Entrepreneur Fouad Filali impulsively purchased La Fiermontina, a 17th century house in Lecce’s historic quarter, after an evening stroll along its rutted, silvery cobblestones 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 with his Moroccan diplomat father and a mother who regaled her young son with tales of his Pugliese grandmother Antonia Fiermonte, who eventually 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, known for its intimate warren of snaking lanes and soaring churches carved out of Leccese limestone, has cultural attractions and easy access to beaches along the iconic Adriatic coast but there aren’t many central places to stay.
Architect Antonio Annicchiarico, who was completing a home nearby for the Hermès family, was the natural choice for this project. Filali said he hired Annicchiarico because he wanted someone from Puglia that could create something modern yet entirely “Leccese”.
The restoration includes 16 unique private quarters featuring traditional pietra di Trani floors and vaulted star-pinnacled ceilings typically seen in noble homes in the Salento region. Scattered throughout the interiors 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. The property also has a private pool and a small restaurant that offers a modern, light take on traditional Pugliese cuisine.
La Fiermontina is a modern-day masseria that mirrors its storied surroundings. This private retreat would make for a memorable holiday in Puglia.