Front Runners September 2015: Puglia Perfected
Set amid the baroque structures of Puglia’s historic city of Lecce, La Fiermontina (lafiermontina.com) is a modern-day masseria that mirrors its storied surroundings. The 26-room hotel opened in June in a 17th-century estate within the city’s ancient quarter. It is the work of the native Pugliese architect Antonio Annicchiarico, who spent 10 years bringing to life such traditional elements as pietra di Trani stone floors and star-pinnacled ceilings while incorporating modern furnishings and textiles. Several of the guest rooms feature balconies overlooking the property’s olive-tree-lined swimming pool and sculpture garden. In the dining room, a refined, contemporary flair infuses such local delicacies as ciceri e tria with chickpeas and orecchiette with young turnip tops.