Southern Italy has some of the most country’s beautiful beaches dotting its scenic coastlines. It also offers iconic archaeological and historical sites, mouth-watering regional cuisine, and the promise of warm weather throughout much of the year.
The ancestors of many Americans and Canadians hailed from the southern regions of Italy—which include Abruzzo, Puglia, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Molise, and the islands of Sicily and Sardinia.
Travel writer and broadcast journalist Rick Steves has said: “If you like Italy as far south as Rome, go farther south because it gets better. But if Italy is getting on your nerves by the time you get to Rome, don’t go farther south, it gets worse. Italy intensifies as you plunge deeper.”
The following new hotel openings will give tourists one more reason to head south on their next journey to Italy:
1) Castle Elvira
Town: Trepuzzi (province of Lecce)
After it had been abandoned for more than 100 years, entrepreneur Steve Riseley acquired Castle Elvira and spent three years transforming it into a luxury residence. Set on 37 acres of private parkland, the property offers sweeping views of the area, including citrus and olive groves.
The castle will have four en-suite guest rooms, two with lounge areas. Two additional guest bedrooms are housed in a neighboring groundskeeper’s cottage. Amenities include a swimming pool, a 12-person jacuzzi, rooftop aperitivo bar, and an onsite cafe serving Cucina Povera Salentina cuisine made with locally-sourced ingredients.
Riseley worked closely with architects Filotico & Partner and a team of specialist artisans to restore the Castle. The design maintains many of the castle’s original features while introducing new elements that respect its fairytale past. The property will also feature many curated artworks, including a selection of new pieces by Riseley’s artist-husband Harvey B-Brown’s Adored and Adorned collection.
Scheduled opening: May 2022
2) Borgo Santandrea
Town: Amalfi (province of Salerno)
Borgo Santandrea is the first new luxury hotel to open on the Amalfi coast in 15 years. Built on a cliff with magnificent views of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the fisherman’s hamlet of Conca dei Marini, it has a private beach, jetty, and oceanfront pool.
The intimate, recently renovated property has 26 full-service rooms and 19 luxurious suites with panoramic views of the blue waters. A tasteful white and blue palette showcases local craftsmanship from Amalfitano artisans with hand-painted tiles, antique furniture, and hand-crafted pieces. Landscape gardeners from Ischia created a series of garden terraces filled with plants that are typical of the coastline including olive, lemon, and pomegranate trees, winter jasmine, and Myrtus communis dating back 150 years.
The intimate hotel also has a fitness center, three restaurants under the direction of Executive Chef Crescenzo Scotti, and two bars.
3) Conrad Chia Laguna Sardinia
Conrad Chia Laguna Sardinia is the luxury brand’s first hotel in Italy (Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean.) The resort is surrounded by sand dunes, and coastal flora and fauna. Located just steps away from the turquoise waters, guests have complimentary access to private, reserved VIP areas at Cogoni Beach.
The rooms, suites, restaurants, and pools of this 107-room resort have panoramic views across the bay and lagoon. Studio Marco Piva of Milan has decorated the rooms using natural fabrics and soothing tones of green and blue, coupling modern design with local indigenous materials. The inviting lobby features wall coverings of traditional Sardinian fabrics and furniture decorated with nautical ropes.
4) Baglioni Masseria Muzza
Town: Otranto (province of Lecce)
The 40 rooms and suites at Baglioni Masseria Muzza, the newest property from Baglioni Hotels & Resorts, are bright and airy. This traditional, whitewashed limestone masseria (farmhouse) dates back to the 17th century. Located only a few minutes from the coastal town of Otranto and the Salento Sea, it is nestled in the countryside amidst five acres of olive groves and Mediterranean flora.
Bathed in natural colors, the spacious guest rooms are decorated in a traditional Puglia style that blends casual with elegant. With a specialized kids club and dedicated children’s pool, the resort is poised to attract families. Parents will enjoy relaxing at the Baglioni spa (with a steam bath, covered pool, Finnish sauna, sensory showers, and more) or playing a round of golf at the Acaya Golf Club, one of the most scenic in Italy. The drive to the nearby Baroque city of Lecce is just about one-half hour.
Everyone will enjoy gathering for meals at one of three restaurants on the property that serve authentic, locally-sourced Pugliese cuisine. Sipping an aperitivo at sunset or after-dinner cocktail at the Limonaia Bar is the perfect way to end the day.
Scheduled opening May 2022
5) San Domenico Palace, A Four Seasons Hotel
The San Domenico Palace, a Four Seasons Hotel sits on a rocky promontory above the Ionian Sea in Taormina, on the eastern shores of Sicily. The site offers panoramic views of Mount Etna and the Teatro Antico di Taormina, an ancient Greco-Roman theater still used today. The hotel was once a 14th-century Dominican convent; an additional Grand Hotel Wing was added in 1896. Guest rooms and public spaces feature original architectural and artistic treasures.
The property has 111 guest rooms and suites; many have terraces overlooking the sea. The specialty suites are perfect for families or groups of friends, offering separate living and sleeping spaces. In addition to dining at Principe Cerami, the hotel’s signature restaurant helmed by chef Massimo Mantarro, guests can arrange 24-hour, in-room dining or enjoy Mediterranean seafood at the poolside terrace at Anciovi.
The hotel offers a curated selection of “Only in Sicily” experiences to allow guests to experience the authentic character of the island, including treks to Mount Etna, lunch at a winery, or a visit to the medieval village of Castiglione di Sicilia.
6) Hotel La Palma, Capri
Island: Capri (off the coast of Naples, reached by ferry, hydrofoil or helicopter)
The original Locanda Pagano, the first and oldest hotel on the island, dated back to 1822. Now the Oetker Collection and owners, Reuben Brothers, are transforming this exclusive property, reducing the number of units from 80 to 50 rooms. Each of the rooms, which include 18 suites, will have its own private balcony or terrace.
The iconic property is located in the heart of Capri, just around the corner from Piazza Umberto I (known as the Piazzetta) and close to must-visit natural attractions like the Blue Grotto. Noted designer Francis Sultana will be re-envisioning the guest room interiors (as well as the hotel lobby, restaurants, swimming pool, and spa) working alongside Francesco Delogu of Delogu Architecture and a team of Italian craftsmen and local artisans.
Gennaro’s restaurant, bar, and terrace will be helmed by Chef Gennaro Esposito who owned a two-Michelin star restaurant, Torre del Saracino, for more than two decades. The hotel’s La Palma Beach Club and its famous beaches are located at Marina Piccola, just a short drive from the hotel.
Scheduled opening Summer 2022