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Photography by Serena Eller

Palazzo Daniele

Gagliano del Capo, Puglia, Italy

For every cracked ceiling and naked wall in this 159-year-old aristocratic townhouse, there is a gobsmackingly gorgeous fresco, museum-caliber artwork or sweep of florid mosaic tile. Hotelier Gabriele Salini wanted an estate where he could craft an “artful nuance” between past and present. His friend, art philanthropist Francesco Petrucci, knew just the spot: his former family home. Opened as a nine-suite hotel in April 2019, Palazzo Daniele is the second addition to Salini’s portfolio, GS Collection. Its design MO: “Exalt the void,” which he describes as “stripping back and exaggerating the grandeur of the place: monastically simple bedrooms highlighting vaulted ceilings, mirrored salons and exposed walls.” Add to that site-specific artworks (a Roberto Cuoghi sculpture here, a Carla Accardi lithograph there), and you have a design-forward property unlike any other in Puglia.

The Destination

Gagliano del Capo is a wee village inhabiting Puglia’s southern Salento region. It’s a popular destination for food and wine lovers. Salini recommends first-timers hit up Farmacia Balboa for “the very best aperitivo” and Locanda del Levante for “amazing cuisine in an equally beautiful location.” He also suggests a walk down to Il Ciolo, a romantic beach squeezed into a natural cove and flanked by mighty rock cliffs. Go for a dip in the warm Adriatic Sea, fall in love, end of story.

Room to Book

The 484-square-foot Royal Junior Suite, which boasts a custom steel-framed wardrobe by Ludovica and Roberto Palomba as well as a Simon d’Exéa lightbox designed to illuminate contemporary works. The real clincher, though, is the bathroom: a “living art installation” with a rainfall shower dropping from the 20-foot ceiling over an Andrea Sala–designed basin. For a more exclusive hideout, reserve the three-bedroom, three-bathroom Suite Apartment, housed in the private wing where Petrucci once lived.

Design Highlight

The rambling open-air courtyard is a hive of guest activity, but creating that continuity between indoors and out was Salini’s biggest challenge: “The severe 19th century architecture was based on a clear separation, which is not the way we experience architecture today.” His solution? Move the kitchen to a pivotal area of the palazzo formerly wasted on storage and open it up onto both gardens. Now guests move in and out freely, en route to the swimming pool, steam room, sauna and orangery.

Good to Know

Palazzo Daniele stops at nothing to ensure guests have what Salini calls “unparalleled access to local Italian life with all of its subtleties and indulgences.” New arrivals are handed a map of owner’s tips, spotlighting favored local shops and restaurants. Seasonal activities curated by the GS team include private cooking lessons and tours of Pugliese vineyards and olive groves. But guests booked at the end of July are in for the biggest treat: an immersive experience at Petrucci’s Capo d’Arte festival.

Q+A with Gabriele Salini

Hotelier and Founder of GS Collection

What was your design inspiration at Daniele?

To create a sense of “contemporary nostalgia.” That is, blending centuries-old architecture and Old World luxury with a curated selection of contemporary artwork, avant-garde furniture and site-specific installations.

Do you have a favorite space?

The grand shower of the Royal Junior Suite. It’s a perfect example of how art can become functional and represents the Palazzo’s love of both absence and art, while transforming it into a hospitality concept.

How do you define Italian hospitality?

Simple but good food, warm conversation and a sense of belonging. Our credo, Questa casa non è un albergo (“This house is not a hotel”), provides the idea behind our philosophy. A hotel is no longer a comfortable bed and a nice bathroom; it must create an honest connection with the city you are visiting. My goal is to find places that are gateways to the local community.

What are your travel essentials?

My toothbrush, my swimsuit and a good book. Aside from always liking my mouth to stay fresh, I tend to be rather optimistic about the weather forecast and am always prepared to enjoy a sunny day.

Read this article as it appears in the magazine.

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