We finally had a chance to check off one of our bucket list destinations, exploring the Salento region of Italy earlier this year. It’s an area known for amazing food, wine, spectacular rocky beaches, and wonderful Masseria’s, but by far the highlight during our time in the area was our stay at Palazzo Daniele. It came highly recommended amongst our well-travelled friends, and it was one of the most memorable hospitality experiences we’ve ever had in all our years exploring the world.
Located at the southernmost tip of Italy’s heel in Puglia in the tiny town of Gaglian de Capo, bordered by the Ionian and Adriatic Sea. The magical nine-suite aristocratic palazzo is one of two Design Hotels in the area, built in 1861 by a famous local architect Domenico Malinconico, and later remodeled by the owner’s family in the early 20th century. From the outside, the palazzo feels very unassuming, but once you step inside it feels more like a home than a hotel.
Owned for over four generations by the Daniele family and the latest addition to the GS Collection (the hotel group behind G-Rough located in Rome’s Piazza Navona), the palazzo is beautifully designed in a minimal yet modern way with contemporary art dotted around the property from the last descendent of Daniele family, Francesco Petrucci.
Before opening its doors to travellers in 2019, Petrucci hosted artists from all over the world at the Palazzo, stripping the rooms of ornate features while preserving the history and keeping the space clean to foster creativity. Petrucci later partnered with fellow art collector and friend Gabriele Salini to open the palazzo to the public, offering a different approach to Italian hospitality that fuses local culture, history, and contemporary art harmoniously.
Stay at the palazzo, and you almost become part of the family, welcomed into a suite all your own with no detail left unturned, including gracious king-sized beds with custom linens, a curated selection of books, bath amenities by Grown Alchemist and Marvis, and modern furniture. Walking through the palazzo feels like a dream with only a few guests ever in sight; you can stroll the beautiful grounds and feel almost entirely alone. At dinner, the kitchen and lounge spaces come alive, offering a changing daily menu complimented by an incredible natural wine list. After dinner, guests can indulge in a cocktail at their self-serve bar, take a midnight swim in the pool or have the staff prepare the steam room or wood sauna for a good sweat.
We sat down with Gabriele Salini, CEO & Founder of GS Collection, to chat more about Salento and what makes the palazzo such a unique experience.
Can you describe your approach to luxury and hospitality?
GS Collection (GSC) takes a very unique approach to hospitality. We’re more of a concept rather than a collection; an Italian hospitality concept that takes place in private palazzos and houses with a familiar story to tell, and a true connection with the local neighborhood. All of these elements are present in G-Rough as well as Palazzo Daniele and represent the precise identity of our hotels.
Is collaboration important for your brand?
Absolutely, we take collaboration very seriously when it comes to the art and design of our hotels. Bringing in celebrated interior designers and local artists is a pillar of GS Collection. For Palazzo Daniele, we hosted artists as they created site-specific installations that conjure the functionality of art while also encouraging guests to become active participants, comparable to the artists who partook in the residency.
What’s your favourite part of the Palazzo?
My favorite part of Palazzo Daniele is the grand shower in the Royal Junior Suite, made by the Italian artist Andrea Sala. It’s a living art installation in which a rain shower falls from a 6-meter-high ceiling onto a basin; a perfect example of how art becomes functional in the palazzo.
Palazzo Daniele has an interesting art collection, can you tell us about the thought process behind the curation?
We have meticulously curated the selection of art found throughout the property; it is a definitive pillar that Palazzo Daniele has been created upon. There is not one room that solely functions as a gallery; rather we have curated the entire grounds to serve as an exceptional backdrop to our contemporary art collection.
What are some of your favourite dishes to cook and to eat from the Salento region?
As Italian cuisine is known for using fresh and simple ingredients, my favorite dish is one that is modest by nature: spaghetti with meatballs & tomato sauce … or “spaghetti alle vongole”
What are some of your favourite places in Salento?
Salento is actually the largest province of Italy and therefore invites an endless journey of discovery; there are about 100 little villages, each with a longstanding town center. One of my favorite towns is Tricase, with its Piazza Pisanelli and its secluded port. “Farmacia Balboa” offers nice cocktails in the square while “Caffè D’Oltremare” has a beautiful terrace on the sea.
How do you hope Palazzo will evolve in the coming years?
My hope for Palazzo Daniele is that it will continue aging as gracefully as it has. We have a strong foundation and will always strive to make sure visitors feel like intimate guests of a family palazzo and members of the local community. We are also working to renovate part of the palazzo’s left wing to add more rooms and a beautiful living room created in an old oil mill (frantoio)
Are you planning any new properties? Anything exciting you’re working on currently you’re able to share with us?
We have a new project in Rome, that I hope will be ready for next year and we’re also considering new destinations in Italy.