In an era defined by hyper-commercialism and excess, an invitation to embrace absence becomes an intoxicating proposition. And it’s this principle that guides the concept of Palazzo Daniele, a nine-suite property housed in the 150-year-old former family palazzo of art philanthropist Francesco Petrucci. Set in the village of Gagliano del Capo and opening April 15th, the residence has returned to its core essentials, where exposed walls bear the cracks of time and monastic beds take center stage, augmenting the grandeur of the original ceiling frescoes and mosaic flooring.
Far from the well-trodden tourist trails, Palazzo Daniele is set in the sleepy, under-the-radar village of Gagliano del Capo in Puglia’s exquisite Salento region, renowned for its charming blend of neoclassical, Baroque and Byzantine architecture. A gateway to both the Adriatic’s rocky coastline and the sandy beaches of the Ionian Sea, Salento is also the setting for the annual international art show Capo d’Arte.
Originally constructed in 1861, the year of Italy’s reunification, the stately palazzo was built by the locally renowned architect Domenico Malinconico in the neoclassical style with a series of courtyards and lush Mediterranean landscaping. Reshaped and reimagined by Ludovica and Roberto Palomba of award-winning Milanese design studio Palomba Serafini Associati, Palazzo Daniele emerges as a harmonious dialogue between sublime minimalism and 19th-century splendor.
Inspired by the idea of absence, the Palombas stripped back the interiors while preserving the structure’s architectural integrity through the restoration of ornate frescos and original flooring, creating an exceptional backdrop for the palazzo’s carefully-curated art collection. Site-specific works commissioned by Petrucci, such a Luigi Presicci lamp, Nicolas Party stools, Roberto Cuoghi sculpture, and Carla Accardi’s lithography, sit alongside ancestral portraits and neoclassical design motifs.
The transformation of Palazzo Daniele also extends to the building’s layout. The grand front living areas now serve as spectacular exhibition spaces, while the suites boast a covetable position at the back of the palazzo, overlooking the verdant courtyards, sun-dappled pool or Gagliano del Capo’s central piazzetta.
Framed by vaulted ceilings, the suites are monastic in spirit, with sparsely furnished spaces heightening the impact of design pieces that blur the lines between art and function.
The 25-sqm Junior Suites and the 45-sqm Royal Junior Suite have king size beds and black steel-framed open wardrobes—custom-made by the Palombas—a signature feature throughout the suites. The bathroom of the latter has been conceived as a living art installation, in which a rain shower falls from a 6-meter-high ceiling onto a basin designed by Italian artist Andrea Sala. An extraordinary design piece in its own right, a lightbox by Simon d’Exea proves eminently practical as it serves to illuminate each of the 40-sqm Suites, which also showcase contemporary artworks by the likes of Claudio Abbate, Eva Jospin, and Christian Frosi.
Centered around a large, light-filled living room from the 1800s, the expansive 130-square-meter Master Suite has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and, of course, a selection from Palazzo Daniele’s enviable art collection. The piece de resistance is the aristocratic Suite Apartment, which inhabits an entire wing of the palazzo with independent access, a private kitchen, a living room, three bedrooms, three private bathrooms and a dining room. This 200-sqm apartment is characterized by the perfect combination of architectural heritage, minimalistic design and breath-taking art, including Mohamed Namou’s “Pocket” and Sergio Breviario’s “Prototipo Macchina per la Conquista del Mondo”.
A uniting principle of each of the hotels within the GS Collection, hyper-localism is key to the social concept of Palazzo Daniele. Located in the center of the village, the palazzo’s unique, enduring physical and emotional standing within the local community ensures that guests have unparalleled access to traditional Puglian life. This authentic engagement with its surroundings allows for localized experiences such as angling with neighboring fishermen, and then presenting the catch of the day to the local cook Federica to prepare family style at the palazzo’s communal table. Federica, who hails from Gagliano del Capo, is also on hand to share generations-old pasta making techniques or to point guests in the direction of the best regional mozzarella.