Should you aim at slowing down and pamper yourself during an Italian itinerary, I would love to give my insider tips for luxury retreats that are totally off the beaten track.
You will find them mentioned from North to South and provided with a short info on nearest airport and driving times.
Castello di Guarene, Piedmont
What a pleasure for the eyes! This is the former summer residence for the Counts of Roero, built on the site of a medieval fortress, and nowdays the castle is pleasing us with heavy drapes, wooden floor, paintings, great furniture. The lavish gardens, designed in the style of 18th century Italy, offer gorgeous views on the city and on the Langhe area.
Langhe are world famous for several reasons, especially for precious white truffles, the great wines (Barolo, Nebbiolo, Barbaresco, Barbera and Dolcetto), the renowned vineyars and the landscape. The Langhe Hills are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and they deserve!
The restaurant serves first class refined cuisine and today I cannot stop about dreaming back to the yummy (limiting adjective) seabass and spinach with wine sauce, great with white truffle, just to name one among the several we tasted…
The dining room features a brick vaulted ceiling, supported by pillars that give a special ambiance and a warm atmosphere, also enhanced by the fine paintings on the walls. Everything seems out of temporary limits here and when you reach the endo of your glorious meal, you really do not want to leave.
The guestrooms and suites are spacious, have fantastic views and it was a great pity not to be able to plan a stop for the night, enjoying frescoed walls and polished terracotta tiles on the floor but I promised to come back soon.
The icing on the cake: a stunning indoor swimming pool, entirely excavated in the rocks and overlooking a very lovely mellow landscape, lounge chairs, saunas, salt cave… treatments and massages, hairdesser services… what else?
Of course, Castello di Guarene was awarded with World’s Best Relaxation Retreat 2017 Award.
Milan Malpensa, Milan Linate, Turin
From Milan, Highway A26 and then A33
From Turin: A55, then A21 and then A33
La Posta Vecchia, Palo Laziale, Latium
An Italian Palazzo on the beach, La Posta Vecchia was the primary residence of J. Paul Getty, a legendary rich man fascinated by art and architecture.
The building name comes from the fact that it was the official stops for coaches carrying royal mail. It was property of the Odescalchi family, living in a fabulous castle not far from here (restored today as a stunning venue for luxury events).
During the great works of restoration of La Posta Vecchia, Getty aimed at digging his own pool but for three times, the excavation works had to stop because ruins of significant roman villas had been found. They were so immense and beautiful that Getty decided to turn the excavated spaces into his private museum beneath the house!
Today, La Posta Vecchia is one of the best resorts along the coast. The opulent suites recall the days when it was a private property and many of the bathrooms come with magnificent marble fireplaces.
Every corner is testament of the most exquisite attention to detail.
As a fil rouge for all this precious attention, when it comes to wellbeing, the Spa staff always holds a brief consultation with guests to discover their needs in order to adapt the treatment. Only one guest or one couple at a time is treated, involving mind and body in a holistic approach and letting guests totally unwind. What I really loved there was the range of Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy luxury products as I know the place in Florence very well and I know the care taken by the firm in selecting natural plant extracts and great essential oils, today as it was 400 years ago by Dominican monks (you can read about my experience here).
La Posta Vecchia features a fantastic restaurant, so there is no need to move from here… anyway the area offers nice spots and Rome is less than an hour drive.
Pantelleria Island, off Sicilian coast
In this island you will not feel you are in Italy, despite the place is frequented by many of the most famous names such as Giorgio Armani, who fell in love with the island many many years ago and still has a property here.
Pantelleria has a volcanic origin and everything is built in obsidian, a black porous stone especially used to build the ‘dammusi’ my beloved traditional homes with dome-shaped roofs
The winds have carved rough lava cliffs and in fact the nickname gave to Pantelleria was Bent el Rion (daughter of the wind). Nature is wild, a true mix of sea and land where the specialties of the island grow: capers and Zibibbo grape.
You will need a car or a scooter to visit the land and a boat to travel around it.
All the corners are worth but especially the Mirror of Venus, a sulphureous lake whose milky turquoise waters have therapeutic properties for the skin.
By sea or by land, do not miss Cala Elefante, where the Arc of the Elephant is the symbol of the island
What is particularly great here is the fact that you are so far from the mainland Sicily that there are no masses of tourists back and forth during the day and this is so important form me! There are peace and tranquility everywhere.
In this fabulous surrounding, Sikelia welcomes guests in an amazing mix of monastic interior lines and cool style, quite reproducing the many contrasts of Pantelleria itself, reminding that nature is a master here.
Once I passed the big brass door, I immediately loved the relaxed and elegant atmosphere and realized that this was probably the first of many times I wanted to be here.
The details, the materials, the design of outdoors and indoors were so much in harmony since the first glance, I was so pleased.
The suites have the best amenities, including docking station for iPod, so your last preferred playlist can be the theme for these days.
And in case you need your laptop to jot down some notes for your next post… safes for laptops are in all the rooms.
Lounges are fabulous, they provide intimate and comfortable space but the very top is the love you can show to yourself indulging in a massage in the lavish Arabic garden. What a luxury!
And at aperitif time, when the sun goes down … the best wine is a lovely addition to all the above …
Pantelleria has a nice little airport, very well connected to Palermo and Trapani
Major Italian airports also provide direct flights
Best updates on flights are on aeroportodipantelleria.it