Have you heard the buzz? A new castle hotel in Italy is nabbing the headlines and inspiring serious wanderlust. Situated in Puglia in the southern tip of Italy, Castello di Ugento is a 17th century castle that’s been in the d’Amore family for almost four centuries. Left derelict and empty for decades, the castle underwent a four-year, €10 million-restoration project and reopened in October.
Now, Castello di Ugento has been reborn as a cultural hub and a sought-after destination for savvy, cultured travelers seeking an art and food fix. After all, the castle is home to both an impressive art collection and the Puglia Culinary Centre, overseen by star chef Odette Fada. (Considered one of the best Italian international chefs, Fada has appeared on the likes of Top Chef Masters.) This is an exclusive partnership with the Culinary Institute of America, and the only such collaboration outside of the U.S. Classes can be fully customized and cover Italian cuisine and wine pairings. Underground, the atmospheric 500-year-old cistern now houses a wine cellar where tastings take place.
There are only nine rooms and suites, decorated with a mix of antiques, bespoke walnut armoires and contemporary pieces from leading Italian designers like Cassina, Poltrona Frau, Minotti, Ceccotti and B&B Italia. The restaurant Il Tempo Nuovo showcases fruit and vegetables from the kitchen garden, also planted with medicinal herbs.
Castello di Ugento could be an Instagrammer’s dream: there are meticulously restored frescoes, aromatic walled gardens and a museum wing hosting temporary art exhibitions.