Location: Lecce, Italy
The gorgeous seaside view is just one of the many appealing things about Guendalina. The open-air club, set amid green hills and looking out to sea in Italy’s southern Puglia region, sees big crowds flock to enjoy its unmatched sunrises. “The open-air areas give DJs and dancers a sense of freedom,” says the club’s Danyel de Paola.
Founded in June 1997, the club was born with an aim of “presenting the best techno, tech-house and house DJs of the world”, and across three areas — Arena, Terrace, and Concert for bigger shows — it has featured pretty much all the world’s biggest DJs. The emphasis is on the discerning end of tech-house, and everyone from Carl Cox to The Black Madonna, Tale Of Us and Adam Beyer have played at Guendalina, while its residents Gianni Sabato and Francesco Dinoia are also popular.
Location: Santa Cesarea Terme, Italy
Capacity: 3,000 (club), 5,000 (arena)
Guendalina is a massive open-air venue, located in the small town of Santa Cesarea Terme in the south of the Apulia region. Having opened in 1997, the venue now also spans a club, a terrace, bar and pool area and a 5,000-capacity outdoor arena. Dubbed Pyrex Arena, it played host to a festival under the same name, launched by Guendalina in 2018. The inaugural edition of the event was headlined by Joseph Capriati, Marco Carola, Paul Kalkbrenner, The Martinez Brothers, Butch, Chris Liebing and Solomun. Global throttling headliners aside, the club is also praised for its residents Gianni Sabato and Francesco Dinoia.
Location: Santa Cesarea Terme, Italy
Capacity: 3000 (club), 5000 (arena)
Located on the southeast heel of Italy, in the small town of Santa Cesarea Terme (population: 3,100) lies one of the jewels in the crown of Italian clubbing. World clubbing, in fact. Since opening back in 1997, Guendalina has continued to stun with its truly world class line-ups, last year proving more pivotal for the club than most.
Now alongside its famous terrace, its club, bar and pool area, it has opened its newest arena, the massive Pyrex Stage. It now has the capacity for even more ambitious outdoor events. Ibiza stalwart Circoloco was among the first to take it on, bringing in Seth Troxler, The Martinez Brothers, The Black Madonna and Loco Dice. Jamie Jones, Chris Liebing, and Green Velvet have had a crack too. Nina Kraviz, Amelie Lens and Marcel Dettmann impressed, with Luciano, Solomun and Adam Beyer all in the diary for later this year.
But while such top flight guests might bring in clubbers from all around the world, there's one constant which keeps thing centred. “My resident DJ is the one and only Gianni Sabato,” says Guendalina's Danyel De Paola. “He is a musical genius and his sets are unique.” Every club needs one of those.
Guendalina might have been going since 1997, but it never rests on its laurels: The last 12 months have seen the club make small but significant changes, especially to the Arena, which is at the heart of the outdoor, open-air action. “We changed the soundsystem and enlarged the console,” says the club's Danyel. “The rest of the magic is made by the trees and nature that surrounds the club, as well as the sunlight that beams down and gives us incredibly emotional moments every morning.”
Initially set up to offer a haven for techno and tech-house in southern Italy, it is now very much known for just that. In the last year alone, it has played host to bigwigs such as Lil Louis and Jeff Mills, Tale Of Us and Luciano, as well as housier guests like The Martinez Brothers and Jamie Jones.
Part of the allure of the club, apart from its natural setting, is that it has a real family vibe and a friendly crowd of regulars who all very much feel a part of something special. “The most important thing for us is a direct relationship with people,” says Danyel. “Also, the resident DJ Gianni Sabato is fundamental to our club because he has an empathy with people and he knows them inside out. Everything starts with him.”