Is there any dream more alluring than the Italian dolce vita? The best hotels in Italy promise just that - long summer days, sea, sun, lush olive groves, sparkling lakes, gondola rides, gelato, pasta, fresh peaches and melons, fresh basil. And all that to the backdrop of jaw-dropping architecture and magnificent scenery.
How lucky we are to be able to visit this vivacious country hemmed In by so much coast. From the authentic delights of Genoa to the sweltering seduction of Sicily.
But despite the destination's enduring popularity, the hotel scene is hardly resting on its laurels. In fact, in the last few years alone a whole crop of new and seductive boutique addresses have sprung up, full of fantastic interior design. From a superlative palace on the Amalfi Coast to a mid century beauty in the north, we’ve picked out a little slice of Italian heaven to suit every sensibility.
The best hotels in Italy
1. Palazzo Daniele
Neoclassical grandeur meets modern minimalism to exquisite effect in this Puglia property.
The hotel was inherited by Francesco Petrucci, the last descendent of the noble Italian Daniele family, to whom the palazzo has belonged since its construction in the 19th century. It was more recently transformed by Gabriele Salini, founder of the Italian hospitality brand GS Collection.
Across the ten romantic suites, the stripped-back furnishings merge with original features like the fabulous frescoes and mosaic floors.
The stylishly sparse rooms are embellished with works of contemporary art including lithograph and sculpture.
The hotel is located in a little village called Gagliano del Capo in the southernmost Salento region and the food on site is prepared by local chefs whose recipes have been passed down from their nonnas.
The hotel's most recent addition is TheBlack Suite, a penthouse with its own terrace overlooking the elegant courtyard.
Book a stay at Palazzo Daniele (opens in new tab). Rooms from $380.
2. Il San Pietro di Postiano, Amalfi
All the tasteful opulence you'd expect from the Amalfi Coast. The hotel itself is slotted into a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
The rooms blend killer views with luxurious comfort embellished with rich splashes of color in the fabrics of the sofas and bedding. All rooms and suites feature Italian marble bathrooms, naturalmente.
Guests at Il San Pietro have direct access to the hotel's private beach via an elevator that runs down the cliff face directly to the secluded cove.
The property itself is complemented by an organic garden laid out over ten leveled terraces, which serve the property's various dining locations.
Book a stay at Il San Pietro di Postiano (opens in new tab). Rooms from $700.
3. Il Sereno Lake Como
What happens when mid century stylings meet timeless Lake Como chic? This very popular luxury hotel is the answer.
The 40 lake-front suites that comprise the accommodation offering are designed by Spanish-born, Milan-based architect Patricia Urquiola. This isn't her first foray into the world of hotels, having also worked on Mandarin Oriental in Barcelona and the W Retreat & Spa in Puerto Rico, while she's also collaborated with the likes of Italian furniture brand Cassina to iconic fashion house Louis Vuitton.
The property is ideally situated near the town of Torno on a sunny promontory with 140 meters (450 feet) along the eastern shore of Lake Como.
Urquiola's clean lines and airy spaces make this address an entirely different proposition to some of the more traditional hotels that dot the perimeter of the lake and the elegant design is a fitting tribute to the dazzling light and colors of the legendary destination.
Book a stay at Il Sereno Lake Como (opens in new tab). Rooms from $850.
4. Il Palazzo Experimental
Paris meets Venice, what could be more stylish? The unstoppable Parisian hospitality group, who started out with stylish cocktail bars, opened this canal-side property at the end of 2019.
If the building is typical Venetian Gothic (note those unmistakable elongated windows meeting in a pointed arch and terrazzo floors), the inside has a French flavor thanks to Parisian it-designer Dorothée Meilichzon.
The thirty-two rooms and suites feature blocks of pastel color, retro headboards and elegant swooping arch shapes in the room structure and details. As is typical of this group's properties, there's plenty of thoughtful details from the custom toiletries in the marble-edged bathrooms to the pre-made cocktails in the minibar.
Book a stay at Il Palazzo Experimental (opens in new tab). Rooms from $190.
5. Villa Lario
This villa was once the residence of a noble Lombardy family, purpose built on the east bank of Lake Como. Today it's been reimagined as a luxurious boutique hotel with modern, minimal interiors that let the jaw-dropping location do the talking.
Inside the rooms and suites there are no TVs. The idea is you don't need one. Why would you when you can saunter out onto your balcony and admire the view?
The rooms are housed across four different buildings – the main villa but also private options including the enchanting garden suite.
Book a stay at Villa Lario (opens in new tab). Rooms from $490.
6. Borgo Santadrea
This dazzling new luxury property is almost as beautiful as the world-famous Amalfi Coast where it sits.
The alluring boutique property had a low-key opening amid the pandemic, but now it is really coming into its own. Space along this stretch of coast is so coveted that this is actually the first Amalfi Coast opening in more than a decade, and it doesn’t disappoint.
Inside there are 45 ultra luxurious rooms and suites, thoughtfully designed by Rino Gambardella. The ocean-fresh blue and white finishings in the rooms – think tile from local artisans and hand upholstered sofas – set the scene for the impossibly blue views outside the windows.
The price means that the stay would be a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing for most ordinary folk, but it would certainly be memorable.
Book a stay at Borgo Santadrea (opens in new tab). Rooms from $967.
7. Casa Privata
Casa Privata or Ca' P'a is located off the most trodden tourist track in Praiano, a small town on the Amalfi Coast known for its authentic feel and spellbinding sunsets.
Indeed this hotel was once a fisherman's house and it's still got a rustic charm, plus its own rambling gardens and private beach.
The house was originally converted to be a family's home and that intimate feel still reigns. With its mutes, soothing color palette and carefully chosen linens and vintage furnishings, you'll feel as if you are staying in the guest room of a (very stylish) friend.
Along the private stretch of sea front there's a scattering of leveled platforms with sun loungers with pretty white parasols and fresh water showers.
This has got to be one of the most authentically charming properties along the Amalfi Coast.
Book a stay at Casa Privata (opens in new tab). Rooms from $855.
8. Hotel Windsor
This charming 26-room hotel is back has been freshly renovated following a fifteen-year closure.
Laigueglia is a tranquil fishing village near the French border, along the same coastline as the more tourist-trodden Cinque Terre. This part of the coast, the Riviera di Ponente was the place to be in the 1960s and the décor pays homage to this eara with retro touches of velvet and Hungarian parquet floors.
There’s a refined, with art all around the hotel and a generous selection of books in the common areas. The in-house restaurant serves a menu using local ingredients including freshly caught fish.
Bagni Windsor, the hotel’s private beach, is a highlight: guests can swim, hire a boat or simply enjoy the dolce vita on the photogenic sun loungers.
Book a stay at Hotel Windsor (opens in new tab). Rooms from $280.