Palazzo San Giovanni is located in the center of Morciano di Leuca. It is not known precisely when the first housing unit was built, but several architectural features let suppose that it dates back to XVII century.
It was one of the several buildings orbiting around the famous Convento dei Carmelitani that looked on to Piazza San Giovanni. The Convento was an important cultural center during the Renaissance, a real reference point for all South Salento
Under the building, as well as under the main square and the alleys all around, a lot of very old “trappeti” - subterranean olive oil mills - still survive. These are real masterpieces of popular art, suggestive constructions of stone and of essential architecture (1).
One of these “trappeti” is visible under the court, through a grid close to the stairs.
Inside the building, at the first floor, a latin epigraph dated 1786 that tells about a change of ownership, is a certain evidence of its old history. The new owner Giovanni Serafini Sauli found the place already very old and crumbling. Therefore, he made an elegant renovation and “removed all bushes and undergrowth from the fields that were part of property”.
Time passed by and every age left its signs. In 2013, with approval of the Superintendence of the Fine Arts of Lecce, the building was completly renovated to preserve all ancient and salentine architectural features like tuff ceilings, big fireplaces in leccese stone, barrel and star vaults (like the beautiful one you can admire in the breakfast room).
(1) Cesare Daquino, Morciano di Leuca, Capone Editore, 1988, pag 22.