by Samantha Brooks, photography by Chiara Cochi
"A vacation villa in southeastern Italy’s Salentina Peninsula, the “heel” of the country, now offers more room for guests – and the same distinguished décor.
Masseria Lamacoppa was not always the grand getaway that it is today. The architect Filippo Mondadori clearly recalls when his father, the late Leonardo Mondadori, bought the 17th-century manor house, which sits on 160 acres in southeastern Italy’s Puglian countryside. “At the time, a little more than 25 years ago, the region was relatively unheard of and everyone thought he was crazy,” says Mondadori. “The home had been abandoned for 80 years and was standing still in time with no electricity or water. I remember walking into what is now the living room and standing in grass that was 6 feet high.” But Leonardo had a vision, and so he set about remaking the neglected property as a family gathering spot – a low-key getaway with polished concrete floors and walls of stone from a local quarry. Six years into the project, he put in a swimming pool. He spent three months deciding on just the right spot for it – the middle of a field just beyond the main house - and the deliberation paid off.[...]
Today success belongs to Masseria Lamacoppa. Mondadori and his brother, Francesco, inherited the estate nearly a decade ago, then spent five years refurbishing it and filling it with many of the European and Moroccan antiques and heirlooms the family had collected over the years. Though they still find themselves in residence on occasion [...], they began several years back making the property available as a villa rental. And just this past summer, the compound received another upgrade: a 1,700-square-foot, three-bedroom guesthouse, located adjacent to the main structure, created by Mondadori himself.
For these new guest quarters, Mondadori renovated a stone structure next to the main house that had long remained vacant. “Layouts of homes in this area tend to be unusual, with room upon room flowing into each other – sort of like Versailles,” he jokes. “We wanted another space for guests that was more private, so we outfitted it with three bedrooms, a living room, and a kitchen. It’s a traditional red-façade home inspired by the 19th-century casinos in southern Italy.” Inside, the dwelling boasts a bright color palette, with reds, oranges, and yellows, and the same calibre of antiques – mostly from India and Morocco – that adorn the 10,700-square-foot, six-bedroom main house.
Guests travel down a long but otherwise unassuming private drive to reach the sprawling estate, which is nestled amid olive groves some 15 minutes west of the Adriatic Sea, not far from the baroque town of Ostuni."
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