In a country known for high fashion and impeccable taste, it is quite the task to choose the best hotels in Italy. So many are wonderful. So many are hospitable. So many are exquisitely designed. So many are worth of this list.
But we’re happy to give it a shot. Here are our 2016 picks for the top 10 hotels in Italy:
1. CastaDiva Resort & Spa (Lake Como)
Steeped in the grandeur of centuries past, the CastaDiva Resort & Spa was once the spectacular (and sprawling) home of famed soprano Giuditta Pasta, who named her lakeside mansion, Villa Roccabruna. Today, the 75-room resort welcomes guests by boat – you’ll dock in a cave! – and invites you the bask in tasteful opulence: a subterranean spa and indoor pool; white-pebbled paths that weave through huge pines, jutting out onto Lake Como’s shores; and almost-but-not-quite over-the-top detailing, like gold mirrors and heavy silk curtains.
2. Armani Hotel Milano (Milan)
We’d expect nothing less than fashionable Wow Factor at a Milan hotel that carried the name Armani – and that’s exactly what we get at the Armani Hotel Milano. Housed in the heart of Milan’s fashion district, this hotel breathes Armani from every corner. (No surprise, considering the fashion icon is said to have hand-picked every detail.) We’re talking leather-lined walls, mother-of-pearl doors, backlit headboards and other have-to-see-them-to-believe-them touches you’ll find only in Milan.
3. Belmond Hotel Cipriani (Venice)
Secreted away on the island of Giudecca, separated from St. Mark’s Square by a scenic lagoon, the Belmond Hotel Cipriani is a palace of seclusion. The entire hotel is surrounded by gardens, which spill out onto the lagoon and offer a beautiful foreground to the background of Venezia. Here, filtered seawater feeds “the best pool in Europe”; pastels adorn the guest rooms; and the onsite Fortuny Restaurant whips up some of our favorite eats in Venice.
4. Hotel Villa Cora (Florence)
What was once a nineteenth-century mansion that overlooked Boboli Gardens, is today a restored nineteenth-century mansion-turned-hotel overlooking Boboli Gardens. The Hotel Villa Cora, one of the finest estates in Florence, has been called home to aristocrats and nobility through the ages – and now, you. We love the hotel’s old-world elegance and sometimes-exaggerated opulence, and well as the villa’s spectacular spa and incredible restaurants (both of them!).
5. Castello di Velona Resort, Thermal Spa & Winery (Montalcino)
Forty-six rooms of restored eleventh-century glory are the centerpiece at Castello di Velona Resort, a once-fortress that overlooks Tuscany’s scenic Val d’Orcia. As its name suggests, the castello offers not just guest rooms but also a thermal spa and winery, but what we appreciate best are the spectacular room details, like marble bathrooms, intricate in-room fireplaces, and beautiful silk curtains.
6. Belmond Hotel Splendido (Portofino)
There aren’t many places where you can enjoy five-star service, elegant décor and a salt-water infinity pool with breathtaking views of the Portofino harbor – but the Belmond Hotel Splendido is one of them. Housed in a sixteenth-century Benedictine monetary, the restored building has operated as a hotel for over a century. A peaceful haven above the sea, this spectacular retreat is a blend of service, beauty and comfort – and incredible panoramas, of course.
7. Hotel Il Pellicano (Porto Ercole)
If you can imagine a sprawling hotel, clinging to the steep, terraced cliffs above the Tyrrhenian Sea, then you can imagine the Hotel Il Pellicano. Frequented by royalty, nobility, socialites and movie stars, this private villa-turned-secluded-hotel offers luxuries like a saltwater pool, forested grounds, and total privacy.
8. Hotel de Russie (Rome)
Most of our top Italian hotels have one thing in common: seclusion. They’re quiet; they’re private; and they’re located far from the hustle and bustle of the city center. But here in Rome, there’s only one place we want to be – and that’s right in the midst of it all, between the Piazza del Popolo and the Spanish Steps. At the Hotel de Russie, to be precise, where the view is an unrolling carpet of Rome’s terracotta rooftops; where we can take in the city from the (relative) quiet of a courtyard garden; and where we can book a top-floor suite with private terrace. Yes, this is definitely where we want to be.
9. Capri Palace Hotel & Spa (Capri)
If Capri means seaside chic, then the Capri Palace Hotel & Spa embodies the very definition of its hometown. Elegant columns and vaulted ceilings are everywhere here, framing windows and balconies and guest rooms and a pool that overlook startling views of the Gulf of Naples and the scenic Isle of Ischia. Add in the Italian sun and Michelin-starred cuisine, and you have a recipe for luxury and opulence, as only Capri can offer.
10. Borgo Egnazia (Puglia)
Rounding out our list, the Borgo Egnazia is last but definitely not least. Stylish and exquisitely designed, this Puglia hotel features traditional architecture – think old-world fortress overlooking ancient olive trees, ringed by even more ancient stone walls – and decidedly new-world amenities, like huge pools and a luxurious spa, as well as white-stone fireplaces, canopy beds, and private terraces.