A farmhouse turned luxury vacation rental, Masseria Petrarolo in Puglia combines rustic warmth with elegance. Nine bedrooms in the villa and pool house are set in olive and citrus groves.
How would you describe Palazzo Muro Leccese in a nutshell?
Palazzo Muro Leccese is a historic house surrounded by traditional walls and a peaceful garden near the centre of Muro Leccese.
What is the story behind Palazzo Muro Leccese, what was your inspiration to create it?
We had already bought a villa in Muro Leccese and, over time, we were purchasing additional pieces of the garden. That’s how it happens in Salento — it’s hard to buy land as it may be owned by 20 different people. So we just kept buying the land with the idea that eventually, it would be like a small village. There is still an elderly lady who lives in one apartment that we bought but we won’t ask her to move out.
Palazzo Muro Leccese is simpler than the villa and not quite as luxurious. The structure was already there, we just changed the interior by creating two rooms downstairs and adding interior bathrooms. Originally, the property had an outdoor bathroom but it’s not ideal for winter. It was harder to make any changes on the upper floor, which has big stone-walled rooms and two bathrooms.
How would you describe the atmosphere and interior design of Palazzo Muro Leccese?
In old palazzi, we love mixing the old and new but most important is finding a house with a good blend of architecture, light and nature. At Palazzo Muro Leccese, we retained the original bedrooms and centuries-old entrance but added a modern kitchen and living space. On the upper level, we created the pool, which offers views across Muro Lecesse’s rooftops.
The interior has been designed so that everything is easy. For example, the kitchen is very well-equipped with a big fridge, lots of food preparation space and an ice machine, so it’s a pleasure to cook there. We also created many corners where you can relax and enjoy the atmosphere of the town and listen to the church bells ringing. Guests like that feeling of taking a step back in time.
There is also lots of art throughout the palazzo (my husband likes to buy art) and all of the decor and furnishings have been positioned with care and attention to detail.
To you personally, what is so special about Palazzo Muro Leccese?
You feel like you are in the countryside but you are actually just 200 metres from the centre of town. You can easily step out and go to the beautiful square where there’s an alfresco cafe, then you can go back to the privacy of the garden and pool. I’ve found that once people arrive, they mostly stay at the property and enjoy a really relaxing vacation there. It’s also special because it is like you are in two homes — one family can stay in one and another in the second — and you can have parties every night in different spaces. We’ve also done long-table dinners in the garden and it feels like you are in the countryside.
Muro Lecesse is also very friendly. One of our guests ended up having a cooking class to make orecchiette with the owner of the grocery store!