Entrepreneur Fouad Filali purchased La Fiermontina a 17th Century House in Lecce’s historic quarter after an evening stroll along the rutted, silvery cobblestones one moonlit evening but decided not to live in it. “‘The property felt too big for me, so I thought ‘why not a hotel?”
The half-Italian Filali grew up across multiple continents thanks to his Moroccan diplomat father and a mother who regaled her young son with true tales of his Pugliese grandmother Antonia Fiermonte, who settled among the Surrealists in Paris during the 1930s.
“I bought the crumbling house to reconnect with my heritage. The rest was an unexpected boon,’ says Filali
Lecce’s Baroque city center, known for its intimate warren of snaking lanes and soaring churches carved out of local limestone known as barocco Leccese, is a rare real estate opportunity. For all of Lecce’s cultural attractions and access to beaches on the iconic Adriatic coast there was nowhere decent and central to stay.
Local architect Antonio Annicchiarico, whose nearby home for the Hermès family was near completion, was the natural choice for this project. Filali hired the local architect because he wanted someone from Puglia that could create something modern yet entirely “Leccese”.
The result incorporates 16 unique private quarters featuring traditional pietra di Trani floors and the vaulted star-pinnacled ceilings seen in noble homes of the Salento region here in Italy’s southernmost region. Scattered throughout the interior are original art and furnishings from Filali’s personal collection including pieces by Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand and Tobia Scarpa.
Sculptures in the private olive garden, a Fernan Léger among them, were inherited from his grandmother for whom the hotel is named.