J. Paul Getty’s former Italian villa is the epitome of simple and classical Italian elegance.
Situated just outside of Rome, the 17th–century villa was once home to the Getty family, who decorated the rooms with their Renaissance art and antique collections.
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While renovating their home, the Getty family also stumbled upon ancient Roman ruins and Etruscan tombs, dating back several centuries BC, that still sit within the villa's manicured gardens.
The villasits on the seafront, with dramatic views out over the Tyrrhenian Sea, while the grounds include acres of landscaped gardens, orchards and vegetable gardens.
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The Getty family sold the home in 1980 to Roberto Sciò, who lived in it with his family for ten years before turning it into a hotel – La Posta Vecchia (opens in new tab) – sister hotel to his beloved Il Pellicano.
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But despite the change of ownership, the property is still brimming with the Getty family's notable art and antique collection, with bedrooms and living spaces filled with some of the world’s finest examples of Renaissance furniture.
Inside you'll find magnificent furnishings adorning every wall and room, from glorious 17th Century tapestries, to dignified marble busts of Roman emperors Flavio Vespasiano and Agrippa, and an antiquarian map by Giovanni Battista Piranesi – one of the greatest printmakers in the world.
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The collection was put together by Getty with his art historian Federico Zeri – there are some five hundred treasures in total, just as the private collection was intended.
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Bathrooms are equally dramatic.
Roberto Sciò opened the former Getty home to the public as a 19-bedroom luxury hotel in 1990, and the past three decades has seen it become a popular hotel for discerning visitors in-the-know.
But with the Italian travel industry closed for business, the Sciò family have moved back in for the first time in 30 years – and they've enjoyed it so much, they've decided to make the home available for private holiday lets.
Roberto's daughter, Marie-Louise Sciò —who now serves as CEO and creative director of the hotels— says 'I grew up here, and it’s such a unique place.' She notes that being back in residence full time with her family made her want to share it that way with others more than ever.
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'There’s a formality to the hotel,' Sciò says of the difference between staying at La Posta Vecchia in a single room or suite and taking it over entirely. 'But as precious as everything is, it all feels a lot less so when you’re living here as if it’s your own home. There’s a wonderful fantasy element to this place. I think that’s why people love it.'
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Responding to the Covid-19 pandemic, the villa-turned-hotel is now available for exclusive rental for the first time in history, and will only be taking one booking at a time this year, making it an ideal spot for family and friends to spread out.
Along with the grandly appointed bedrooms, those who book the house will have access to the property’s various living rooms, plus the indoor pool, steam room, treatment rooms, outdoor turf tennis court and small pebble beach, as well as the private basement museum devoted to the ancient ruins Getty discovered hidden beneath the villa.
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During Getty’s restoration of the villa, an ancient Roman villa dating back to the 2nd century BC was revealed. First in the gardens, where the ruins remain open, protruding up from the ground, then beneath the Renaissance foundations.
The Archaeological Authority carried out excavation work, discovering ancient walls, colourful mosaics, African and Greek marble as well as an array of plate, amphorae and ampules. Today guests can privately view these historical discoveries in the downstairs museum.
Along with the Roman villa, the Getty family also found ancient tombs on site. Built by the Etruscans between the 7thand 3rd Centuries BC, this is a fascinating sight; tombs line narrow paths and streets over 10 hectares. There are around 400 tombs varying in structure, each constructed with creativity and care, stone beds are carved with pillows and walls feature painted reliefs.
From this summer,15 of the 19 rooms are available for private group bookings – the remaining four bedrooms will be for the staff that will need to be on-site to take care of guests. The staff will include a house manager, waiter, housekeeper and a chef who will pull from the on-site orchard and newly planted vegetable gardens—the latter rich with everything from artichokes to watermelon—to freshly prepare meals.
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Fresh fish will be sourced from local fishermen, and guests will also have access to a 600 label-strong wine cellar stocked mainly with Italian selections, as well as some vintage bottles from Bordeaux.
Pricing starts at €50,000 (approximately £44,000) for 8-10 rooms, for a minimum stay of one week. postavecchiahotel.com (opens in new tab)
Lotte is the Digital Editor for Livingetc, and has been with the website since its launch. She has a background in online journalism and writing for SEO, with previous editor roles at Good Living, Good Housekeeping, Country & Townhouse, and BBC Good Food among others, as well as her own successful interiors blog. When she's not busy writing or tracking analytics, she's doing up houses, two of which have features in interior design magazines. She's just finished doing up her house in Wimbledon, and is eyeing up Bath for her next project.
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