Masseria Antonio Augusto — Lecce, Italy
One of the greater pleasures of visiting Puglia these days is witnessing the revival of the region’s ubiquitous masserias, as one of these farmhouses after the other is spruced up and repurposed into a luxury hotel.
The latest to emerge from an extensive restoration, is the nine-room Masseria Antonia Augusto that looks out over the small town of Leverano in the province of Lecce. Every square inch has been coaxed back to life, the finished product testament to the crack team of restorers who thoroughly renovated the building’s original details from the monastically arched hallways and their ceiling frescoes to the now hand-polished walls made of pietra Leccese, a regional limestone.
The austerity of the centuries-old building has been given a light and modern touch by way of Belgian furnishings – like the X-L-Lamps by Bart Lens for Eden Design and poolside furnishings by Tribù – from the province of Limburg, where the masseria’s namesake owner immigrated to as an 11-year old boy. ‘Italians are true chauvinists,’ says Augusto. ‘We go against the grain a little bit by bringing Limburg design into this southern Salento setting.’
The former wine cellar has been transformed into a spa with a Turkish bath and a vertical massage shower, while in-room toiletries are by Maison Margiela’s Replica line – another Limburg transplant.
During the day, you’ll find us wallowing poolside, but come night, head to the ‘silent room’, the restaurant’s private dining space, where you can sample chef Mario Carlino’s traditional Salentino dishes like homemade orechiette, melanzane alla Parmigiana from a long oak table by Belgian furniture designer Casimir.§