Corte dei Francesi

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For people travelling in the south of Puglia, Corte dei Francesi, located in the centre of Maglie, is a historical building arranged in the traditional style of Salento, the casa a corte. Those who stop here will be part of a unique setting, the fruit of the recovery of an original living and working place, a housing development in which the remains and the charms of an ancient art combine with contemporary art. Corte dei Francesi used to be the area around which the life of the tannery of the Lamarque brothers, expert master tanners, used to take place. Now that modern man feels the need, once again, of the customs of an ancient lifestyle, Corte dei Francesi leads its guests in a journey through time to discover the adjoining ex Lamarque tannery, which was up and running in the XIX century and has now been converted into a picturesque museum and exhibition area. Those who choose to stay at Corte dei Francesi can not only come close to this magical atmosphere, but also be spellbound by it, as if on edge in a dimension of knowledge and imagination, amidst the benefits of relaxing in the sunshine and the special signs of a unique setting. The simplicity of materials predominates in every nook and cranny, Mediterranean culture shows in every detail. The rooms are large, independent and relaxing, equipped with all comforts, well-appointed down to the last detail, to make even the shortest stay unforgettable. Corte dei Francesi is a surprising location where to stop for a night, for a guided tour of the museum or for a week-long relaxing vacation.

Discovering Corte dei Francesi

La Corte dei Francesi in Maglie has been known by this name since 1832 when two brothers from France moved to the group of buildings to which it belongs. They were masters in the thriving craft of leather work. The group of buildings, which included an adjacent two-storey “inn”, belonged to Pierre Lamarque, the elder of the brothers, a wedding present from his father-in-law.

After the wedding, an underground area for leather working was created from the ground floor of the largest building, helped by the calcareous nature of the underlying stone: the old stables and the entrance lobby were converted into an efficient tannery which saw intense, laborious craftsmanship.

The functional arrangement of the spaces had been designed for the typical manufacturing steps of the traditional vegetable tanning process.

The long, straight courtyard skirting the tannery was ideal for the passage of raw materials and for carrying out some of the tanning operations.

In addition, the rooms were well suited for housing the craftsmen, and their families, who worked with the skins every day. The rooms were large and independent, with stone vaults and large fireplaces: they were basic living areas but in tune with the demands of social and working life at the time.
Today these spaces are open to make known and live a page of unknown history of Salento.

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