Sextantio Albergo Diffuso
What We Love
- Rate includes buffet breakfast
- The sense of living in a real Italian village
- Authentic medieval architecture — but with huge bathtubs and discreet air conditioning
- Spectacular views of the surrounding national park and mountains
- The hotel’s restaurants serve seasonal dishes from traditional local recipes
- A visit here helps preserve the cultural heritage of Abruzzo
- Lots of hiking, biking, wildlife spotting and skiing in the surrounding park
- The breakfast buffet is excellent, with homemade cakes, local cheeses and even prosciutto carved on demand
What To Know
- This is a remote village (93 miles from Rome)
- The authentic experience means no in-room TVs or minibars
- There’s no pool, spa or fitness center
- This isn’t the place for nightlife; everything closes around 11 p.m.
- Not all rooms have showers, but the huge stand-alone baths are lovely
- The altitude means evenings can get chilly, even in summer
- Couples will enjoy the incredibly romantic setting, but there are lots of outdoor activities suitable for families with older children as well
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
With a stay at Sextantio Albergo Diffuso in Santo Stefano di Sessanio, you’ll be in the historical district and within the region of Campo Imperatore Observatory and Museo Nazionale d’Abruzzo. This 4-star hotel is within the region of Campo Imperatore Gondola and Forte Spagnolo.
Make yourself at home in one of the 27 individually decorated guestrooms. Complimentary wireless Internet access is available to keep you connected. Private bathrooms with bathtubs or showers feature bidets and hair dryers. Conveniences include phones, as well as complimentary bottled water and a turndown service.
Pamper yourself with onsite massages or enjoy recreation amenities such as bicycles to rent. This hotel also features complimentary wireless Internet access, babysitting/childcare (surcharge), and wedding services.
You can enjoy a meal at a restaurant serving the guests of Sextantio Albergo Diffuso, or find a snack in a coffee shop/café. Quench your thirst with your favorite drink at a bar/lounge.
Featured amenities include express check-in, express check-out, and a 24-hour front desk. A roundtrip airport shuttle is provided for a surcharge (available on request).
How to Get There
The hotel concept is to give the traveler a feel for life a hundred years ago. Although I respect and greatly considered the restoration of a Medieval castle village in the area of earthquakes some 9 years ago a grand and worthy project, and staying there as a role we could play to help the area, I would never go back again, sadly. Yet, there is good possibility for the hotel to improve the guest experience. I sincerely felt the owners were convinced they were doing everything right. However, at this point, the greatest lack is the comfort of the guests.
Arriving at the small village of Sessanio is spectacular, a high mountain village forgotten in time. This is the best part of the "special experience."
The hotel does not lack concept or idea, it lacks modern comfort.
Although many aspects of technology existed there, like under floor heating, internet, etc. they choose to leave out what I feel makes one want to come back, a little bit of pleasure.
Beds: great, they wanted to show how people created mattresses from wool in the old traditional way, but they are so uncomfortable I slept zero hours. They are placed on a hard piece of wood, and are about 5 inches thick, as hard and authentic an experience one can get, but, in that case I should have slept no the floor. The linens were very nice, but did not make up for the mattress. These defiantly belong in a museum.
Lighting: vertically non- existent. I could not read a book. Sure, people used candles back in the day, but they didn't have contact lenses. Modern people need lights and good mirrors, and this hotel offered none of that, at least in our room.
When I could not read my book in my room, I decided to go to the tea room, it was closed around 5-6 pm.
Bathroom: not exactly back in the day, very modern but poorly designed. No doors, very little privacy, shower and toilet crammed into a 2.5 ft. space behind the bed, the wonderful bed I will never forget.
Dinner: we booked dinner at the hotel after a long drive, and again, although the owners tried to make it look and feel like a hundred years ago, it still felt a little Disney World. Wall effects, we were said to be original, they were not. Floors, not original, in fact, when the buildings were built it is doubtful they had floors, and if so, would have been stone, and they would not have had heating underneath.I have restored a 1000 year old home and know all the tricks, so yes, the building of course is Medieval, but the interior wall finishes and ceilings are new, made to look old. So, I would have appreciated them being more truthful about the restoration, although, again, I do think they are convinced it is perfect.
Chairs at the dinner table, again, they totally abondoned hospitality rules of the comfort of the guests. Not for everyone, for sure.
We spent two nights at this magical place. Sextantio is an amazing project - an abandoned town in the mountains of Abruzzo that is being exquisitely restored with sensitivity to the past and inclusion of the comforts of today. "Diffuso" means that the rooms are in various restored houses throughout the small town. The appearance is incredible - walk into your room and you are surrounded by original stone walls, fireplaces that bear the signs of use throughout the centuries, coffered wooden ceilings and hand woven bed coverings. Modern comfort has not been forgotten - the bathrooms, while still having their original walls and floors, have all the modern conveniences (including incredible water pressure!) The staff is top notch - from the moment we made our reservation, we received offers of assistance in planning our trip. Once we arrived at Sextantio, the lovely women at the desk (Flavia and Denise) answered our every question and were available throughout our stay for assistance. The stay here was truly magical.
I do have to comment on some of the negative reviews here. For those who say the mattresses are uncomfortable, it is clear in the hotel information and on the website that they are wool mattresses, made as they would have been centuries ago. That said, they are very comfortable. I like a very firm bed, so I was in heaven. My husband prefers a softer mattress, but he slept like a baby at Sextantio. Also, there are comments regarding the ongoing construction. Well, yes, the project is ongoing - can you imagine how long it takes to restore even one ancient home with modern comforts such as electricity, plumbing, local codes, etc.? I forgot to mention, the aforesaid renovation provides the rooms with fantastic underfloor heating that is warm and comfy on the toes.
In sum, this is not a theme park nor is it a Marriott. It's a genius project by a group of Italians who are striving to reclaim the past in a small, gorgeous village in Italy that had been abandoned for centuries. The goal is to highlight the past in some of the places in Italy that are not on the usual touristic path. They've done a fabulous job, and I can't imagine not appreciating that and loving the experience.
We stayed at this hotel for one night in what they call 'the honeymoon suite' - it was exceptional - unique hotel - unlike anything we've ever stayed in before.
The food and service were top notch. We ate at the tea room as well as their cantina.
This is not your 'typical' hotel - it's a 5 star hotel with a bit of a twist in that they have attempted to provide their guests with an authentic experience by providing amenities that are as authentic to the original as possible.... powder toothpaste, limited lighting, wood burning fireplace, wool mattress..... We would return to this incredible village and stay in this hotel again. Highly recommend it.
We stayed here for one night, for my birthday, on what turned out to be a national holiday in Italy. That meant that when we arrived, the village was pretty busy, but as evening came it emptied out and was almost deserted (apart from some rather territorial cats, who made themselves heard in the early hours!). That was great in a way - very atmospheric and lovely to walk round, especially in the early morning, but the downside was that there was no alternative to the hotel, its wine cellar and restaurant. That wasn't a problem in that we'd booked a meal package, but getting an evening drink wasn't that easy - the staff in the wine cellar were clearly fed up and pretty unfriendly/unhelpful which made for an unpleasant feeling. The meal was good - albeit the stew was essentially a Lancashire hotpot (showing there's clearly a similarity in 'local' food across countries), with fairly spartan, rather chewy lamb - but other elements of the meal were better. Breakfast was a cold buffet - good selection of items - but getting a second coffee proved a challenge as the one person working tried to remain as out of sight as possible (we weren't the only ones with this problem!).
The room, however, made up for these minor gripes. It was really thoughtfully decorated, and had a real fireplace. Despite it being mild, we lit the fire at night - and got far too hot - but it was worth it! The welcome drink of local fortified wine was also a lovely touch. The view from the passageway to the room was amazing, as was that from the 'bathroom area' and the area around the village is well worth visiting. Yes, there's scaffolding in the village, but hardly suprising in light of the magnitude of the earthquake that destroyed a lot of it.
As a concept, the Sextantio is superb - and I'd definately recommend it - but maybe not during a national holiday?!
Writing this because I’ve just seen it on the BBC travel show and it didn’t match with my experience so thought I’d share a different view. Extremely uncomfortable beds (read a previous review and took a lilo which helped a bit but not much!). Food in the hotels restaurant was pretty poor - you expect more in Italy, and breakfast was also not good and very repetitive. We were there for 5 nights (only managed 4 before leaving early), and ate at other restaurants but all were not really up to what you’d expect from rural Italy. As it’s a diffuso, the hotel is spread out which results in there being no real outside space to sit. It would have been nice to have somewhere to have a drink or just sit and read a book as the rooms are very dark, but there wasn’t anywhere. Lots of scaffolding and building going on at the moment. We didn’t find much to do there - no cooking classes obviously available and truffle hunting was hugely expensive so didn’t do it. The place is, or will be visually stunning, the staff were very helpful, and the surrounding mountains are really beautiful, but one night - two max would be enough to get a feel for what it would have been like, and after that the cons definitely outweigh the pros.