Where to Stay in Italy
With 2010 coming to an end, over 25 private trips planned and several of my own research "adventures", I am pleased to share my Italian accommodations picks of the year (starting in the north and ending in the super south).
Grand Duca di York
A lovely 3-star hotel in the heart of Milan, just a 3 minute walk to the Duomo. Good size (and exceptionally clean!) room and modern bathrooms.
A small, boutique 3-star hotel with luxurious looking rooms, comfortable beds in the Cannaregio neighborhood (my preferred area of the island).
Upscale, beautifully decorated, top notch service (oh the breakfasts!) and what I refer to as my “little sanctuary in the north”. Diana and Micha have created a really special place to stay in the heart of Piemonte wine country.
Finale Ligure, Liguria
Old world charm, lovely gardens and terrific views of the sea at this 4-star hotel located in a nice Riviera resort town. (Note, rooms could use a revamp but the all over experience is very nice.)
Chic but laid back, minimalist feel in a gorgeous old Noble villa overlooking the picturesque seaside village of Camogli and north to Genova.
Each room is decorated differently in rich colors with frescoes and equipped every modern comfort. Located within the walls and a short walk from everything.
Excellently located along the Arno, warm service and reasonably priced for a 4-star hotel in the heart of Florence. They even have the real "Room with a View" (from the movie!).
Upper Maremma Coast, Tuscany
Serenity, tranquility and comfort in this Tuscan seaside estate near San Vincenzo. Love the spacious suites (with mini-kitchens in an armoire!). The restaurant, Il Sale, is wonderful. You almost don’t need to leave the property!
Castellina in Chianti, Tuscany
Rustic charm surrounded by vineyards and panoramic views of the Chianti countryside. Edith, the owner, is also an excellent cook. Do not miss her twice a week dinners!
What a special place in the hills above Assisi! Simple but lovely rooms and gorgeous views. Be sure to sign up for one of the owner’s (the lovely Letizia) cooking classes. She is a WHIZ in the kitchen!
This is a great pick for those who want to be in the Via Veneto area and have a wide range of modern amenities (even an indoor pool!). Rooms are classy. comfortable and (usually) well-priced for a 4-star hotel in an expensive city.
One of the finest hotels not only in Puglia, but all of Italy. It is 5-star luxury without any pomp and circumstance. All rooms come with a fireplace and private patio (some even with small pools). It’s “sister” hotel, Torre Coccaro, is just a kilometer away (also noteworthy) where you can enjoy their spa and beach club.
Another personal favorite, this gorgeous masseria offers both bed & breakfast rooms and 4 lovely apartments around a lush garden and pool area just outside fabulous Ostuni. The owners are warm and helpful (a welcome aperitivo is a must!) and the location is excellent for exploring the area.
This elegant, family run hotel was actual the family home until a few years ago. It is located in Modica alto, but you can easily meander down the old baroque streets into the historical center. They have two restaurants, one of which has been awarded with a Michelin 1 star (Gazza Ladra).
Palma di Montechiaro (Agrigento), Sicily
An oasis in a rather unattractive area, but if you are traveling by car and want to see the Valley of the Temples (or do a little wine tasting at Morgante), this is the place to stay. It is a working olive oil farm (and Giuseppe will be happy to show you around it and offer you some fabulous “green gold” to try!). They also serve wonderful homemade dinners. If a cassata has been made, you cannot resist it!
A brand new “locanda” from the Planeta family featuring a fantastic (and huge!) kitchen, fabulous herb garden, charming rooms and a sea view. Make sure to visit their wonderful winery, Ulmo, located about a 30 minute drive away.
NUMERO UNO, heaven on earth, where you could put me for the rest of my life. Ok, I may be exaggerating a little, but I love this hotel and this island. There is an incredible sense of peace and relaxation here (both at the hotel and on the island itself). Signum is family run but also includes a robust staff of wonderful people who seem to love their jobs and love helping the guests. There is a superb restaurant specializing in Sicilian dishes with a twist (I will never forget the sublime raw anchovies mixed with honey and pistacchios!). They also a terrific spa with turkish sauna and several different natural thermal baths. Rooms vary in style and price, but everyone can enjoy the extensive gardens and magnificent views. 4-star but a perfect 10 in my opinion.