Palazzo Bozzi Corso, Lecce, Italy

Palazzo Bozzi Corso, Lecce, Italy

Set in
Lecce
, Puglia‘s
baroque city, the art-filled Palazzo Bozzi Corso hotel offers
South Italian grandeur fit for modern royalty.

Nicknamed “the
Florence
of the south”, Lecce was once besotted by baroque
architecture, and this legacy endures inside the city’s storied
walls. Guests who have come in search of South Italian grandeur
will have their desires met on entering Palazzo Bozzi Corso, an
18th-century palazzo composed of baroque stonework in marvellous
proportions. Originally the home of a Corsican marquis (who made
his money in olive oil), this regal relic has today been
transformed by Antonia Filali and her brother Giacomo-Fouad, of La
Fiermontina hotel group, into a homestay fit for modern
royalty.

Could-be earls and demanding duchesses still in need of some
convincing should pass through the palm-strewn, candlelit courtyard
en route to dinner where a peaceful ambience and a museum-worthy
modern art collection are certain to sway favour.

Rooms

This 10-suite mansion, comprised of two Classic Suites, four
Aristocratic Suites and four Wellness Suites will appeal to anyone
with an appreciation for art (there’s a sketchbook’s worth of
Léger’s drawings displayed in one suite alone), neck-achingly high
ceilings and XXL beds. Our favourite rooms include the Blue Room,
with its in-room sauna facilities and cobalt-hued stucco walls, and
the Lady Astor Suite – ornate ceilings, polished parquet floors and
a gargantuan smart television are a welcomed reprieve after a day
of hitting the baroque pavements. Netflix and chill in a palazzo
has a certain de rigueur we think. Other notable amenities include
tea and coffee facilities, a complimentary mini bar and power
shower.

What’s for breakfast?

Rates include a buffet breakfast served in the sophisticated
surrounds of the gaming room. Expect freshly baked bread and
pastries, three types of cheese, local jams and honey plus a
selection of fresh fruit, all of which is immaculately presented on
an ornate tray that runs alongside your table. Build on the hotel’s
basic breakfast spread with an order of eggs any style, a macchiato
espresso and a tall glass of fresh orange juice. Up the stakes
again with regional bites including pasticciotto (a short-crust
pastry stuffed with custard and baked in the oven) or la frisa
salentina (a handmade bread baked twice) topped with tomatoes and
olive oil.

How about lunch and dinner?

Aside from Murano-glass bowls filled to the brim with hard
candies (they’re laid on every available surface) and a caddy of
cakes to nibble on between meals, there isn’t exactly a robust
culinary offering at Palazzo Bozzi Corso, meaning lunch is better
sought elsewhere. Though there is no official dining room, guests
can enjoy an intimate supper, available three nights a week, in the
library. Served at 8pm, the set dinner menu, prepared by Chef Maria
Carla Pennetta, focuses on moreish plates and could include
anything from aubergine parmigiana to farm-fresh caciocavallo
followed by cream-laced profiteroles – wine pairings are also
available. With French-style parquet floors and long-stemmed silver
candelabra dominating the tables, the atmosphere is suitably suave
too.

Is there a bar?

From 7.30am to 11pm, you can mix yourself a drink at the honesty
bar, located on the ground level of the hotel. The champagne bar on
the first floor is (wo)manned for special events. Don your Gucci
glad rags and perch by the chic all-glass bar unit, backed by a
large abstract painting by Jacques Zwobada. If a mixologist is not
on duty, take a short stroll to Bar Enzo in
La Fiermontina
hotel, where the barmen serve sophisticated
cocktails and seasonal wines.

Amenities

There isn’t a pool at the palazzo, but guests are welcome to use
the outdoor pool at sister property La Fiermontina. Our advice: nab
a sun lounger shaded by olive trees.

Things I should know

Your car won’t be parked directly on the premises but held at La
Fiermontina, a five-minute walk away.

Within a short walk I can find…

Admire the lavishly decorated facades of Lecce’s baroque
buildings, taking a peep inside highlights such as the Basilica di
Santa Croce and Chiesa di Santa Chiara. For something more
contemporary, visit MAMA (Museo di Arte Moderna Antonia), which is
open to hotel residents only.