HomeEuropeEight Italian Classics from Belmond

Eight Italian Classics from Belmond

From Venice to Portofino, south to Tuscany, and down to the Amalfi Coast and Sicily, Belmond (nee Orient Express) offers up some of my favorite hotels in Italy. You can easily spend a month or so between these historic and elegant properties.

1. Splendido Mare, A Belmond Hotel, Portofino
2. Splendido, A Belmond Hotel, Portofino
3. Cipriani, A Belmond Hotel, Venice
4. Caruso, A Belmond Hotel, Amalfi Coast
5. Villa Sant’Andrea, A Belmond Hotel, Taormina
6. Grand Hotel Timeo, A Belmond Hotel, Taormina
7. Villa San Michele, A Belmond Hotel, Florence
8. Castello di Casole, A Belmond Hotel, Tuscany

1. Splendido Mare, A Belmond Hotel, Portofino

Following a complete restoration by Paris-based Festen Architecture, the 14-room property reopened on May 1, 2021. Inspired by its history in a fishing village — where there has not been a new house built since 1935 — Splendido Mare features antiques, including fruitwood armchairs by Paolo Buffa and Gio Ponti, walnut armchairs by Ulrich Guglielmo, and table lamps by Oscar Torlasco. 

Eight Italian Classics from Belmond
Credit: Belmond

Locally sourced elements include terracotta tiles from Impruneta, ceramic tiles from Garfagnana, and marble from Carrara. The 100-piece art collection features specially commissioned items by Italian painter Gabriele Cappelli as well as cinematic photography and abstract pieces by local artists. 

Eight Italian Classics from Belmond
Credit: Belmond

The new restaurant, DaV Mare focuses on seasonal and locally sourced ingredients, and signatures dishes include a humble tomato pasta (paccheri alla vittorio). For dessert, do not miss the little gelateria in the heart of piazzetta.

Recommended

One of the new experiences is a trip along the Italian Riviera aboard a gozzo, a traditional Ligurian fishing boat, sailing along the coastline up to San Fruttuoso Bay. 

Eight Italian Classics from Belmond
Credit: Belmond

Stop for a swim to view the submerged bronze statue of Christ the Abyss, or dive into the crystal-clear waters of Punta Chiappa, a remote promontory that inspired Lord Byron’s poetry in the early 1800s. Guests can opt for a picnic lunch prepared by DaV Mare or to stop for fresh seafood caught by local fishermen.

Ava Gardner Suite

Eight Italian Classics from Belmond
Credit: Belmond

The top suite honors Ava Gardner, who stayed at the guest house while filming Barefoot Contessa. The redesigned suite includes subtle references to the actress in the décor: original vintage photographs of Ava in the artwork selection and coffee table books that relate to her. The 603-square-foot spans the entire top floor of Splendido Mare with a wall-to-wall glass window that steps out to a private terrace overlooking the bay.

See more suites at Splendido Mare.

2. Splendido, A Belmond Hotel, Portofino

Eight Italian Classics from Belmond
Credit: Belmond

Splendido Mare’s sister property — just a quick, complimentary shuttle ride away — is a 16th-century monastery. This summer, families can switch from virtual to hands-on learning, where young guests learn to bake pizza and focaccia, take a watercolor class in the gardens, or sail along Tigullio Gulf aboard the hotel’s private boat. Parents can indulge at the spa with treatments that use some of the best ingredients of the Mediterranean, such as chamomile, sage, and basil.

Recommended

A three-day retreat, October 28-31, will take place at Splendido exploring the destination’s long history with jeans. Following a tour of Museu Diocesano in Genoa with the museum curator to view what is considered to be the ancestor of modern jeans, a painting done on linen textile stained in indigo blue, designers-in-training will join a workshop back at the hotel to create their own custom collection.

Two-Bedroom Presidential Suite

Eight Italian Classics from Belmond
Credit: Belmond

Splendido’s 968-square foot presidential suite, Wisteria, features hand-painted frescos, antique chandeliers, and inlaid floors with private access to the hotel’s swimming pool. For the ultimate retreat, the Wisteria suite can be connected with a second presidential suite and junior suite for an expansive three-bedroom apartment with a 660-feet-long terrace and uninterrupted views of Portofino Bay.

See more suites at Hotel Splendido.

3. Cipriani, A Belmond Hotel, Venice

Giuseppe Cipriani — also the founder of Harry’s Bar, the birthplace of the Bellini that was inspired by the pinky golden hues over St. Mark’s Square — opened Cipriani in 1956 as a haven for jet-setting travelers. 

Eight Italian Classics from Belmond
Credit: Belmond

Guests can enjoy the only Olympic-sized swimming pool in the city and kids programs ranging from Venetian mask-making to pastry lessons.

Recommended

Once the greatest seaport in Iate medieval Europe and still one of the world’s oldest cultural centers, Venice has just turned 1,600. The property will introduce a three-day course, November 11-14, for exploring the ancient disciplines that traveled along the Silk Road, such as a masterclass on Kintsugi, the delicate art of fixing ceramics with gold, and traditional silk print workshops.

Palladio Suite

Guests of the hotel will also have access to behind-the-scenes tours of the city’s libraries and archives throughout the season. During tours of the Fondazione Cini Library and the 13th-century Library San Francesco della Vigna, rare books and preserved manuscripts will be on display exclusively for Belmond guests.

Eight Italian Classics from Belmond
Credit: Belmond

A vast living room opens onto a lagoon-view balcony in the 1,132 square foot Palladio Suite. Cool off in the plunge pool or on a private terrace.

Dogaressa Suite

Separated from the main hotel by an ancient courtyard and flowered walkway, Cipriani’s Palazzo Vendramin is housed in a 15th-century former palace. The top suite, the Dogaressa Suite, offers views over both St. Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace via floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the sitting room. 

Eight Italian Classics from Belmond
Credit: Belmond

The sitting room (the largest in the Palazzo) is decorated with original 18th century Coromandel screens, a collection of antiques, Fortuny and Rubelli fabrics and a pink marble bathroom. You have a separate entrance and private dock.

See more suites at Cipriani Venice.

4. Caruso, A Belmond Hotel, Amalfi Coast

Perched atop the highest point of the charming town of Ravello, at 1,000 ft above sea level, the 11th-century palace adorns Instagram feeds with its heated infinity pool. 

Eight Italian Classics from Belmond
Credit: Belmond

The historic property features 18th-century Neapolitan paintings, lush grounds with lemon and olive trees, and a two-suite Villa Margherita for those seeking extra privacy.

Recommended

Caruso partners with a local master jeweler for a goldsmith workshop where travelers will learn about the ancient Roman and Greek techniques before trying their hand at crafting their own masterpiece.

Eight Italian Classics from Belmond
Credit: Belmond

Another highlight of the three-night retreat, October 14-17, is exclusive access to the Oplontis archeological site with a private viewing of the collection of gold jewelry. Throughout the season, guests of the hotel will enjoy access to Oplontis as well as the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Pompeii and Ercolano.

Villa Margherita

Eight Italian Classics from Belmond
Credit: Belmond

Nestled 1,000 feet above the Amalfi Coast, Villa Margherita is an elegant 2,153-square-foot summer house. 

Eight Italian Classics from Belmond
Credit: Belmond

The two bi-level suites offer the ideal setting to experience the best views over the Tyrrhenian Sea all while pampered by the attention of a private butler – who with a full day service is ready to take care of all the needs of guests – and a personal chef.

More suites at the Caruso.

5. Villa Sant’Andrea, A Belmond Hotel, Taormina

Eight Italian Classics from Belmond
Credit: Belmond

Built in 1919 among subtropical gardens, the property enjoys its own stretch on the secluded Bay of Mazzaro, where private cabanas for up to four guests can be reserved.

Recommended

Hop on board the historic Circumetnea steam train to Mount Etna for private vineyard tours to taste rare vintages and local delicacies, available only to guests of Villa Sant’Andrea. Lunch is prepared at the homes of Le Mamme del Borgo members, a group of local women honoring traditional Sicilian recipes that have been passed down through generations. For those looking for a more intensive retreat, wine consultant Tom Harrow will lead a three-day retreat from September 30-October 3.

Presidential Pool Suite

Eight Italian Classics from Belmond
Credit: Belmond

The two-bedroom 860-square-foot Presidential Pool Suite features a separate living room and a large furnished solarium with a private heated pool.

More suites at Villa Sant’Andrea.

6. Grand Hotel Timeo, A Belmond Hotel, Taormina

Villa Sant’Andrea’s sister property, Grand Hotel Timeo, was formerly a private home and converted into a hotel in 1873. 

Eight Italian Classics from Belmond
Credit: Belmond

The property is adjacent to the Greek theater, stretched along six acres of tropical gardens, with views on the Naxos Bay and Mount Etna.

Recommended

Guests of Grand Hotel Timeo will enjoy exclusive access to ateliers in Noto, known for its baroque architecture. Begin the day with before-hours access to Palazzo Castelluccio, the 18th-century palazzo restored by French documentary filmmaker Jean-Louis Remilleux, with breakfast and a tour led by the new owner. Following lunch and a sweet treat at the 130-year-old Caffè Sicilia, travelers will enjoy access to Italian pianist Sergio Fiorentino’s whimsical private atelier, the former refectory of a Cistercian monastery.

Presidential Suite

Eight Italian Classics from Belmond
Credit: Belmond

The two-bedroom, 1,055-square-foot Presidential Suite features two large marble bathrooms, a living area, and a 3,229 square-foot terrace.

Eight Italian Classics from Belmond
Credit: Belmond

Enjoy the private jacuzzi with180 degree views of the Bay of Naxos and Mount Etna.

View more suites at Grand Hotel Timeo.

7. Villa San Michele, A Belmond Hotel, Florence

Nestled on a hilltop amid lush trees and terraced gardens, the 15th-century facade is attributed to Michelangelo. 

Eight Italian Classics from Belmond
Credit: Belmond

Guests are invited to experience the delicate beauty and solitude of a monastery that is as much a part of Italy’s culture as the country’s greatest cathedrals and galleries. A Colorful highlight is a 400-year-old wisteria, the only one in Florence to bloom twice a year.

Recommended

This season take a tour in Villa San Michele’s vintage FIAT 1100 Musone for behind-the-scenes access to the local ateliers and artisans spearheading Florence’s New Renaissance. From jewelry and shoes to crystalware and perfumery, each artisan will share how they preserve traditional craftmanship with contemporary styles and materials. The experience will end with a ‘The Art of Packing’ workshop at Louis Vuitton.

Limonaia Villa

Eight Italian Classics from Belmond
Credit: Belmond

Families of up to 12 members can book the Limonaia Villa for extra privacy. With a choice of one, two or three bedrooms, the villa also features a private garden with a waterfall and heated plunge pool made from stone. The historic rooms are located in a former 17th-century orangery with views overlooking Florence.

See other suites at Villa San Michelle.

8. Castello di Casole, A Belmond Hotel, Tuscany

The 4,200-acre property is one of the largest private estates in Italy, nestled in Tuscany’s geographical center between Siena and Florence. A former castle dating back to the 10th century, it has changed hands from an Italian aristocratic family to acclaimed cinematographer Luchino Visconti before joining the Belmond portfolio. 

Eight Italian Classics from Belmond
Credit: Belmond

Highlights include a dreamy alfresco dining option at the Enchanted Table, a floating table situated underneath the same tree where Visconti used to conjure up his next film.

New Experiences

In partnership with Marchesi Antinori, one of Italy’s most renowned wineries dating back to 1385, Castello di Casole will host a three-day escape, October 7-10, in the rolling hills of the countryside led by wine expert Tom Harrow. Itinerary highlights include special-access tours of Tenuta Tignanello estate and Tenuta Guado al Tasso, tasting some of the most sought-after wines in the midst of Tuscany’s vendemmia season.

Oliveto Suites

Eight Italian Classics from Belmond
Credit: Belmond

The Oliveto Suites, located just a five-minute walk from the main castle, range from 753-to-969-square feet. The nine one-bedroom suites are housed in three independent buildings, each with kitchenettes, wraparound terraces, and private outdoor space. 

View more suites at Castello di Casole.

Doug Gollanhttp://douggollandotcom.wordpress.com
I am Editor-in-Chief of Private Jet Card Comparisons and DG Amazing Experiences, and a Contributor to Forbes.com.
RELATED ARTICLES

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -
- Advertisment -spot_img
- Advertisment -spot_img
- Advertisment -spot_img
- Advertisment -spot_img

Most Popular