The 10 Dreamiest Hotels Along the Italian Coast
Italy has 4,720 miles of coastline and some of the world’s most gorgeous beaches, so it’s no wonder that some of the country’s most glamorous hotels sit on the sea. From Venice in the north to Sardinia in the south, these are the coastal hotels that will have you dreaming about a trip to Italy.
An avid Italophile, Laura is always on the hunt for the next great travel trends, luxury hotels, best places to eat and drink, and hidden gems. Her writing has appeared in dozens of publications. She also co-wrote "New York: Hidden Bars and Restaurants," an award-winning guide to the city's speakeasy scene.
There are few properties in the world as iconic as Le Sirenuse, which first opened in 1951 as a simple guesthouse in the quiet fishing village of Positano and became an international symbol of la dolce vita. Located just steps from the town center and a few minutes from the beach, this member of Leading Hotels of the World boasts jaw-dropping views of Positano’s colorful buildings and the Mediterranean. Though the hotel still has antiques and original painted tiles, the Sersale family continues to update it, adding contemporary art and other improvements like the al fresco Franco’s Bar. Whatever you do, don’t skip breakfast—the buffet is a feast for both the eyes and the stomach.
Just an hour from Positano, the town of Ravello features some of the best views on the Amalfi Coast, thanks to its enviable position high on a cliff. Palazzo Avino—also a member of Leading Hotels of the World—stands like a pink palace on a promontory, its tiered gardens seeming to spill out over the sea. After dinner at the Michelin-starred Rosselini’s Restaurant, ask the sommelier for a tour of the wine cellar, which is one of the best in the region.
Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria
Overlooking the port of Sorrento—the gateway to the Amalfi Coast—this historic grand dame feels like something out of a Wes Anderson film. The property has been run by the Fiorentino family since 1834 and has hosted Oscar Wilde, Richard Wagner, and the tenor Enrico Caruso, who has a suite dedicated to him. If you stay here, head to the terrace for an Aperol Spritz while watching the sun set over the sea.
Modeled after a traditional Puglian village, Borgo Egnazia comprises a main building, six restaurants (including the Michelin-starred Due Camini), three pools, a golf course, and 28 casette (little houses) built around a piazza that are particularly great for groups and families. Perfect days here involve taking the shuttle to the beach club Cala Masciola and enjoying seafood specialties overlooking the Adriatic. During the summer, the property hosts a series of festivals where you can hear live music and participate in folk dances like the pizzico and the tarantella.
Masseria Torre Maizza
Just a few minutes away from Borgo Egnazia is the Masseria Torre Maizza, an intimate hotel inside a historic Puglian farmhouse. The Rocco Forte group, which is behind some of Europe’s top hotels (including Rome’s Hotel de Russie) renovated the 16th-century structure and the result is coastal-chic: there are just 40 rooms, an al fresco restaurant overlooking the pool, and cozy nooks where you can sit and sip an Aperol Spritz under the shade of bougainvilleas.
Baglioni Hotel Cala del Porto
Though Tuscany is known more for its rolling hills and vineyards than its coastline, the Maremma is a bit of a hidden gem. Unlike the highly developed Amalfi Coast, this part of Italy is wilder: once you leave the marina of Punta Ala, you’ll find beaches bordered by forests and rocky cliffs. Discover this part of Tuscany during a stay at Baglioni Resort Cala del Porto, which feels more like a friend’s seaside retreat than a luxury resort. Spend your days sunbathing and swimming at the property’s beach club or charter a yacht to explore the surrounding coves.
Hotel Cala di Volpe
Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda attracts VIPs and high rollers with private yachts, but without the Hotel Cala di Volpe, it might never have developed that way. The 121-room property was built in 1963 as part of a master plan for Sardinia’s northeastern coast, and the design—all whitewashed walls, ceramic tiles, and handcrafted furniture made from local materials—is as timeless and beautiful as ever (and the perfect romantic backdrop for Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me.)
Belmond Hotel Cipriani
Floating on Giudecca Island in the lagoon of Venice, this legendary hotel has hosted movie stars, aristocrats, and even royalty. Giuseppe Cipriani opened it in 1956, but the glamorous pink palazzo dates back to the 15th century. After a day of exploring the city, guests can take the hotel’s complimentary boat service from Piazza San Marco and retreat to the hotel’s quiet gardens to escape the crowds. If you go, be sure to order a Bellini—Cipriani invented the now-classic cocktail—and take a dip in the property’s Olympic-size pool.
Belmond Hotel Grand Timeo
The Sicilian city of Taormina is known for its ancient Roman amphitheater and its privileged position on a hill overlooking the sea. The town was a stop on the Grand Tour, and the Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo was the place to stay. In fact, it hosted literary icons like Tennessee Williams, Henry Faulkner, and DH Lawrence. Though you’re not likely to run into them during your stay, a drink on the hotel’s Literary Terrace will show you why they loved this place so much.
Albergo della Regina Isabella
This storied grand dame on the island of Ischia—Capri’s more low-key sister island—was built by publisher and movie producer Angelo Rizzoli in 1956 to host his famous friends. (Elizabeth Taylor stayed here with Richard Burton and has a suite named after her.) Guests still come for the thermal spa, which dispenses mud treatments and has pools that draw from the island’s mineral-rich thermal waters. After a treatment, indulge in a meal at the Michelin-starred Indaco restaurant, where you can dine on sea-to-table specialties like razor shells in cous cous or sea urchin caprice while overlooking the bay.
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