With the help of legendary French interior designer Jacques Grange, Francis Ford Coppola has transformed a 19th-century palazzo in his family’s Italian hometown into a Luxury Grand Hotel with romance and sophistication of the Belle Epoque.
While the hotel has only been open for a few weeks, the building’s painstaking restoration by French architect Jacques Grange was completed by last summer. Why? Well the majestic building played host to the wedding of Ford Coppola’s director daughter, Sofia, and her rocker husband Thomas Mars, so the town has already become accustomed to A-grade Hollywood glam.
The details and scale are impressive. With nine bedrooms (each with an Apple TV), an interior garden, a pool, a grand salon with a movie screen so you can watch The Godfather after your perfect, quintessentially Italian day, a private bar, a public restaurant, Cinecetta, and plenty more, the “summer palace,” as Grange describes it, is all fresh, country-style furniture offset by more lavish detailing including scenes painted onto walls, blue chevron flooring, bold wallpapers, patterned tiling and Tunisian-style ceilings inspired by Coppola’s heritage (his grandmother was Tunisian).
Reconstructed with Italian elegance, the interior is styled with tiled floors and hand painted fresco ceilings with a taste of Moroccan and Baroque flair, furnished with furniture and exotic tiles personally designed by Grange.
In the Palazzo’s large, welcoming kitchen, guests can experience firsthand the traditional cooking of Basilicata (also known as Lucania). For keen cooks, our local chefs give daily, hands-on classes demonstrating how to prepare typical regional dishes.
BESIDES being a filmmaker and a winemaker, Francis Ford Coppola has owned hotels and resorts since the 1980s. With his latest, Palazzo Margherita in Bernalda, Italy, he now owns five properties. His first, the Blancaneaux Lodge in Belize, was a result of his developing an affinity for the jungle, “as people do,” he said, while filming “Apocalypse Now” in the Philippines 35 years ago.
The latest, in the Basilicata region of Italy near the boot’s arch, was inspired by family. “This is where my father’s father, Agostino, came from before he immigrated to America,” he said. “So when I was about 21, working for Roger Corman, I came to Europe for the first time and took the ferry over the Adriatic to see what had become like a mythical place to me.”
The reality lived up to the myth. Bernalda’s local feel, its food and wine and the countryside have kept him coming back.
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