Travel

Italy

Establishment neighborhood
Castello di Casole
Località Querceto, Casole d’Elsa
Castello di Casole occupies a 10th century Tuscan castle, set snugly into a landscape of working farmland. Guests might start their day at the break of dawn, wildlife-spotting with a local naturalist. Or ride a horse through a network of country trails. A pack of curly-haired dogs might assist with a truffle hunt. Or none of the above: There’s no sense of urgency here, and visitors who believe in the concept of villeggiatura might spend days on end lounging at the pristine pool and unwinding at the spa, which occupies what used to be the wine cellar. All the hotel suites are well-appointed and comfortable, but the villas, in the former farmhouses that surround the central castle, are standouts.
Irene Forte Spa at Verdura Resort
S.S. 115 Km 131, Sicily
Right on the ocean near Palermo, Verdura Resort is serene, relaxing, and all out luxurious. The stunning Irene Forte Spa, surrounded by olive trees and orange groves, is a playground of thalassotherapy pools, Finnish saunas, steam rooms, and more, but the facials are next-level. Each one uses Forte’s luxe, clean skin care line—made with botanicals sourced on Verdura’s own organic farm. We love the Etna Age-Defying Facial—90 minutes of cleansing, toning, and exfoliation, face massage, lymphatic drainage (they use cold volcanic stones sourced from Etna mountain), and a moisture-bomb hyaluronic acid treatment to seal it all in. You’ll walk out totally relaxed, refreshed, with a luminous glow.
Palazzo Fiuggi
Via dei Villini, 34, 03014 Fiuggi
Everything at this wellness resort set in an ancient mountain village an hour from Rome is medically-driven, luxurious, and spectacular. The ultimate way to experience it is to do The Ranch retreat, but either way, in between massages, saunas, and dipping into thalassotherapy pools, definitely get the. The Barbara Sturm Instant Glow facial. The 50-minute treatment includes cleansing, exfoliation, hydration, and firming massage is as relaxing as it is luxurious and glow-inducing.
Six Senses Rome
Piazza di San Marcello, Centro Storico
The first urban Six Senses property is surrounded by heritage sites with household names—the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps…we could go on. Inside, Six Senses Rome is contemporary and serene, dressed in materials that call up the past (marble, travertine, stone, stone, stone) but firmly rooted in what feels cool now. Executive chef Nadia Frisinia is responsible for the excellent food at the two restaurants: Bivium, an all-day spot perfect for fueling up presightseeing and winding down post-, and Notos, which serves cocktails and bites in the rooftop garden. At the spa, facials use products from the Tuscan brand Seed to Skin, the plunge pool trio is inspired by traditional Roman bathhouses, and sleep treatments aim to help guests evade jet lag—and get right to the good stuff.
Passalacqua
59 Via Besana, Moltrasio
On the south end of Lake Como, Passalacqua’s 24 rooms are spread among three buildings. In the central villa, expect Italian opulence: gleaming golden chandeliers, Venetian terrazzo, and a vast collection of antiques. Up at the Palazz, it’s all antique beams, standing tubs, and warm country house details. And nestled between the gardens and the shore, the lake house offers wide views of the glimmering waters of Lake Como. At the restaurant, traditional ingredients and simple preparations take center stage. Anyone who's visited Passalacqua comes home raving about the spa; it's distinctly modern, and includes a sauna, steam room, cold plunge, ice bath, and lounge.
Villa Làrio
34 Via Giacomo Matteotti, Pognana Lario
Lake Como—hugged tight by green mountains and pastel palazzi—is unabashedly old-school glamorous. Despite the hum of homeowners, holidayers, and the odd seaplane, the lake exudes a dolce far niente sundress-and-Aperol-spritz calm. A stay at the intimate Villa Làrio feels like floating around your own exquisitely restored palazzo, replete with lush gardens, contemporary interiors, and a mega view. We loved diving off the private jetty, laps in the pool, morning cooking classes, and finding cozy, manicured corners to enjoy the panoramic lake vistas. Da Luciano across the water for a Negroni, shellfish cavatelli in Cernobbio, daily dips, and Riva boat trips are the way to go. Pro tip: to really explore the little villages nestled around the lake, rent a car.
Splendido Mare, a Belmond Hotel, Portofino.
2 Via Roma, Portofino
Tucked into a prime corner of the piazzetta is this storied fishing village’s crown jewel: Splendido Mare, a Belmond Hotel, Portofino. More understated townhouse than the glitz-fest you might expect from the place that invented la dolce vita, it’s both laid-back and sophisticated, thanks to a stunning redesign from Charlotte de Tonnac and Hugo Sauzay of Festen Architecture in Paris. Polished wood and gentle curves warm the mid-century modern aesthetic, especially in the snug bar (there are seats for three at the counter) tucked behind the hotel’s exquisite restaurant DaV Mare. (Order the Stinger cocktail after supper—it’s a scrumptious muddle of Cognac and mint liqueur—and ask for a sip of the local Lalla Luisa digestivo while you’re at it.) And with only fourteen rooms, this chic ode to Italian modernism meets maritime won’t stay under the radar for long. Images courtesy of Belmond.
Francescana at Maria Luigia
Piazza della Signoria, 10, Uffizi
Please put this code at the top of each Florence shell p{font-size: 16px !important;line-height:26px !important;} Massimo Bottura’s flagship restaurant Osteria Francescana has three Michelin stars, but Bottura is probably just as well known for saving the Parmigiano Reggiano industry after the catastrophic 2012 earthquake. Now he and his wife, Lara, have extended the Francescana experience into the Emilian countryside. Casa Maria Luigia has just opened and is the Call Me by Your Name dolce far niente escape we spend most of the year fantasizing about. A restored country home with tennis courts, a pool, expansive gardens, and of course—Francescana. Dinner takes place in the carriage house and includes a nine-course tasting menu of all the Osteria’s greatest hits. After this feast to end all feasts, simply cross the courtyard, climb the stairs, and tumble into queen-size bed surrounded by contemporary art from the Botturas’ own collection.
Casa Maria Luigia
Stradello Bonaghino, 56, Modena
Massimo Bottura’s flagship restaurant Osteria Francescana has three Michelin stars, but Bottura is probably just as well known for saving the Parmigiano Reggiano industry after the catastrophic 2012 earthquake. Now he and his wife, Lara, have extended the Francescana experience into the Emilian countryside. Casa Maria Luigia has just opened and is the Call Me by Your Name dolce far niente escape we spend most of the year fantasizing about. A restored country home with tennis courts, a pool, expansive gardens, and of course—Francescana. Dinner takes place in the carriage house and includes a nine-course tasting menu of all the Osteria’s greatest hits. After this feast to end all feasts, simply cross the courtyard, climb the stairs, and tumble into queen-size bed surrounded by contemporary art from the Botturas’ own collection.
Elizabeth Unique Hotel Rome
Via delle Colonnette, 35, Borghese
The Elizabeth Unique Hotel is one of the few boutique luxury hotels within a stone’s throw of the Spanish Steps—but our room was so beautifully appointed, so luxurious, so artful, there was a moment we considered skipping the 2,000-year-old amphitheater altogether and just hanging out in the room. To be fair, you could stay in the hotel for your whole trip and not be wanting for anything. The rooms and common areas lean heavily into contemporary art—walls covered in collages and paintings and hallways adorned with wire sculptures (all curated by Fabrizio Russo of the Russo Art Gallery), and the menu at Bar Bacharach & Bistrot is as elegant (and Italian) as the outdoor patio, which feels lifted from Roman Holiday. But ultimately it was the private sauna (the private sauna!) in our room that did us in. We booked our next trip before we checked out.