“Here you breathe a European atmosphere” – commented a German publisher while visiting Bari – “it is quite different from what we image for a southern Italian city”.
In the image: the Historic Masseria San Domenico in the past and in the present
It is thanks to this “atmosphere”, influenced by Apulia’s history of conquests by Greeks, Normans, Aragonese and others, combined with the mix of nature, refined food and wine, culture and fabulous sea, that Italy’s heel became one of the most cosmopolitan among all the regions.
Famous personalities such as Sean Connery and Kurt Russell have chosen to spend their holidays in beautiful, traditional Masserie in Fasano, and even Justin Timberlake chose this evocative setting for his wedding to Jessica Biel in 2012. The Masseria is a fortified farm house on a country estate found in Apulia, usually set in working farms producing olive oil, wine or produce.
Until a few years ago, the locals considered it a provocation to bring contemporary art in the south of Italy, but nowadays art plays a very important role in Puglia, which has become one of Europe’s most innovative laboratories. With an increasing number of international exhibitions and exhibit spaces, a new kind of cultural tourism has emerged.
For this reason, several European artists have decided to move or spend most of the year in Apulia. Some examples are:
- Mary Obering, American artist who has been traveling between New York and the Salento for the past 15 years.
- Gerhard Cerull, German painter who has been living and working in the countryside around Lecce since 1975 (work of art in the image above).
- Ingrid Simon, Austrian scenographer who lives in the Salento since 1995
- Klaus Voswinckel, German movie writer and director who lives between Ugento and Munich.
- Michael Blinder, German painter who chose the Salento in 1986.
- Nagase Hiroko, Japanese ceramics artist who has been living in Lecce for the past 30 years.
- Mirjam Steffens, an artist who lives in Salento’s Presicce since 1993.