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Why Puglia’s palazzi hotels are perfect for a post-lockdown holiday

With its long summers and even longer coastlines, Puglia offers the perfect antidote to weeks of lockdown under Fair Albion’s grey skies. The many glitterati seduced by this area in recent years has transformed the once stout and sensible heel of Italy into a chic and sexy stiletto.

Reflecting its new look, the latest hotel trends here breathe contemporary style into historic palazzi – stately residences from the heyday of Apulian splendour.

To escape the holiday crowds, head down to Gagliano del Capo, just a pebble’s throw from the cape that divides the Adriatic and Ionian seas. From the headland, on a clear day, you can see the little Greek island of Othonoi and the Albanian coast. Gagliano is well off the tourist radar – an indolent place to laze in the adagio rhythms of provincial Italian life.

The grandest building in town, Palazzo Daniele, opened to visitors last year, though from the moment you knock at its monumental doors (where any form of a hotel sign is conspicuous in its absence), you’ll feel less like a tourist and more like a guest of the owner. Francesco Petrucci – a Gatsby-like figure who lives in a wing of the palace, “among the whisperings and the champagne” – inherited this imposing porticoed pile from his ancestors, the patrician Daniele family. Built at the end of the Risorgimento – the revolutionary period so poignantly evoked in Lampedusa’s novel (and Visconti’s film) The Leopard – the place has a wistful nobility;…

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