Stop over at Francis Ford Coppola’s Palazzo Margherita in the Southern Italian region of Basilicata for a welcoming stay at the director’s stunning mountain mansion
Celebrity-owned or run hotels are no longer a rare curiosity. Seminal director Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather), for example, already owns several resorts, yet enjoys far more personal ties to his latest outing, the hotel Palazzo Margherita in Bernalda: Before emigrating to America, his own grandfather Agostina had lived in this Italian mountain village and continued to extol “Bernalda bella’s” virtues for the rest of his live.
Decades later, Coppola himself paid the place a visit and decided it was high time to let the rest of the world know about this hidden gem. And when he bought the Palazzo Margherita, his entire family lent a hand in turning the mansion into a beautiful hotel – and holiday refuge for the extended Coppola clan. After all, daughter Sofia (a successful film director in her own right) chose the location for her own wedding last year. As a result, the Palazzo’s (paying) guests enjoy the elusive feel of staying with a hospitable – and famous – family. Together with French architect Jacques Grance, both Sofia and her brother Roman designed “their” own rooms, dotted with fragile frescos (Sofia) and Art Deco touches (Roman) respectively, while Coppola himself turned the largest room, Suite 9, into a homage to his Tunisian grandmother, bought an extra piece of land for the pool of his dreams and also had a say in selecting the hotel’s colour scheme and tiles.
According to the mansion’s chefs, Filomela and Enza, the director’s influence extended all the way into the kitchen: Besides regional specialties they also serve up Coppola’s own “New York Mafia” dish – chicken with mushrooms and salsiccia secca.