Though Italy has been eagerly welcoming Americans back to its historic villages and rural landscapes, crowds are still smaller than they had been pre-pandemic. That means easier canal hopping in Venice and stretches of the Amalfi you can actually spread your towel on. To get ready for the return of travel, Italy spared no time making sure they reopened with their A-game: a selection of spanking new places to stay that will have even the most fervent travelers admitting they were worth waiting a year for. Here, the top five new hotels in Italy worth visiting right now.
Ca’ di Dio, Venice
This former Venetian palace dating back to 1272 is tucked away in the artsy Arsenale district overlooking a canal. The sophisticated Ca’ di Dio, meaning house of God in the local dialect, has been reimagined by Spanish architect Patricia Urquiola, who also lent her knack for making traditional spaces feel modern to the Il Sereno in Como. Opening on August 1, expect all the pomp of a five-star address combined with the soulful craftsmanship of local artisans like wrought iron, stones, and Murano glass. Some of the 57 suites and 9 rooms look onto the San Giorgio Maggiore island, also the view for gourmand restaurant VERO, which sources its veggies straight from the courtyard garden. Following a neighborhood art crawl or a dip into Pura spa, practice your Italian over a Cobalt Blue cocktail at on-site Alchemia.
Castello di Reschio, Umbria
The thousand-year-old Castello di Reschio opened as a hotel in May after years of anticipation. This former home once belonging to the Bichi Ruspoli family was thoughtfully restored by second-generation owner and architect Count Benedikt Bolza of studio B.B. for Reschio in the heart of central Umbria. From the interior design and bespoke furniture to the landscaping, every detail of this 36-room hotel has been overseen by the count himself. To complement the stone-carved fireplaces and antique artworks, his artist wife Donna Nencia’s unique trompe l’oeil speaks to the 3,700-acre estate’s storied history. The farm-to-table dining options buzz with their own honey, wine, and olive oil, including elegant Ristorante Al Castello, converted watchtower Il Torrino overlooking the swimming pool, and laid-back Ristorante Alle Scuderie. If the bucolic views don’t lull you, Roman-style spa certainly will.
Villa Igiea, Palermo
Dating back to 1900, Art Nouveau palazzo Villa Igiea took on a new life in June. The passion project led by brother and sister duo Sir Rocco Forte and Olga Polizzi of Rocco Forte Hotels has returned the grandeur to this iconic address overlooking the Gulf of Palermo. Each of the 78 rooms and 22 suites have contemporary design, locally crafted details, and antique elements. Sea views are a bonus. According to Chef Fulvio Pierangelini, all three restaurants—Florio Restaurant, the Igiea Terrazza Bar, and the Alicetta Pool Bar—“embody family, generosity, and femininity.” Take your pick of fried Sicilian specialties and focaccia baked in the outdoor oven while swooning over frescoes by Palermo artist Eugenio (Geno) Morici.
San Domenico Palace, Sicily
A 14th-century Dominican convent turned hotel whose highbrow guests included Baron Rothschild, Oscar Wilde, and D.H. Lawrence and later sultry stars Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, and Sophia Loren, the classic San Domenico Palace reads like a novel. The Four Seasons is writing its next chapter, after the iconic global brand took over on the hotel’s 125th anniversary on July 1. Perched high on a cliff in Sicily’s scenic town of Taormina, dramatic Mount Etna looms in the distance. Lush gardens surround the 111 rooms and suites—all dressed in simple sophistication with some decked out in terraces and plunge pools. Feast on Sicilian-born executive chef Massimo Mantarro’s signature dish of spaghetti al nero di seppia (homemade spaghetti with cuttlefish) at Principe Cerami, named for the hotel’s first owner. Dining options also include poolside restaurant Anciovi and terraced Rosso, the latter a tribute to the convent’s benefactor.
Il Tornabuoni, Florence
Named for the street it so majestically occupies, regal Il Tornabuoni’s new life within 12th century Palazzo Minerbetti fuses with the old. Opening on September 1 just steps away from Ponte Vecchio, each of this ritzy hotel’s five bold, color-infused floors pays homage to Florence’s Renaissance period. You can peep the Duomo or Brunelleschi’s famous dome from one of the 62 rooms and suites. If that’s not temptation enough, rooftop restaurant Lucie Gourmet overlooks Santa Maria Novella while Il Magnifico Café & Champagne Bar caters to bubbles. Il Magnifico Restaurant & Bistrot helmed by chef Massimiliano Mandozzi serves up local favorites including cavolo nero (Tuscan black kale), cannellini beans, and Sienese maialino (pork) within an avant-garde mood to match.