Palazzina Alchimia is a vacation rental in a Puglian townhouse from the 18th century with one bedroom, tasteful interiors and a beautiful roof terrace with views of the sea.
How would you describe Casa Salento in a nutshell?
Dating from the 16th century, Casa Salento is a two-storey property in the historic heart of a small Puglian town near Lecce.
What’s the story behind Casa Salento, what was your inspiration to create it?
Andrew and I go to Puglia very often because of our work connections and, while looking at properties, he found this one online. It was a difficult purchase because the real estate agent initially said it was taken and this was all happening during Covid.
The house used to be owned by an Italian family who lived there for many years. Eventually, they moved to Rome and were using the house less and less. By the time we purchased it, the house had been empty for quite a few years.
The refurbishment was a lot of work, as the house wasn’t up to 21st-century standards, and the oldest parts date back around 400 years. When we removed the plaster covering the facade, we realised there were three different materials beneath, so there were also a lot of decisions to be made!
How would you describe the atmosphere and the interior design of Casa Salento?
Elegant, historical, soothing and peaceful. When we bought it, the house was beautiful and with lots of charm. It just needed a bit of love and a few changes. A lot of the furnishings are vintage and feel as though they belong. As a result, you have the feeling of entering into a house that has been there for a long time.
Was there a specific philosophy you followed when designing the space?
We wanted to preserve the identity of the property by keeping as many original details as possible but with the comfort of the 21st century. Throughout the process, we tried to stay as true to the area as possible. Italy has a strong visual identity that we wanted to embrace, rather than creating something too modern that felt out of place.
In making many of the decisions, we went with our gut feeling while working with the existing light to come up with colour palettes. For example, in the darker rooms, we have embraced this with darker walls, rugs and furnishings. By using natural materials, jute rugs and linens, I think we created a place that is soothing, cosy and leaves you feeling inspired.
To you personally, what is so special about Casa Salento?
It’s a place that is steeped in history. The town of Soleto is small but it was once one of the most important in the region. Casa Salento combines the benefits of being in the heart of a Puglian town with having your own outdoor areas and plunge pool.
Inside the property, every room surprises you — some are larger than others and most have vaulted ceiling — because it has been developed over the years. It feels authentic and is like an oasis. It’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy the slow Italian lifestyle.
Casa Salento is also important to us because we put our heart and soul into it — every corner is special and carefully thought out. After our own experience staying here, we can confirm that it is very quiet (there is no noise except for the church bells) and depending on the moment, there are different rooms to relax in.