At a Glance
This luxurious, discrete urban resort in Lecce is the labor of love of Giacomo Fiermonte and a tribute to his late Pugliese grandmother and great uncle.
- The impressive contemporary art collection
- The spacious, elegant and luxurious rooms and bathrooms
- The manicured garden with swimming pool – a rarity for boutique city hotels
The passion project of Paris-born siblings Giacomo and Antonia Fiermonte, La Fiermontina is a stunning 16-room resort set in a 17th-century private home. Located in the heart of Lecce, a town known for its Baroque architecture and rich historical past (it is often referred to as the Florence of the South), the property is one of Puglia’s most spectacular.
In the early 20th century, owner Giacomo and General Manager Antonia, who are French and Moroccan, were lured by their Italian roots to return to their grandmother’s homeland. In the early 1930s, Antonia Fiermonte moved from her native Puglia to Paris, where she joined the storied art scene there. After marrying a French sculptor and leaving him for his colleague, her neighbor and close friend, Antonia passed away in her early 40s. She lived on through her husband and ex-husband, both of whom eternalized their beloved muse through art. Today, pieces by Antonia’s husband comprise the art collection at the hotel along with other artwork from the family collection including pieces by Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand, Tobia Scarpa and Fernand Léger.
In 2000, when Giacomo was originally searching for a personal residence, he stumbled upon a 17th-century home and was inspired to restore it and create a hotel in tribute to his beloved grandmother and great uncle. For this, he brought in renowned Pugliese architect Antonio Annicchiarico, who has done work for Oscar-winning film director Roberto Benigni and the Hermés family, as well as French design firm Charles-Phillipe and Christophe. During an immaculate ten-year restoration, the building was transformed into a chic and authentically Leccese estate with the feel of a country home just outside the city center.
The restoration saved as many of the building’s original details as was possible and the hotel features traditional walls of pietra leccesse (creamy limestone) and floors of pietra di Trani (local carbonate rock). Each of the 20 guest rooms has a unique layout; some have arched star pinnacle ceilings and fireplaces, but all mix Italian furniture, custom textiles, European antiques and original artwork and are designed simply in order to highlight the original details. En-suite bathrooms are spacious with double vanities, and some boast freestanding tubs. For maximum privacy, the four suites in a separate building from the main house are ideal.
With its original stone features, the library offers a quiet and comfortable place for relaxing. La Fiermontina’s full-service restaurant offers all-day dining, and guests can choose to dine al fresco among the olive trees or under the traditional stone barrel vaulted ceiling in the dining room. The food is a modern, light take on traditional Pugliese cuisine and features locally sourced ingredients. Bar Enzo is dedicated to the memory of Antonia’s brother, Enzo Fiermonte, who was a champion boxer, actor and married to American socialite Lady Astor.
The grounds include a manicured sculpture garden with an olive tree–lined walkway and a swimming pool, the perfect place for a late afternoon siesta in the summer months. There is a pampering spa on property that offers such treatments as deep-tissue massages. The hotel can also arrange private dinner in its art collection, M.A.M.A museum, which is located next door.
Who Should Stay
Couples or families with well-behaved kids looking for a high-end, resort-like oasis located a short walk from Lecce. It is also perfect for art and boutique hotel lovers.
Written by Rose Allen