Parabita, Italy

Il Giardino Grande

Price per night from$232.07

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR216.75), via, using today’s exchange rate.


Narrative arches


Pearl of Parabita

A labour of love for two Apulian siblings, Il Giardino Grande is a made-over masseria deep in the hinterlands of Salento. Dating back to the 19th-century, this stone-washed palazzo was originally used as a summer home by an aristocratic Parabitian family, and now you can too… It’s flanked by palms and lush green gardens, a pin-drop oasis just an olive’s throw away from Gallipoli’s best beaches. Inside, original features like local stone, symmetrical arches and vaulted ceilings are modernised by cool-and-colourful custom furniture and upcycled mid-century pieces. Curl up with a coffee in the chapel-turned-reading-room, stroll the colonnades of the ornamental garden, or put la dolce far niente (essentially, doing sweet nothing) into practice, slurping spritzes from a poolside lounger. 


Smith Extra

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A bottle of local red wine


Photos Il Giardino Grande facilities

Need to know


Seven, including three suites.


11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.


Double rooms from £201.70 (€238), including tax at 10 per cent.

More details

Rates a continental buffet breakfast.


The hotel’s name refers to a novel written in the house by a local writer, the plot of which is suspiciously similar to Milanese writer Alessandro Manzoni’s romanzo storico The Betrothed. It seems old Manzoni may have been one step ahead of Picasso when he said ‘good artists copy; great artists steal.’

Hotel closed

In 2023, the hotel is open from the end of April to the end of October.

At the hotel

Gardens, laundry (at a charge), free WiFi throughout. In rooms: TV, minibar, free bottled water, and Essentia Puglia bath products.

Our favourite rooms

All rooms are individually decorated, each with their own distinct character, though it’s Fico that steals our heart with its traditional sloped cane ceiling, custom furnishings and freestanding Antonio Lupi bath tub.


You’ll find the pool just outside the main house, surrounded by loungers, young olive trees and a pretty, poolside pergola for mid-afternoon aperitivi.


There’s no spa, but a local massage therapist can be arranged for in-room treatments, on request.

Packing tips

Oversized sunnies and a classic costume for afternoon dips in the pool. Save some space in your suitcase for some Apulian ceramics and a bottle or two of Salento’s top-tier extra-virgin.


Unfortunately, Il Giardino Grande is not suitable for those with mobility issues.


Petite pups up to 10 kilogrammes are welcome in the Melograno Room at no extra charge. See more pet-friendly hotels in Parabita.


Only over-12s are welcome.

Sustainability efforts

Il Giardino Grande's energy is produced via solar panels, water is recycled and single-use plastics are kept to a minimum.

Food and Drink

Photos Il Giardino Grande food and drink

Top Table

Make a beeline for the pool bar pergola for an Aperol spritz sundowner, Salento style.

Dress Code

Keep it casual with airy cover-ups, straw hats and a generous layer of SPF30.

Hotel restaurant

There’s no restaurant, but if you’re feeling peckish, the Bar by the Pool can rustle-up light bites like paninis, salads, salumi and cheeses.

Hotel bar

Set beneath a shaded seating area, the Bar by the Pool is a laidback alfresco spot where you can enjoy your morning cappuccino, or come afternoon, a chilled glass of local wine. 

Last orders

The Bar by the Pool is open from 10am to 7pm.


Photos Il Giardino Grande location
Il Giardino Grande
Strada Vicinale Tammali Contrada Boggi

You’ll find Il Giardino Grande in a rural pocket of Puglia’s Salento peninsula, a stone’s throw from the charming old towns of Parabita and Matino and a short bike ride to Gallipoli’s best beaches.


Brindisi Airport is closest to the hotel, just one hour away by car. Transfers can be arranged for €150 each way. Alternatively, Bari’s Karol Wojtyla hub is a two-hour drive from the hotel. From here, transfers will set you back €250.


Lecce Railway station is around a 40-minute drive from the hotel with direct links to Bari, Rome, Milan, Bologna, Venice, and Turin. Il Giardino Grande can arrange transfers from here for €100 one way.


Public transport is notoriously slow at this end of the boot, so wheels will allow you to speed things up when day-tripping, and with a cluster of picturesque Puglian towns to choose from in the area, you won’t want to miss out. There’s a covered carpark 100 metres from the hotel, which is free for guests, and two electric charging stations, too.

Worth getting out of bed for

Puglia’s sun-kissed peninsula has more than its fair share of pretty little towns, and Il Giardino Grande is perfectly placed to explore them. Parabita and Matino are closest, where you can watch slow, southern life unfold from your perch outside the local cafè. Gallipoli and its many beaches are a 10-minute drive from the hotel, too; book a sun-bed on Baia Verde or grab a gelato for a stroll around the centro storico. The hotel can arrange bikes to borrow should you fancy riding there (through old country roads, no less) instead. Next, swing by Nardò, where Baroque arches, ornate balconies, neoclassical colonnades and Rococo portals crowd round the central piazza. Here, you’ll find Chiesa di San Trifone, a 19th-century church, built in gratitude to the titular martyr, revered for saving the peninsula from a plague of – wait for it – caterpillars. Hey, not all heroes wear capes… And then there’s Chiesa di San Domenico, Nardò’s architectural jewel which is adorned, inside and out, with Baroque decoration. And, if you like that, you’ll love Lecce, the ‘Florence of the South’, for its stupefying architectural medley of honey-hued churches and dizzying columns. A stop at Basilica di Santa Croce will exceed your cherub quota for the year, while a sampling of the local delicacies like pasticciotto Leccese – a small pastry filled with ricotta or egg custard – will make a generous contribution to your weekly calorie quota, too. The wider province has a rugged kind of beauty, full of wild beaches, turquoise waters and acres of olive trees. Head to Porto Selvaggio to catch a glimpse of it in full swing; this protected oasis consists of a coastal enclave where you can bathe in crystal-clear waters (often in total privacy), miles of pinewood parkland sprinkled with archeological ruins, three ancient towers (Torre dell’Alto, Torre dell’Inserraglio, Torre Uluzzo), and well-preserved fortified farms.

Local restaurants

For romantic, atmospheric evenings, Il Contenitore is just the ticket. This tiny Parabita trattoria is tucked away in a hidden piazza with moonlit, alfresco seating and hearty Salentini cuisine. Try the risotto with gorgonzola, saffron sauce, purple cabbage and nuts, or the steamed cod with Jerusalem artichoke and turmeric mayonnaise. You’ll find Trattoria La Puritate, meanwhile, overlooking Gallipoli’s Spiaggia della purità; it’s loved by locals for its fresh-off-the-boat seafood. Start with the ‘gulf of Gallipoli’: raw appetisers of tuna tartare, seared shrimp and cuttlefish fillets with a trio of cooked bites like octopus meatballs, small squids in balsamic vinegar, and breaded mussels – lead with the linguine alla Puritate (served with datterini tomatoes, julienne-cut zucchini from the garden and oven-seared prawns), and finish with a hazelnut spumone, a moulded ice-cream layered with different flavours and filled with almonds, fruit and caramel.


Local cafés

Nardó’s Caffé Parisi is the place to go for local delicacies, from almonds-and-chocolate-stuffed sfogliatelle di canosa to piping-hot, creamy pasticciotti or sugar-dusted bocconotti tartlets. This elegant Parisian-style, hang-out has been doing its thing for over 100 years, so you can bet whatever you order will be tippy-top tier, not least the gelato which deserves special mention.

Local bars

Foscolo cocktail bar is shaking (and stirring) up a riot along the cobbled alleys of sleepy Matino, where head mixologist Giancarlo wins hearts and tastebuds with his homemade syrups and extracts. Further out, the coast is littered with beach clubs but Solatio is a particular highlight, with a cool, canvas-shaded deck, lovely local wines and excellent cocktails.


Photos Il Giardino Grande reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this family-owned hotel in pretty Parabita and unpacked their artisanal ceramics and olive oil so fresh you could almost drink it straight, a full account of their Salento-style break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Il Giardino Garande in Puglia

When 19th-century Milanese writer Manzoni wrote the novel The Betrothed, he may have taken (rather liberal) inspiration from an Apulian writer (naughty); but Salento’s countryside hideaway Il Giardino Grande aims to right this wrong, paying tribute to this lesser-known scribe, who, while forgotten by history, must have enjoyed some rather enviable summers writing away in this 19th-century stone-washed Masseria. Now, thanks to a local brother and sister, who have nursed this derelict palazzo back to (very rude) health, you can too. You could air out your literary leanings, but – lest they get lost to time – instead, we’d suggest days spent meditating in the chapel-turned-reading-room, strolling the colonnades of the ornamental garden, topping up your tan in the sun-dappled courtyard or enjoying life horizontally from the comfort of your poolside lounger. And, when the sun is out, retire to one of the hotel’s charming bedrooms, where local stone, symmetrical arches and vaulted ceilings are modernised by colourful accents, upcycled mid-century pieces and beds topped with super-soft Simmons mattresses – to borrow a phrase (much like Manzoni), it’s all set for a fairy-tale ending. 

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Price per night from $232.07