From an Umbrian Castle to a Piedmont Vineyard: 7 Exciting New Hotels to Visit in Italy

After more than a year of intense Covid-19 outbreaks and stringent lockdowns, things are looking brighter in Italy—and it’s not just because of the summer sunshine. As vaccines have rolled out and cases have decreased, the country has reopened to tourism, including for travelers from the US, one of its largest markets.
However, it’s not as simple as just buying a ticket to get there, since interested visitors have to navigate a labyrinth of ever-evolving regulations and procedures. As Jack Ezon, founder and managing partner of luxury travel planner Embark Beyond, is explaining to his clients, US citizens can fly direct to Italy only on designated “Covid-free” flights from 10 gateways (including Chicago, Dallas, Miami, New York and Los Angeles), and can land only at approved airports (currently Rome and Milan, with Naples and Venice pending approval. Connecting flights through places such as Paris and Amsterdam are also available but come with their own regulations.)
A negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of departure is also required when flying direct, as is a rapid test upon arrival, proof of an approved digital passenger form (which helps local authorities with contact tracing) and more. As of June 7, the rules apply to all passengers, regardless of vaccination status. Ezon has also been recommending that his clients book VIP airport arrival services to help navigate the testing, immigration and connecting process once in Italy, as it is currently taking hours for landing planes to clear all the hurdles. (Clearly, if there was ever a time to use an expert travel planner, this is it.)
Once you’re all set, though, you’ll find plenty to make all the hassles worthwhile—including new hotels and resorts ready to treat you to la dolce vita. From a reborn Umbrian castle and a sustainable Piedmont vineyard estate to a dreamy getaway on the Sicilian coast, here are seven new spots where you can indulge your Italian cravings.


Encompassing over 3,700 aces of protected countryside, this years-in-the-making estate has already begun welcoming guests to a lush, quiet corner of Umbria. Settle in to one of nine reimagined historic farmhouses or one of the gorgeous suites in the main hotel, which is set in an impeccably restored and art-filled thousand-year-old castle. There’s plenty on-site to help occupy your days, from horseback rides through the forest (the estate has its own stables) and foraging treks out in the meadows to cooking classes, truffle hunting, clay pigeon shooting and dips in the lake. The castle’s ancient cellars have been transformed into a bathhouse and spa featuring a Roman-style saltwater pool and treatments using herbs and products from the estate. (Reschio makes its own wines, honey, olive oil and more, and has a number of organic kitchen gardens.) Produce and products from the estate and the region are also heavily featured at the restaurants and bars, which include a panoramic terrace set on the castle’s ramparts and a poolside bar tucked into the former watchtower.

Villa Igiea

Opened on June 3, this coastal retreat from Rocco Forte is set in an Art Nouveau palazzo built in 1900 by what was then one of Italy’s most prominent families. Original touches like the frescoed bar and mirrored ballroom have been carefully restored, while the 100 accommodations have been upgraded, beautifully appointed and expanded to offer more suite options. Savor an aperitvo on the terrace, overlooking the gardens and the water, then move on to dinner in the elegant main restaurant or by the pool. Sicilian majolica tiles line the garden-set spa, which offers Mediterranean-inspired therapies using the house-brand Forte products. Accessible by both land and sea, the villa is just a 10-minute drive from the center of Palermo, with its Baroque churches and bustling street markets, and is also a convenient base for exploring Sicily—particularly when paired with a stay at Verdura, Rocco Forte’s noted golf and wellness resort some 90 minutes down the coast.

Casa di Langa

Overlooking nearly 100 acres of working vineyards and rolling hills, this sustainably minded boutique hotel—launching June 11—is set in the heart of the Piedmont region, which is the birthplace of the Slow Food movement, home to over 40 Michelin-starred restaurants and renowned for its Alba white truffles and Barolo and Barbaresco wines. Located at the doorstep of Le Langhe (part of a UNESCO World Heritage-protected vineyard landscape), the 39-room hotel offers plenty of ways for guests to connect with the land—and its bounty. Ride a Vespa through the historic vineyards, search for truffles with an expert hunter and their Lagotto Romagnolo dogs, and enjoy a tour of the vegetable gardens and greenhouse, followed by a hands-on cooking class. The property’s wine academy offers a range of tastings both on-site and at area wineries, and also offers connoisseurs the opportunity to get certified in three Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) levels. (The house cellar houses over 4,000 bottles from around 700 labels.) The seasonal harvest, local traditions and products from local purveyors inform the menus at chef Manuel Bouchard’s Fàula Ristorante and Sori Cocktail Bar—the former with large, arched windows framing views of the vineyards, hills and hazelnut groves.

Il Tornabuoni

Part of the Italian-owned AG Hotels portfolio, which includes four- and five-star properties in Florence and Rome, this new upscale hideaway is set in the 12th-century Palazzo Minerbetti on Florence’s central Via Tornabuoni, just steps from the Ponte Vecchio. Currently slated to open toward the end of summer (an exact date is pending), the 62-room hotel has been designed as an ode to the city’s Renaissance history, with plenty of bold gemtones, grand fixtures and regal flourishes. The three dining options are spread out from the ground floor to the rooftop, and highlight Tuscan specialties and ingredients, such as black kale, wild boar and native cannellini beans. Don’t miss an aperitif on the rooftop Butterfly Terrace, overlooking city landmarks like the Santa Maria Novella church, or a drink in the lobby-level champagne bar, which also hosts a bubbly-fueled afternoon tea and a nighty sabering ritual.

Splendido Mare, a Belmond Hotel

Among the iconic hotels in Belmond’s Italian portfolio are Venice’s Hotel Cipriani, Florence’s Villa San Michele and Portofino’s Hotel Splendido, which sits high above a bay along the Ligurian Riviera. The Splendido also boasts a smaller sister property in the heart of town: the 14-room Splendido Mare, which just emerged from a complete renovation by Paris-based Festen Architecture. Revealed on May 1, the interiors now feature a mix of Italian-sourced materials (think terracotta and ceramic tiles and Carrara marble) and designer furnishings, including fruitwood armchairs by Paolo Buffa and Gio Ponti, walnut armchairs by Ulrich Guglielmo and table lamps by Oscar Torlasco. Over 100 pieces of art—from commissioned works by Italian painter Gabriele Cappelli to cinematic photography—also adorn the spaces. The top suite is named after actress Ava Gardner, who stayed here while filming The Barefoot Contessa, and comes with floor-to-ceiling windows that open up to a furnished terrace overlooking the water. The new on-site restaurant celebrates local and seasonal ingredients, and the roster of experiences includes sailing excursions in a classic gozzo boat.

San Domenico Palace, Taormina, a Four Seasons Hotel

This year, one of Sicily’s most storied hotels will reopen under the Four Seasons banner. Built on the site of a 14th-century convent in the iconic resort town of Taormina and surrounded by views of the Ionian Sea, San Domenico Palace has been welcoming regular guests—including an array of royals, artists and celebrities—for 125 years. Now thoroughly refreshed and upgraded, the property will reopen under Four Seasons’ management in mid-2021 (an exact date has yet to be announced). Wander through spaces adorned with both antiques and contemporary art, take a stroll through the gardens, enjoy the gym, spa and infinity pool, and dine at three restaurants (including the award-winning Principe Cerami). Many of the 111 rooms and suites have sea views, and some also feature private terraces and plunge pools.

Soho House Rome

It’s shaping up to be a big year for Soho House, as the hospitality brand—which is centered on membership clubs, many with hotel rooms—is set to expand into a number of new destinations. Among the openings planned for 2021 are an outpost in Tel Aviv, another location in London (this one on the Strand), a Paris debut and a retreat on Canouan island in the Caribbean. One project generating lots of buzz is Soho House Rome, at present scheduled to open this summer (though no exact date has been announced.) Located in the San Lorenzo neighborhood, the brand’s seventh European property will feature 49 bedrooms and 20 apartments, as well as a spa and a movie theater. The pool, terrace and rooftop promise to offer endless views of the Eternal City.

Source: Robb Report