Masseria Alchimia is a charming boutique hideaway located on the coast of Puglia, with just 10 beautifully designed self-catering holiday apartments.
How would you describe Cliff House in a nutshell?
Cliff House is a stunning holiday rental set on the cliffs of Poligano a Mare in Puglia, southern Italy with incredible views of the Mediterranean Sea.
What is the history of the house? What was your inspiration to renovate it?
It has always been a dream of ours to buy a masseria, which is like a farmhouse in the region, so once we got the money we searched for the perfect place. Whenever we visited this area, we would always stay at a romantic hotel in Polignano a Mare that was next to an abandoned building. We had never thought that we would want to own a townhouse, but when we checked it out, we realized that it was destiny, even despite its bad state.
We didn’t have much experience in restoring something like it before, so we had to find the right team to help us. Its sensitive position on top of cliffs and the narrow street it is located on required most things to be done by hand. Including the time it took to get all the necessary permits, it took a total of three years to renovate the building.
Can you describe the interior design and the atmosphere of the rental?
We collaborated with our architect on materials and restored the house in the traditional Puglian style, making use of all kinds of different local techniques. We have designed it in a way where the stones stand out yet still look very rustic.
My husband and I were both in charge of the interior decoration and since we are close to Africa, it was important to have some of the spirit of African crafts and color included into the design. Together with Scandinavian influences and the original Puglian style, which is simple and essential, we were able to blend and complement notes from those three cultures.
As for the atmosphere, the most amazing feeling about the house is when you’re outside and look at the house itself. It looks typical of the area, but once you enter, there’s an immediate sense of awe. You have an amazing view of the sea right off the cliffs and due to the cellar full of water the house always stays cool, even during the hot summer months.
What’s so special about the house to you personally?
Even after 10 years of being here, every visit I still have the impression of how amazing it is, as if it’s the first time I’ve been there. You just don’t expect that when you view it from the outside. It’s very cozy inside and you can enjoy the terrace of the house even in the heat of summer because it stays shady.
I also love the feeling of isolation, which you get from facing the sea, when you see nothing besides nature and the wide ocean. Yet once you walk out of the main door, you are in a very busy town with lots of things to see and do.
What has been most rewarding about the whole experience?
We’ve never had somebody in the house that didn’t fall in love with the house. I’ve been amazed with how many people instantly connect with both the house and the area. It is for that reason that despite the long time it took to renovate the house, it’s been well worth it. We even decided to work on a new project now with the same team.