separation of the two, which is not the way we experience architecture today."

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