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Hotel Masseria ­Trapanà

Fri Nov. 20th 2015

Nicola was here in October, staying at this brand new stunning hotel, relaxing by this pool and luxuriating in her surrounds (the last two images are off her camera!).

Then we found this Conde Naste article:  Make this your next dreamy Italian Vacation.

In our favorite town in Puglia, two expat-owned hotels find the balance between authentic and inventive.

Of Italy’s few remaining untrammeled urban gems, it’s Lecce, in Puglia, that we’re most enamored of these days. So tiny you can walk across it in half an hour, this town in the heel of the Italian boot punches way above its weight when it comes to impressive architecture: ornate cathedrals sitting one after another next to beautiful Baroque palaces, all built from pietra leccese, the singular creamy-white local limestone. Despite its aesthetic allure—and a small coterie of in-the-know enthusiasts, like the Guerrand-Hermès family, who quietly keep holiday homes here—Lecce has remained largely off the international radar. This year, though, the little town’s reputation has grown in the world, as two expats have shown that an exceptional hotel, especially one that balances its style bona fides with a sense of place, can telegraph its adopted hometown’s unique charms in whole new ways.

First, in late June, came La Fiermontina. Its owner, French businessman Giacomo Fiermonte, whose grandmother was a prominent Pugliese, wanted to create a “contemporary reflection of the old Leccese artistic culture for others to enjoy.” The new-build architecture filters tradition through a minimalist lens, with rib-vaulted ceilings and tall, slim windows recalling castle embrasures. The restaurant serves elevated interpretations of cucina povera (ciceri e tria, fried pasta bits with chickpeas in broth, is the ultimate Puglian comfort food), which, while delicious when eaten in the elegant main dining room, are even tastier alfresco amid the olive and orange trees in the hotel’s walled garden.

A ten-minute drive outside the town gates, Sydney-born former marketing executive Rob ­Potter-Sanders began welcoming his first guests to Masseria ­Trapanà in October. The medieval masseria—a fortified farmhouse—reflects his respect for heritage; he even brought in experts to restore the 6th-century frescoes in the on-site chapel. There are also creative flourishes cribbed from his own travels: an Asian-style pergola and, forthcoming, a hammam carved out of a vaulted subterranean olive mill. Perhaps best of all, Trapanà is surrounded by 148 acres planted with more than 500 trees in 19 different varieties, so even though the buzz of Puglia’s new favorite town is just a hop away, you’ll hear only the wind whispering through all those leaves.