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All reviews francis ford coppola cooking class pizza the kitchen screening room beautiful setting santa maria novella food and wine in house open to the public three days a special place hidden gem other guests glass of wine small city cinema experience
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Reviewed 27 September 2017

Bernalda is a quiet hilltop town dating from the 15th century. (When looking at a map of Italy, it is located at the instep of the "boot.") And this town holds one of the most special hotels I have ever set foot in!

Palazzo Margherita is a beautiful and intimate nine-room villa, owned by the famed film director, Francis Ford Coppola. Walking through the lavish gardens, lounging by the luxurious pool, sleeping in our gorgeous suite, bathing with Santa Maria Novella bath products (ahhh!!), and enjoying the soft colours and elegant décor – it was almost too much to handle…

…but, what really put the entire experience over the top was our pizza-making cooking class with the pizza master himself, Mimmo. We were fascinated, and surprised, to see the work it takes to create the perfect pizza. Mimmo swore by using his five-year old yeast! Don't ask. I have no idea how to explain it. All I can say is that it was the best pizza we have ever had.

After the lesson, our steaming hot pizzas were sent up to the private screening room along with a bottle of wine. Movie night! Here you can choose a movie from Francis Ford Coppola's favourite movie list. There are 300! We chose Tucker… and there we were, just the two of us eating our pizza while watching the young, and gorgeous, Jeff Bridges and Christian Slater on the big screen. What a glorious setting. We will never ever forget our stay.

Thank you for being so perfect!

  • Stayed: September 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank CharleyToronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 August 2017

My husband and I stayed at Palazzo Margherita for four nights in July. The facilities are lovely and the staff could not be more gracious and welcoming. In fact, as gorgeous as the property is, I would say the staff is the best thing about this hotel. Everyone calls you by name and treats you as if you were a guest in their home. One day, we mentioned that we were planning to drive to Matera, and they took it upon themselves to check the roads, as there had been a storm the night before. They found out a tree had fallen and blocked the road you would typically take, so they printed out alternate driving instructions for us before we left. Any time you leave for the day, they give you bottles of water as a "parting gift" and stand outside of the property's front door to see you off--I found those small gestures so thoughtful.

The property itself has been impeccably restored and decorated. We stayed in Garden Room 3, which is on the ground floor and borders the courtyard. The courtyard has tables for snacking or dining, but we never felt that we didn't have enough privacy. The room itself is spacious, with a very cool brick ceiling, stone floors, and a comfortable bed with beautiful sheets. The bathroom is also spacious, has a separate bath tub and shower, and, most importantly, is stocked with full-sized Santa Maria Novella products, which you are encouraged to keep. That is a really cool perk that I've never experienced in a hotel, even a super-luxurious one. Housekeeping also places a dish of roasted and cracked almonds and a pitcher of lemon water each day; another simple and lovely touch.

Included in the rate was a late-afternoon pasta-making class, which was really nice (and obviates the need to buy a full dinner that night!). Breakfast, also included in the rate, can be had in-room or in the communal kitchen; we ate in the kitchen every morning and had incredible grilled bread with fresh ricotta, lots of fresh fruits, and typical cakes, meats, and cheeses. The spread of food was really beautiful. The baking is done in-house; their croissants rival some of the best in Paris! We ate dinner here every night (not usually our style to eat exclusively at the hotel, but the food was really excellent and the prices were reasonable), either in the courtyard (only for guests) or in the bar, which is also open to the public. The pizza was fantastic, as was the pasta (homemade), and really everything we ordered.

The hotel has very few rooms, so it never feels crowded. We never had trouble getting a spot at the pool; sometimes, we were the only ones there. The pool is not heated but the bottom is painted black, which looks really cool and heats it naturally; the temperature was always perfect. There is a very nice gelato place next-door to the palazzo, but I felt that Bernalda is rather sleepy and did not have much to offer otherwise. There is a decent beach a 20-minute drive away, but the beaches of Puglia are far superior. The town of Matera is an easy drive and is a must-see. The sassi are very cool, and the surrounding town actually has a lot of really nice bars, restaurants, and shops.

This was one of my bucket-list hotels and I'm so glad we visited. Should we find ourselves in or near Basilicata again, we will stay here without hesitation.

  • Stayed: July 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
1  Thank gena c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 July 2017 via mobile

My husband and I wanted to spend two nights in a special place for my birthday. We chose Palazzo Margherita for it's closeness to Matera and to get a taste of a genuine Italian no frills town.
We were greeted by Isabella who led us through the property and told us all about it She was lovely.
We experienced the best food in a long time. The kitchen is accessible to guests and the staff was so welcoming and friendly we instantly felt at home. Great breakfast and a great birthday dinner I shall remember forever in a gazebo under a canopy of bougainvillea.
Roberto the restaurant manager was a pleasure to talk to as he described thoroughly how some dishes were prepared.
Do stay there if you go to Matera and I am sure you will enjoy it as we did!
Beautiful garden and a lovely pool too to chill after sightseeing.
A big living room that becomes a screening room upon request with a library of over 100 movies selected by Mr Coppola himself.
No flaws. All was perfect!

Stayed: July 2017, travelled as a couple
2  Thank millyandolly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 July 2017

We stayed here in order to see Basilicata, Matera, Craco, etc. and were wow'd with the staff, property, and food.

The place isn't cheap, but it's not often you get to stay in a palazzo so we gave it a shot. What's interesting about the price isn't how much it costs in an absolute sense, but relative to the rest of the area it's remarkably expensive. Sure, Matera has some pricey places, but Puglia/Basilicata is generally much cheaper than this, so that's worth keeping in mind. That said, two key points:

1) The staff is incredible. In the first 5 minutes they will know you by name and do their very best to make sure you have a great time. And not just by selling you on expensive guides etc. I mean making sure you have a newspaper if you want it, waving goodbye when you leave, stopping by you at the pool and offering a water, etc. Don't want a Matera guide? No problem, they will print you the best directions, prepare a map with a recommended route, etc.

2) The food in the restaurant is excellent and not too expensive. Everything we had there was topnotch, some of the best food we had in southern Italy was here.

The property isn't as large as it seems, so keep that in mind. You can walk around it, but it's about a 5 minute walk. It's really well maintained and a super nice place to sit, but don't expect to meander or get lost exploring the palazzo. The pool is very nice and it's an amazing place to sleep and read. It's small though so it's more about refreshment than swimming.

As for my "just one issue" ... it's Bernalda. This town does not have a lot to offer. It's small, with no shopping (even staples are hard to come by), and very limited food options. So you can walk around Bernalda, but there really isn't anything there to see or to do. Other towns, ruins, the beach etc, are just 20 minutes or so away, but you need a car and you'll need to use it a lot.

Our room was very nice. Super, super well done and excellently maintained. It was just beautiful. I only saw our room, but I'm sure they are all incredibly cool, especially the ones with original tiles, etc.

One minor annoyance was that the beach club was not included. The hotel mentioned multiple times that they invite you to be their guest at a nearby lido. That seems logical -- they don't have a beach so they partnered with a nearby lido. They give you a card you bring to the lido, which confirms the invitation feeling. But then when we checked out, we got a bill for the lido! This wasn't a huge deal, but the beach club wasn't too nice and if we were paying we probably would have gone to another beach, as the beaches get nicer as you go further west.

So five stars for food and staff, but I really have to take away a star for Bernalda. I realize that the town isn't the hotel's fault, but it does seem quite out of place in the town leaving you with little to do (except drive away) if you venture outside of the palazzo.

  • Stayed: July 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank 92salc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 June 2017 via mobile

Rooms lovely, staff very pleasant and try to be helpful. Property is really not outstanding and not good value. Location is terrible, nothing in Bernalda and not much to do nearby. If you want to go to Matera, stay in Matera - fantastic and lively town with so much to offer, great sights, great food and very friendly people. Craco is probably worth visiting from Bernalda but the hotel couldn't find an English speaking guide.

Stayed: June 2017, travelled as a couple
10  Thank Tony B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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