We went on an excursion to Bernalda to see Palazzo Margherita, the estate that director Francis Ford Coppola bought in his ancestral village and restored to be a luxury hotel. According to Tonio, who was involved in the three-year restoration, no expense was spared, from the Murano glass chandeliers to the special movie screening room stocked with Italian classics. It opened in 2011 as the site of his daughter Sophia Coppola’s wedding.
The Cinecitta bar downstairs, named after the legendary Roman movie studio, is decorated with photos of both Italian movie stars and American actors featured in Coppola films, including the Godfather series where he made his mark. My favorite was Robert DeNiro from his Godfather II days.
We were not allowed to take photos as they showed us around, but here are some I took in 2015 when Ben and I stayed there as an anniversary splurge.
On a sad note, there was a small framed photo of Coppola with the late Anthony Bourdain, taken during the recent filming of Bourdain’s show about Puglia.