If you hold the magnificent privilege of having Italy directly on your doorstep, there’ll be no better time to explore its diverse regions than now. With many of Italy’s airports closed or operating on a minimised schedule, the hope of staycations being permitted this summer is growing. As of this Wednesday, June 3rd, it will be possible to begin travelling between regions in Italy, and since the 18th May, the phased reopening of several activities means that as long as a one metre distancing rule is complied with, Italy’s summer is sure to be getting underway.
Gifted with spectacular landscapes, gastronomical success, and cultural and historical prowess, each region in Italy offers up a distinctive combination of factors that make them both exploratory and relaxing staycation choices. We’ve collated some of our favourites that we’re delighted you’ll be able to explore once more, or perhaps for the very first time.
They say to get a truly authentic taste of Italy, you must experience Tuscany. Medieval hilltowns set amid peaks, rolling olive groves and vineyards — this region offers idyllic countryside and some of the world’s finest collections of Renaissance and medieval art. From the enchanting cities of Florence and Siena, to the endless vistas of trees and vineyards afforded by the inland hills of southern Tuscany, this is the land of slow food, picturesque landscapes and the birthplace of some of the world’s greatest masterpieces.
Often overlooked, Lucca is a Tuscan gem located in the western portion of Tuscany near the coast and at the foot of the Apuan Alps. Like turning back the clock, Lucca’s old Renaissance walls protect the city and are the perfect vantage point to admire its beauty and 100 churches. Visitors are encouraged to hike or bike to the top, admire the perimeter, and bask in the glory of being in this Italian city with the largest historically intact wall of any European city.
Whilst most Italian nationals will be far more familiar with Carrara, the neighbouring city Massa is a treasure trove of artistic and architectural gems, warranting equally as much praise. Rife with medieval significance, it became an urban centre in the 11th-12th century and there’s much to be explored. From the 15th-century fortress that overlooks the city to the San Carlo hot springs with a panoramic terrace rewarding visitors with sublime views of the Apuan Alps and the Versilia coast, Massa possesses many highlights that make it a great stop on your Tuscan tour.
A trip to Tuscany wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the capital of Florence. Synonymous with the Renaissance and romance, though compact in size, Florence has a multitude of things to enjoy. From relaxing on the banks of the Arno river, exploring the art museums that brim with paintings and sculptures from the likes of Botticcelli and Michaelangelo, to Florentine fashion and local food and wine to make anyone’s mouth water, Florence depicts timelessness and a place where memories are formed. A visit here wouldn’t be thorough without exploring the magnificent and ornate interiors of the Duomo, the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore — and now, you can feel that little bit safer as they’ve introduced social-distancing gadgets worn around your neck that flash and vibrate if you happen to become too close to another visitor. Now, that’s safety precautions done right!
Locanda al Colle
Set in the Tuscan seaside province of Versilia, Locanda al Colle is a breath of fresh air, offering a mix of sophisticated rooms and suites that result in a warm, country house feel. The interiors feature a mix of vintage and Art Deco pieces, a tastefully-curated homage to owner, Riccardo Barsottelli travels.
Reopened on May 30th.
Located in the comune of Montignoso in Massa and Carrara, Villa Gilda invites you into your own haven of 8,000 square metres of land, decorated by olive groves, citrus trees and mesmerising views of the Apuan Alps. It’s the ideal base to explore the surrounding Tuscan region including Pisa, Lucca and Florence and a chance to experience the excitement of Forte dei Marmi.
Reopening on June 6th. Find more information by clicking here.
Located a 45-minute drive away from Pisa, Villa Lena presents slow living at its finest. Surrounded by untouched woodlands, the 500-acre estate is a haven for the creative mind, nestled amongst the rolling Tuscan hills, celebrating the region’s history, culture and food.
Reopening on June 15th. Find more information by clicking here.
Antica Torre di Via Tornabuoni 1
Exhibiting the wonderment of Florence, this boutique hotel is filled with history, luxury and Renaissance art, making for a beautiful stay in the Tuscan capital. Located directly overlooking the Arno River, Antica Torre places you just moments from the historical magnificence of Florence’s enchanting landmarks.
Reopening June 3rd. Find more information related to Covid-19 by clicking here.
Part classic European elegance and part contemporary clean lines and subtle colours, the Hotel Savoy combines the best of the past and the present to offer up a truly luxurious stay. Where finesse is concerned, Hotel Savoy delivers, with rooms that overlook the famous Duomo or the piazza.
Whilst Rome is Lazio’s most prominent city, there’s much more to this central region of Italy than first meets the eye. Offerings of some of nature’s finest landscapes — lakes surrounded by green hills, rugged terrain of the Apennines, and beautiful sandy beaches bordered by the Tyrrhenian Sea, makes for a trip filled with ample opportunities to absorb the cultural heritage and endless beauty of its parks and nature reserves.
Often referred to as a ‘secret’ Italian gem, Ciociaria places you in an environment of both natural and historical significance, exposing you to gorgeous landscapes. Once upon a time, this portion of land was vastly unpopulated, but now, it is home to a number of rural resorts and gourmet restaurants, and is seeing something of a renaissance. Thanks to the many farmers, breeders and shepherds who set up shop here, you’ll get to indulge in delicious local delicacies including sheep pecorino cheeses and meat dishes such as foal carpaccio (if you’re up for trying something new, although it may not be to everyone’s tastes). Akin to many more well known regions, Ciociaria presents rolling green hills, a DOCG-protected red wine variety and a culinary history — you’d be forgiven for thinking you were within the likes of Tuscany or Umbria, but in Ciociaria, you’ll be able to bask in being away from the crowds and able to enjoy a taste of Italian countryside.
Casale San Pietro
Nestled within the wild corner of Lazio, this 300-year-old farmhouse offers incredible views over an 8-acre olive grove valley. Offering an authentic experience of the region, you’re encouraged to live like a local and take advantage of the endless experiences at Casale San Pietro — from learning Italian and cookery masterclasses to spa treatments and free bike rides. You’ll fall in love with the tranquil atmosphere that resonates across the rural open valley.
Reopening on July 3rd.
Campania depicts the Italy of dreams — the one you always see in tropical-hued images that make you long to transport yourself there. Known as the Neapolitan Riviera due to its celebrated climate, Campania’s southern Italian setting of charming towns decorated by Mediteranean vegetation, and coasts that teem with idyllic bays, coves and rock faces, make it one of Italy’s most verdant and scenic. There’s much to enjoy here, from the awe-inspiring scenery of the Amalfi Coast to the enchanting islands of the Gulf of Naples, where cave diving, hiking, mountain biking or simply enjoying a soak at a thermal beach on Ischia, are encouraged — Campania is the region of relinquishing your woes in exchange for utter bliss.
As the third largest city in Italy, Naples is a metropolis inhabited since the Neolithic period and is home to an important port that has seen the city thrive throughout history. Home to some of the world’s most revered opera houses and theatres, Naples is vibrancy, history, gastronomical excellence, and artisanal retail therapy all rolled into one. Overlooked by the Vesuvius volcano, and located between Sorrento Bay and the area of Phlegraean Fields, Naples is threaded with a plethora of history; from the ruins of Pompeii to the archaeological sites that reveal much about the city’s past.
For sheer and utter relaxation and indulgence, the Amalfi Coast caters to all. Having been declared one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, there is no doubt that this stretch of coastline is one of Italy’s most memorable and iconic destinations. Vistas of vertical landscape hide narrow alleys and stairways leading to inlets, bays and fjords, speckled with pebble beaches and seamless mountainsides. Awash with the sweet scents of lemon and olive groves, and dazzled by picture-perfect white-washed villages juxtaposed by the shimmering blue sea, the Amalfi Coast is truly a slice of heaven that has to be experienced in order to be believed.
Art Hotel Villa Fiorella
Offering some of the most sublime views of the Gulf of Naples by day and night, Art Hotel Villa Fiorella puts the best of spectacular vistas and minimalist interiors into one neatly-packaged gift. From the glass-encased Terraza Fiorella restaurant to the awe-inspiring sky lounge, you’re in for a romantically atmospheric stay.
Jaw-droppingly minimalist, Casa Angelina perches elegantly on the cliff face of the enchanting town of Praiano, in the heart of the Amalfi Coast. Juxtaposed by the deep blue hues of the Mediteranean Sea, the views over the entire coast are really something to behold. You’ll want to retreat to the terrace once you arrive, where you’ll be greeted by a range of cocktails and aperitifs. Sounds like heaven.
A trip to the northernmost region of Italy, with its idyllic scenery, expert hiking and distinctive local culture is one that will not be forgotten. Bordered by Austria, the region benefits from these secondary influences, not only apparent through its culture but also through its culinary gifts. Blessed with the surroundings of the Dolomites, Trentino Alto Adige isn’t short of dramatic and inspirational views, and come summer or winter, the region continues to be as inviting as ever. With an increasing focus on wellness, relaxation and gourmet dining in the region, South Tyrol is one of the most popular destinations, an interesting place to find yourself in, where the very best of Alpine and Mediterranean traditions combine.
Celebrated for its sunny microclimate that sees almost 300 days of sunshine each year, Merano is a delightful blend of the best of the Alpine landscape combined with flourishing Mediterranean cypresses, grapevines and olive trees. A spa town that lies on the southern side of the Alps, Meran is a great starting point to introduce yourself to the mixture of Italian-Germanic cultures that culminate and influence the local cuisine and feeling that resonates around the valley.
A visit to South Tyrol would be incomplete without experiencing the capital of Bolzano, where the mixture of Italian and German cultures mixes most powerfully, reflected in the impressive artistic and cultural treasures on offer. There’s the quaint old town and the arches shopping arcade, as well as easy access to the hiking mecca of San Genesio Atesino and the high plateau of Renon mountain for a spot of peace and solitude.
Located slightly north of Bolzano lies Val Sarentino, a community that maintains its ancient traditions and customs, including the traditional Sarner costume of leather belts and special sheep wool jackets. This deep rooting in its traditions makes for an experience of true discovery and authentic encounters with the local people, where it is encouraged to soak up the culture and customs of your surroundings.
Considered one of the most beautiful valleys in South Tyrol, Val Pusteria/Pustertal offers a vast green valley, ripe for hiking, cycling and swimming — just some of the numerous activities that keep revellers occupied through the warm summer season. In winter, the area becomes a haven for ski-lovers with guaranteed snow — the time when the Plan de Corones-Kronplatz takes its most vibrant form. The wintry landscape of Val Pusteria is one full of magic and enchantment and if you’re looking for a holiday filled with active excursions, Val Pusteria is unmissable.
Design Hotel Tyrol
Designed with wellness and eco-consciousness in mind, Design Hotel Tyrol is situated in Rablà near Merano, overlooked by the stunning magnitude of the Dolomites. Graced with 240km of well-marked hiking paths, there’s plenty for the active holidayer to enjoy, whether that’s taking a guided mountain bike tour or embarking on the Merano High Alpine trail.
Reopening June 20th.
Focusing on architecture and design, Hotel Muchele offers an easy-going and beautifully comforting stay within the mountains. The Ganthaler family instil all of their passion and heart into everything you experience so you can rest assured you’ll enjoy a stay with every detail catered for. Located in the wine growing Etsch Valley, slow down to the pace of life here and indulge in a touch of the ‘Muchelen’.
Reopening June 19th.
Eco Hotel Saltus
Like floating amongst the treetops, Eco Hotel Saltus gives you prime views of the soaring Dolomites mountain peaks. Providing a space for the mind, body and soul to be rejuvenated, the hotel is made completely with natural materials from the surrounding region and so blend seamlessly with its magical setting. Sustainable living takes on true meaning here at Eco Hotel Saltus and you need to experience it.
Designed by Italian architect, Peter Pichler, discover a modern take on Alpine style, a beautiful hideaway where aesthetic and design culminate in a truly relaxing and rejuvenating stay. Nestled in the heart of Castelrotto, this base gives you access to the best of the region — from skiing around the Stella massif to hiking after sunlight, here, the Dolomites come to life whichever time of year.
Reopening June 6th.
Seehof Nature Retreat
Capturing the essence of its environment, the Seehof Nature Retreat aligns you with the natural state of things — every light alteration and dynamic change in the environment, to truly encourage you to let go of your woes. Set on a high plateau, this is where nature’s elements take a front seat and you’re able to benefit from the panoramas of the woods and the reflective lake.
Reopening June 15th.
Hotel & Restaurant Bad Schörgau
Set in Val Sarentino, Bad Schörgau allows you to escape the urban lifestyle for an experience that is deeply rooted in its bathing culture traditions. Managed by the Wenter family who will make your stay as personal as possible, discover wood-heated hot tubs, outdoor sauna and swimming pool and the undeniable Michelin-starred restaurant where you can indulge in distinctive and delectable flavours.
Boutique Hotel Zenana
In the heart of the historical centre of Innichen, Boutique Hotel Zenana is full of character and charm. This is a quaint ski break with a difference, with access to some of Italy’s finest slopes. Centrally located, this pretty family hotel is eclectic and warm, the perfect base to return home to.
Owned and run by two generations of the Aichner family, Hotel Petrus is the ideal home-away-from-home. With direct access onto the Kronplatz mountain, this is the perfect base for those inclined towards skiing, hiking and cycling. Every room offers staggering views of the Dolomites, where activeness and relaxation go hand in hand.
Reopening June 18th.
Come rain or shine, Italy overflows with a multitude of destinations ranging from the artistic and architectural treasures to the rural gems where food and la dolce vita (the good life) prevail — a country unlike any other, where you can endlessly feast on a diverse range of experiences, come back and encounter it in a completely different and new way.
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