In Ostuni the first reception is the candid and blinding light without shadows of its historic center that develops above the walls, white too, between an almost inextricable tangle of uphill alleys, stairways, arches, portals, balconies, windows and small windows.
A small house to experience the village
In one of the oldest areas of the village, houses and small houses renovated with taste and respecting their origins, are the core of the enchanting I 7 archi Guest House of Graziana Maiorano and Giorgio Bagnardi, two of our old friends but now we want to tell, together with their welcoming structure, in the role of kind and caring “landlords”.
The location of the houses is certainly one of the strong points of the I 7 archi: in the heart of the historic center the structure is incredibly quiet to ensure maximum relaxation for its guests.
Giorgio and Graziana tell us that this part of the ancient village of Ostuni was built between 1300 and 1500. The official name of the street is Via Bixio Continelli, but it has always been called the road of the 7 arches: and here is the origin of the name chosen for the Guest House! And, we counted them, they are really seven and all different from each other, in shape, construction and type.
But let’s go back to “questioning” Giorgio and Graziana because we want to know more about how the story of I 7 archi is born.
Giorgio opened the first B&B called Nonna Isa in homage to his sweet mother. The experiment succeeds so well that in 2011 he decided, together with Graziana, to expand the business.
Initially they searched in the nineteenth-century area of the city and there was no intention of buying in the historic center. But then their real estate agent showed them the first 4 houses of what would later become their Guest House.
How did it end? They are madly in love with it. And so the adventure started. The first houses to be renovated and open to hospitality were Sus Sus, Sott all’arc, Sotta Sotta and Sus and Sotta. The names strictly in dialect come from how, in the restructuring phase, the workers called them to identify them.
Then they added D’Costa, Mienz and La Grotta together with La Torretta, Studio61 and D’Rembett that like Sus and Sotta are enriched by the real gem that are the panoramic terraces.
Our little house, in which Otto too felt perfectly at ease, is the last to have been renovated and is called Dda Rreta, a studio complete with a “cave-bath” with a very enveloping atmosphere.
In all, between renovation and furnishings, they tried to preserve the essence and style of the Apulian houses, without too much luxuries and frills, leaving the colors and materials characteristic of these houses: the chianche and the gray cement that was used a lot, the intact niches and fireplaces, also the exposed wood beams and white lime of course, retouched with continuity and maniacity.
Our curiosity, now, is directed towards the type of clientele who chooses to stay here. “All those who agree with us think that today the real luxury is simplicity. Those who choose us do it (or should do it) to live the real old town, to sleep next to the 80 year old lady who fry at 8 am, to buy 2 tomatoes from the ambulatory who grows them in his garden, to get lost in the alleys white and find intact views”. Which translates into tourists of all kinds and from different backgrounds: young couples, pilgrims who walk the via Francigena, cyclists, wealthy entrepreneurs and bagpakers. Pugliesi, Italians, Europeans, from New Zealand and beyond!
Last question: what are the future projects of Giorgio and Graziana?
“We would like to increase the services we offer to our guests, – they tell us in unison – we have already inaugurated in June last year WalkingWine (about which we have already spoken: https://www.cittameridiane.it/en/in-ostuni-with-wine-around/), a walking wine shop where you can taste the Apulian wine, in front of a beautiful landscape, but with ideas that mix in the head there are too many, who knows! As the good ones say: stay tuned!”.