The Palazzo Margherita, built in 1892 in the hilltop town of Bernalda, is a true 19th century palazzo. The town was the birthplace and home to Agostino Coppola, Francis Ford Coppola’s grandfather, who set about restoring the grand building into a small, luxurious Italian boutique hotel so that he could introduce visitors to this stunning and still undiscovered region.
The palazzo has been completely restored with the help of acclaimed French designer Jacques Grange, creating an authentically Italian experience that ushers guests into a private world of sheer comfort, surrounded by baroque gardens and a courtyard, all just steps from a small, bustling town where tourists are a rarity and welcomed as friends. Restored frescos, original marble floors and countless historic details retain their patina and compliment tasteful new additions such as a cinema and swimming pool.
There are just nine unique suites, including one designed Sofia Coppola with a spacious bathroom with a hammam and chromatherapy shower, while others enjoy terraces, balconies or doors opening into the gardens. All are spacious with a full range of modern amenities – such as a gratis bar and modern entertainment system with a digital movie collection specializing in Italian Cinema.
While there is no formal restaurant here, guests can dine at the eat-in kitchen, in the courtyard, garden or in any of the bars. Naturally, food is locally sourced, simply and incredible. There’s also the Cinecittà Bar, a traditional café and pizzeria that spills out onto Bernalda’s main street and looks onto the town square.
There’s plenty to do here, whether borrowing a bike to explore the local area, taking culinary classes or taking the complimentary shuttle to the Palazzo Margherita’s private beach club on the cobalt-blue shores of the Ionian Sea. Local historic sites abound, wine tastings are a delight and visits to local artisans can be arranged.