I'm not form Salento or Apulia. My family has lived in the Northern Italy for generations. No grandparents or relatives in this amazing land where I came for a holiday and I never abandoned. My job was completely different, but Salento changed my life.
My name is Paola and, until recently, I worked as an executive secretary in Milan at Corriere della Sera, the main Italian newspaper.
In the summer of 2009, I discovered the Salento region during a short and unplanned vacation. After that week, nothing has been like before.
Salento showed me its colors, nature, flavours, people, the way of living and, above all, its opportunities. I slowly grew the idea of a change, to create something there, my own place for turists. For a long time it was only an idea and nothing more, but it embodied for me the freedom from the daily routine.
With curiosity, I began to search the web for possible solutions among old masserie and crumbling pajare. Then, it was a crescendo of new contacts and travels to the Capo di Leuca, often in a day and with flights at inconvenient hours.
In January 2012, during one of those daily travels south, I found what I was looking for: it was an ancient palazzo, with barrel and star vaults and fireplaces in leccese stone. From an architectural point of view it was ideal as a touristic facility, but needed massive renovation works. I had found my place, there or nowhere else. The idea had become a passion, I wished to change my life.
Everybody considered me a little crazy: I was living in Lodi, a town 1,200 kilometers north from there, how could I handle all that? There were a lot of difficulties, it was true! But enthusiasm downscaled everything!
With many sacrifices, I bought and renovated what would become Palazzo San Giovanni, while I continued my secretary job and usual life with my family and my friends. Finally, in April 2016, I decided to take the next big step and leave my secure job to move to Salento for the summer season. From full time secretary to seasonal self-employed.
And now my job is to make you spend a great holiday!
If you'd like to know more, Corriere della Sera also published my story here (only Italian):