Ah, lovers in Italy – Dante & Beatrice, Cleopatra & Julius Caesar (and for that matter – Cleopatra & Mark Antony), Romeo & Juliet, Lord Byron and the very married Teresa Guiccioli. And fictional ones, too, like those in Roman Holiday, Call Me By Your Name, Il Postino, and my all-time favorite love story – Cinema Paradiso.
To me, Italy = love.
So here’s a special treat for your romantic dreams. We’ve been celebrating all things Italy and love this entire month. And for today, this St. Valentine’s Day, we wanted to offer a special Romance Edition of our favorite Italian hotels to relish love, beauty, and romance.
St. Valentine was a Roman, by the way. He died there sometime in the late third century. Legend has it that Valentine healed the daughter of his jailor, a nobleman, of her blindness. Some say he was jailed because he performed weddings for lovers against the wishes of the powers that be. In his letters to her, he signed them “From your Valentine.” It was centuries ago, so the reality is murky. But he’s been associated with this day to celebrate lovers since at least the fourteenth century.
His legacy, whoever he was, lives on. And we celebrate all types of love here today – love among friends, love amid families, and the love of lovers and those who haven’t given up on love.
Here are some very special properties for you to add to your list ::
Splendido, A Belmond Hotel, Portofino
A rare escape on the Ligurian Coast, the Splendido is connected to sister property Splendido Mare by a scenic walking path and a shuttle service. Most of the elegantly furnished rooms and suites have stunning views of Portofino Bay. Guests can relax by the heated seawater swimming pool, or enjoy an open-air massage in a secluded corner of the hotel’s tropical garden. This year, the hotel has consolidated its partnership with Dior: serene tiered gardens overlooking the shimmering Portofino bay is the setting for two Dior spa gazebos, offering skincare treatments and especially-designed techniques.
Standing proudly in the quaint lakeside village of Moltrasio just fifteen minutes from Como town, Passalacqua, a private home since 1787, has been transformed into a once-in-a-century hotel. Each of the 24 unique accommodations, housed either in the grand Villa, the ancient Palazzo, or the romantic Casa al Lago, embodies the enviable lakeside lifestyle that has made Lake Como so beloved through the ages.
The mansion boasts seven acres of lush gardens across eight scenic terraces leading down to the lakeshore, its mature trees and stately palms framing the blue expanse sparkling below. Nestled among the gardens, burbling fountains, and centuries-old trees, guests can enjoy a panoramic swimming pool, an open-air gym in the olive grove, a lakeside tennis court, movie nights under the stars, and much more.
The lavish wellness program is designed to restore the mind, body, and soul, offering relaxation and treatment rooms with rituals inspired by the lake’s magic. Meanwhile, their unique approach to dining invites guests to enjoy Italian delicacies when, where and just the way they like. A variety of relaxed dining spaces indoors and out for a farm-to-table exclusive experience.
Each day, the Tuscan sunlight illuminates their crystal-clear blue bay, infusing the guests with a sense of delicious wonder. The pristine cove sheltered by rugged cliffs, the romance and spontaneity, Hollywood and high society came to relax in privacy. In 1979, Roberto Sciò fell in love with the hotel’s beauty and bought it. Today, his daughter and creative Director Marie-Louise keep that Pellicano style right up to date, a combination of freewheeling spirit and old-school polish. Guests can jump on a speedboat from their pontoon, climb the Argentario hillside just above Il Pellicano, tour local wineries, or saunter across the countryside.
It’s no surprise that Il Pelicano is famed for its sprezzatura. “Sprezzatura” is an Italian term originating from Baldassare Castiglione’s The Book of the Courtier. (My mom wrote her master’s thesis on that book!) The term embodies a certain nonchalance, making whatever one does or says appear without effort and almost without thought.
Grand Hotel A Villa Feltrinelli
This place is one where time seems to have stopped to make space just for your trips. It’s like stepping back in time to a place where everything is truly as it once was, simply charming. Conde Nast Traveler describes the Villas as “an unabashedly extravagant grand dame, with stories to tell.” Sitting on Lake Garda, Villa Feltrinelli embodies so much history. DH Lawrence wrote love letters here. Mussolini ruled Italy from there. Churchill painted watercolors. The food is outstanding with a two-Michelin-starred restaurant. The nearby village Gargano also offers a Michelin-starred restaurant, La Tortuga. The elegance is very exclusive and void of logos or branding. Barely a sign exists on the gates.
Cipriani, A Belmond Hotel, Venice
Hotel Cipriani, a Belmond Hotel, is set amid lush gardens and vineyards on peaceful Giudecca Island, just five minutes from Saint Mark’s Square via the private courtesy launch. The sumptuous accommodations capture the essence of Venice with Murano glass, antique mirrors, and fabrics by Fortuny and Rubelli. Guests can dine on the wooden terrace of the Cip’s Club restaurant, facing the Doge’s Palace, or in the stunning Michelin-starred Oro Restaurant.
Giuseppe Cipriani founded the hotel on leafy Giudecca Island, just five minutes from St Mark’s Square. Giuseppe also founded Harry’s Bar and invented the peachy Bellini cocktail. (This is why Belmond’s preferred partner program is called The Bellini Club!)
Shortly after opening the Cipriani in 1958, he welcomed glamorous guests from Yves Saint Laurent to Sophia Loren. It was also Giuseppe who, unwittingly, created the largest outdoor swimming pool in central Venice. A mix-up over measurements saw the hotelier planning in feet while the architect worked in meters. This happy mistake is just one of the aspects that makes Hotel Cipriani so extraordinary. Others include the fragrant gardens, where Casanova used to arrange his trysts.
Borgo Egnazia is a visionary interpretation of a Puglian village, a “nowhere else” place embodying the true essence of Puglia. Located in Savelletri di Fasano, among millennial olive groves beside the blue Adriatic Sea, it is open all year and offers a beguiling portfolio of rooms, casettas, and villas.
This beautiful property features Vair, the tradition-based spa, and San Domenico Golf Club, one of the best courses in Italy. With four sparkling pools (two heated), nearby beaches, paddle and tennis courts, cookery school, kids’ and teens’ clubs, and “nowhere else” experiences, this hotel offers something for all types of travelers.
Borgo Santo Pietro
Out of the way and out of this world, Relais Borgo Santo Pietro is the Tuscan retreat of your dreams. Follow a cypress-lined drive to this romantic 20-room boutique hotel and 270-acre estate, where luxury meets seclusion with sumptuous private gardens and pool suites.
You can amble among 13 acres of gardens, lounge by the infinity-edge pool with views over the Valle Serena, take a stroll through the farm and vineyard, or enjoy a spa treatment made using freshly picked ingredients. The farm-to-plate approach is showcased at Trattoria Sull’Albero and Michelin-starred Saporium restaurant. Guests can also learn kitchen secrets at the on-site cooking school.
Caruso, A Belmond Hotel, Amalfi Coast
It’s easy to see why Ravello, and the entire Amalfi Coast, have inspired the likes of Richard Wagner, D.H. Lawrence, and Gore Vidal. The Caruso has long been a favorite of discerning globetrotters. Just 50 guest rooms and suites make for an intimate ambiance, and most of the rooms have a sea view, terrace, or private garden. Outside, the infinity-edge swimming pool sits dramatically suspended between sea and sky. Join the head gardener for a private tour of the terraced gardens and enjoy the complimentary boat cruise along the Amalfi Coast, then reserve a romantic candlelit dinner at the open-air Ristorante Belvedere.
I can’t leave you without one more film recommendation for this Valentine’s Day. If you’ve never seen Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot, starring Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, and a luminous Marilyn Monroe, go now to watch it! The precipitating crisis that sets this classic comedy in motion is the infamous Chicago St. Valentine’s Day massacre that occurred during Prohibition. Enjoy!
And if these wet your appetite, book your complimentary call today!