The heir to the Roman civilisation and instigator of the most famous art movements, including the Renaissance, Italy is a land of culture, monuments and beauty of all kinds.
The empress, the grande dame, the bejeweled matriarch… Rome is one of the most awe-inspiring capitals in the world. No other city offers so many strata of beauty, from Roman ruins to medieval campaniles, Renaissance palaces, Baroque basilicas, 18th century steps and modernist buildings. And all of these jewels are set in a verdant showcase of parks, gardens, flower-filled terraces and historic villas, with the sun as its spotlight and the Tiber as an embellishing ribbon. To discover Rome in all its splendor, the visitor need only climb one of its seven hills, like Quirinal or Janiculum. Or enter any church to discover the artists who have immortalized the Eternal City: Caravaggio at San Luigi dei Francesi, Michelangelo at San Pietro in Vincoli, Raphael at Sant’Agostino. Out in the streets the spectacle continues with fountains by Bernini, façades by Borromini and Bramante’s Tempietto. On the horizon, the dome of Saint Peter’s Basilica, designed by Michelangelo, is balanced by the even older cupola of the Pantheon. In no other city in the world do the ruins feel so alive: a Forum nestled in greenery, a Colosseum as heavily frequented as in the gladiators’ time, a Circus Maximus where visitors can relax on the grass or run with the ghosts of charioteers.
The focal point of one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, the Gulf of Naples defies all comparison. Sun-drenched, edgy, elegant and down-home, the eponymous city takes center stage, with the majesty of Vesuvius as its backdrop. This is a multifaceted city, full of baroque churches and noble palaces, with the seafront on one side and the historic pizzerias and friggitorie of the Spaccanapoli district on the other. The charm of this ancient metropolis arises from the tension that energizes these two vital halves of its soul. The past is not forgotten - as a visit to the ruins of Pompeii, Herculanum or Paestum so eloquently demonstrates.
Restaurant in town. Agli Amici, which was thus named in the 1960s when it was a meeting place for a group of friends from the village, is a wonderful family adventure, which started in 1887 as a café-tobacconist. At present it is run by siblings: Michela ensures that the tradition of hospitality lives on and promotes wines from small producers and forgotten vineyards. In the kitchen, Emanuele reinvents traditional dishes and gives pride of place to the produce of this region which boasts both mountains and the sea – sea bass, sea urchins, pork, vegetables –, whilst wild herbs gathered in the surrounding area add an original finishing touch to meticulously produced dishes. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant and hotel in a village. At the foot of the Alps, close to Lake Orta – one of the most romantic places in the Padan Plain – Chef Luisa Marelli has created a stellar reputation for her celebrated cuisine. This self-taught former humanities student has forged her culinary style by scouring cookery books and experimenting, with the help of her husband, Angelo Valazza. She describes it as “a combination of Piedmont, Mediterranean and international influences, brought together and inspired by the mountains” where she loves to walk. Ingredients like the white Alba truffles and the porcini mushrooms come from there: potato with eggs and served with white truffles is a delight not to be missed. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant in the country. You have to go back to 1815 to find the first Vivalda at the helm of this typical Italian restaurant whose reputation has been handed down from generation to generation for more than 200 years. Chef Gian Piero Vivalda is heir to this tradition. His cuisine, which is deeply rooted in the Piedmont region, draws on the very best of local ingredients: game and vegetables and herbs from the cottage garden, for traditional recipes such as foie gras with Madernassa pears and ravioli with ceps and white Alba truffles during the season, to which he gives a modern twist. The sense of family and the authentic ambiance of this historic property add to its charm. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant in the country. Chef Gaetano Trovato trained with the very best chefs in Europe and has returned to his native Tuscany to prepare cuisine using organic produce, imbuing the authentic flavours of the Crete Senesi with a contemporary spirit. “Territory and Quest” and “Contemporary Moments” are two seasonal menu suggestions. The menu features fresh pasta of the day, milk-fed veal raised in the hills of Siena, as well as langoustines, prawns and fish from the Tyrrhenian coast; a feast for the eyes and the palate. Expert sommelier Giovanni Trovato will guide you through a wine list featuring 600 vintages from Tuscany and further afield. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in the mountains. This sleek, modern building, perched at an altitude of 1 622 metres, almost takes a back seat to the magnificence of the landscape. Yet, inside, its beauty is apparent: tree trunks, raw timber and light colours make for a resolutely contemporary style, from its large guest rooms to its superb dining room which is fully glazed, light-drenched and offers panoramic views of the Dolomites – the perfect setting to savour Heinrich Schneider’s refined cuisine, prepared with ingredients from the South Tyrol. His sister, Gisela, a sommelier, is the other half of the partnership at the helm of this property which was created by their parents and has recently been refurbished. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in the mountains. Located in the heart of an estate populated by chamois, ibex, marmots and grazing cows, the Hotel Bellevue & Spa is a veritable pearl embedded at the foot of the Gran Paradiso glacier. The atmosphere in this old mansion is unique, with a stunning location, a very special décor and a long history. Its three restaurants serve authentic local ingredients, along with fragrant herbs from the hotel’s own cottage garden. Its new wellness area (1,200 m2) welcomes you with its grottoes, waterfalls and old chalets. It offers the privilege of relaxing in a setting which combines the beauty of the mountains and alpine culture with the joy of plunging into hot spring waters. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant on the seafront. There is an eternal, timeless beauty to the Gulf of Naples, with its jagged coast and deep-blue sea, and the Vesuvius rising in the background. In the most picturesque corner of Sorrento, the Bellevue Syrene was opened in 1820, having been originally designed in 1750 as a private residence built on the foundations of a Roman villa. The location, decor, comfort and sense of history at this hotel make it an extraordinary place. The fishponds full of water lilies evoke the Roman times, while frescos painted as a tribute to famous guests adorn the walls. The recent refurbishment of the hotel has balanced respect for the glorious past with contemporary comfort. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in the country. The luxuriant green countryside of Umbria, the “Garden of Italy”, is the perfect setting for this ancient mediaeval fortress. It is an impressive collection of neo-Gothic buildings, a Baroque chapel, surrounded by parkland planted with trees over one hundred years old and an olive grove, which offers outstanding hospitality. Outside, the infinity pool, the flower-bedecked courtyards and the shaded paths offer a cool haven of peace. Inside, the contemporary décor of the rooms and the elegance of the lounges also combine to create a wonderfully relaxing atmosphere. The restaurant serves traditional dishes in a vaulted dining room or on a terrace overlooking the hills. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant on the seafront. The hotel, perched on a cliff over the sea in a breathtaking position in Capri, offers from everywhere one of the most beautiful views in the world. Once a summer house of a Russian Prince, it is now a boutique hotel with an exquisite décor much loved by King Farouk of Egypt who was booking his suite for the year. Here you can enjoy the stunning infinity pool overlooking the Bay of Naples, the flavours of the restaurant with one of the best views on the island, the piano on the terrace at sunset and the wonderful gardens. Feel welcome to the land of aesthetes and start discovering the blue legend of Capri! ... Learn moreless
Restaurant in the country. Childhood friends Maurizio Menichetti and Chef Valeria Piccini opened this restaurant in 1987 on the very same premises where Maurizio’s parents once had a trattoria, in one of the stone houses overlooking the medieval village of Montemerano. Valeria’s outstanding cuisine quickly became one of the most renowned in the country, due to dishes that sing the praises of the region. The Caino, with its nine tables for only eighteen covers, has the intimate atmosphere of an authentic Tuscan restaurant. In an Italy where female chefs are increasingly prominent, this unique gourmet spot is an absolute must. ... Learn moreless