Eremo della Giubiliana
In this ex-convent, decadent luxury is the name of the game. This glorious stone estate dates back to the 12th century. It served as a monk’s cell and an Arab country home, so it’s part of Sicily‘s fantastically mixed history. It’s full of lush, verdant lemon groves and beautifully quaint little cottages dotted over the ample green space. Each lodging comes with a private garden, fireplace and period furnishings. The hotel’s private beach is a slice of Mediterranean paradise. You’ll also get a taste of this incredible island through the traditional Sicilian dishes prepared with the organic fruits and vegetables produced right on the grounds.
Castello delle Quattro Torra, Siena
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This beautiful four-towered castle in Tuscan is just a 15 minute drive from Siena and half an hour from Florence, making it both accessible and attractively removed from all that hustle and bustle. The place has been carefully restored to keep intact the beautiful brickwork, the high ceilings and terracotta flooring. There’s a welcoming, intimate atmosphere, and the staff is very helpful with booking tours or day trips around the area. The nearby farmhouse restaurant owned by the same family is a gem.
Driving up to this gorgeous building by boat and stepping through its Grand Canal entrance will make you feel like instant aristocracy, even if you were born a mere commoner. It’s a 15th century nobleman’s house, built at a time when Venice was the heart of a vast and enormously wealthy empire. You can still smell the residue of all that power in the opulent period rooms, up the grandiose marble staircase and throughout each of the magnificently furnished suites. Art lovers will delight in discovering hidden masterpieces, and food lovers will be charmed by the restaurant, which serves up Venetian cuisine at its most refined. Activities include trips to the nearby islands of Murano and Burano and cooking classes with the chef that also include an excursion to the famous Rialto Market.
Hotel Schloss Korb
In the northern region of the Südtirol, there’s a distinct culture that’s kind of a mix between Italian and Austro-Hungarian. This castle is a Tyrolese dream nestled in a pristine landscape. You’ll have a glorious view of the jagged peaks of the Dolomites and the little towns below. The hills around the castle are covered with vineyards, and the owners produce their own wine here, so be sure to pay the wine bunker a visit.
Castel di Luco
This beautiful fortress set in the Umbrian countryside is surrounded by a forest with winding footpaths and olive groves, perfect for exploring. The outdoor pool is complemented by whirlpools in some of the rooms. The hotel offers activities like truffle hunting and horseback riding. It’s a medieval daydream, especially when the castle’s quirky owner, Carlo Sagrini, sits down to dine with his guests, bringing out stories of the castle’s past.