Cliff House is a vacation rental in a stunning ancient building on the cliffs of Poligano a Mare with incredible views of the Mediterranean Sea.
How would you describe Masseria Alchimia in a nutshell?
Masseria Alchimia is a small, charming boutique hideaway in Puglia, Italy. Holiday guests rent small, independent rooms with kitchenettes. It’s like a self-catering apartment hotel.
We are in the countryside here, but we are also close to the sea with very nice beaches. It is a very quiet retreat.
What was your inspiration to open these holiday apartments in Puglia?
I had come down to Puglia many years ago and started living in a trulli house by myself. It was kind of big with a lot of rooms, so many friends stopped by and stayed. I liked that a lot, so I decided to do it in a more professional way.
I worked as a photographer at that time, but when I had my son it became more difficult. So switching over to something brand new made sense.
Please tell us a bit about the history and style of the masseria.
The oldest part of Masseria Alchimia is from the 17th century. In the past, it was owned by nuns. It was an institute where they would teach young girls how to be good wives. They also used to grow olives to make olive oil so when I bought it, there were 17 hectares of land. Now only 3 hectares still belong to the masseria. It’s still big, but not that big.
In terms of decoration, I decided to break the rules and not use classic Italian furniture. Instead, I bought some colourful furniture pieces – some vintage, some contemporary – to create a nice mix. I also use the walls of Masseria Alchimia to show changing works of artists and painters.
Is there anything in particular that made you fall in love with this part of Italy?
It was the combination of everything — the people, the food, the weather, etc. What is very special here is the sky, we have wonderful light here. I grew up in Germany where it was very foggy and rainy, so I appreciate the light here.
At the same time, it’s not like other areas of Italy. It’s not really modern, but not too much behind either. We are remote enough for it to be authentic, but close to bigger cities so you can have that experience too if you want.
What has been the biggest reward to you running Masseria Alchimia?
I meet a lot of really nice people. This is the sixth year I’m running it, and most of my guests are returning guests. I have had holiday guests come and stay by themselves and for the next visit, they’ll bring family or relatives to show them the area. I also get a lot of people from the art professions — architects, photographers, and so on — which is nice for me.
This is a very personal house, from the style and the way I run it, so if someone sees that, what the spirit of the house is, it means they have the same type of spirit. That is something I really like.