Built in 1892 in Bernalda by the Margherita family, is a true 19th century palazzo. The town was the birthplace and home to Agostino Coppola, Francis Ford Coppola’s grandfather, who always referred to it affectionately as “Bernalda bella.” Francis purchased the Palazzo in 2004 with the desire to transform it into a small, luxurious hotel, believing it was time to introduce visitors to this stunning and still undiscovered region.
The surrounding countryside, which was settled by the Greeks before the Roman era, is part of the Hellenic Magna Graecia—the coastal areas of Southern Italy—where the thriving local agriculture produces sumptuous fruits and vegetables, as well as the Aglianico grapes used to make wines of the same name. Nestled between the ancient cities of Metapontum and Matera, the area is rich with history, including haunting primordial cave dwellings called Sassi di Matera (meaning “stones of Matera”), a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Palazzo Margherita is situated in Bernalda, a small hilltop town near the Ionian Sea in the Basilicata region of Southern Italy. Located in the province of Matera, which is famous for its ancient cave dwellings, historic houses and unspoiled villages, Bernalda is relatively unknown to tourists. It is just twenty minutes from numerous pristine, white-sand beaches; one can choose between quiet seclusion or beach-club action and shoreside tavernas. While the nearby region of Puglia has become popular for sightseeing, Bernalda is one of a few beautiful towns where the food and wine have remained authentic and untouched by mass tourism. The townspeople welcome visitors with a genuine hospitality that makes every guest feel like a local.
The Palazzo has been completely restored by Francis Coppola and acclaimed French designer Jacques Grange, creating a luxurious, authentically Italian experience that ushers guests into a private world of palatial comfort, surrounded by gardens, courtyard and swimming pool, all just steps from a small, bustling town in which the visitor is a friend and neighbor rather than a tourist.
Francis wanted the Palazzo to become a place that his children would want to visit again and again, and therefore invited the whole family to contribute ideas to the design. The interior is styled with tiled floors as well as Moroccan and Baroque-inspired hand-painted fresco ceilings. Grange designed some of the exotic tiles and furniture, including one of the most beautiful suites, which is in a Tunisian style to honor Francis Coppola’s Tunisian-born grandmother. All of the floors in the Palazzo have been restored from the original marble.
The opulent salon, inspired by the films of the great Italian director Luchino Visconti, is during the day a place for reading, playing cards, enjoying afternoon tea and drinks; at night, it becomes a cinema, equipped with professional-quality sound and projection, and a vast database of movies, including Francis’s personally-curated collection of Italian classics.
Pool & Garden
Hidden at the far end of the gardens, our swimming pool is a generously proportioned 10 metres by 5 metres and intended for family enjoyment, with bathrooms, showers, cabines for changing, and full bar and food service. Here, guests can take pleasure in a quintessentially Roman experience: swimming in a private pool within a walled garden in the heart of an Italian town.
One of the Palazzo’s most magical features is its large private garden, fully enclosed and maintained with a focus on historic preservation. Built around a baroque fountain, the garden extends through a web of secret pathways, natural arbours, allées of fruit trees and fertile beds of herbs, citrus trees and organic vegetables, all of which supply our kitchen. For guests, the garden is a place to stroll and relax, and seasonally enjoy meals throughout the day and evening.
In the Palazzo’s large, welcoming kitchen, only our guests can experience firsthand the traditional cooking of Basilicata (also known as Lucania). For keen cooks, our local chef provide hands-on classes demonstrating how to prepare typical regional dishes.
At the front of the Palazzo, the Cinecittà Bar is a traditional café and pizzeria that spills out onto Bernalda’s main street and looks onto the town square. It is a perfect spot for people-watching, mingling with the local life and sipping our delicious Italian coffee, which is all supplied by Illy. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
The Family Bar is an intimate private bar and dining room where only our hotel guests can enjoy coffee or meals throughout the day, and pre-dinner cocktails and appetizers in the evenings.
The Pool Bar is located in our garden and offers a selection of wine, cocktails and other beverages to enjoy while relaxing in the sun. Food from our main kitchen can also be ordered from here and delivered poolside.
Travelwizard.com Guests Receive:
- Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
- Daily full breakfast, for up to two in room guests
- $100 USD Resort or Hotel credit, to be utilized during stay
- (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
- Early check-in/late check-out
- subject to availability