From the mountains to the vineyards to the Mediterranean, Italy has everything a traveler could want. Home to one of history's greatest empires, birthplace of philosopher's musings and Renaissance art, and with a cuisine so intoxicating it's been adopted across the globe, there's just no place like Italy. To set foot here is to transport oneself to a world apart. While every Backroads hotel in Italy is easily worth a visit, these are seven of our very favorites that exemplify the Italian experience - the charm, majesty, history and beauty of a country you'll be longing to return to even before you've left it behind.
Cala di Volpe
The world-famous "Emerald Coast" on the island of Sardinia is easily one of Italy's most spectacular treasures. With white-sand beaches, glamorous yacht-filled harbors, warm sunshine and picturesque coves filled with some of the clearest Mediterranean water we've ever seen, this place is truly a dream. And located in the heart of it all is the spectacular Hotel Cala di Volpe. Designed as an old fishing village, the hotel features archways, porticoes and turrets that guests stroll through as they explore the playground of beaches, watercraft, swimming pools and hidden inlets perfect for swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving and lounging atop the dramatic rock formations. If you're a James Bond fan, you'll recognize this place from 1977's The Spy Who Loved Me. While it's just one stop on our Sardinia & Corsica Walking & Hiking Tour, it very well might end up being one of the top highlights of the trip!
Stay here on our Sardinia & Corsica Walking & Hiking Tour.
Romantik Hotel Turm
What could be better than a day spent trekking in beautiful countryside amid limestone giants? The Dolomites, Italy's picturesque mountains to the north, provide a rustic, timeless trekking escape that rivals any renowned hiking in the world. At Romantic Hotel Turm, Backroads guests see first-hand what a caffè corretto (espresso and grappa) and hot apple strudel can do for the soul after a long day in hiking boots. The hotel's old Tyrolean tower dates to the 13th century and saw use as a fortress, courthouse & prison prior to welcoming Backroads guests. Be sure to utilize the expansive spa, a favorite of which is the salt-room carved into rock, where the sounds of birds chirping and the soft trickle of water lapping on the walls guide you to blissful relaxation.
Stay here on our Dolomites Walking & Hiking Tour.
Borgo San Felice
The sole Relais & Châteaux property of Italy's famed Chianti region, Borgo San Felice feels conjured from a dream. The timeless but forgotten medieval hamlet of Borgo San Felice was restored with a singular vision of creating an absolutely unique holiday retreat. With stunning views of iconic rolling Tuscan hills and expansive vineyards, you'll discover an on-site Michelin-starred restaurant and luxurious spa in a former olive-press. While feeling miles away from everything, we still have easy access to the famed walled city of Siena, home to one of the most beautiful piazzas in all of Italy and host to the annual Palio di Siena horse race.
Stay here on our Tuscany's Chianti Bike Tour.
Belmond Hotel Splendido
Originally a Benedictine monastery, what is now Belmond Hotel Splendido was abandoned by its monks due to repeat ransacking by Saracen pirates. As the hotel came to fruition, it became a popular haunt of the rich and famous. From Humphrey Bogart to Winston Churchill and Elizabeth Taylor, this pristine accommodation lured visitors in with its total package of luxury and convenient access to the streets of glitzy Portofino. Today, Backroads guests experience the same allure; between hiking the Mediterranean Coast and dining on exquisite Piedmont cuisine like agnolotti - egg noodles stuffed with herbed meat, sage and sautéed in butter. Savor the experience by bathing in the saltwater infinity pool while gazing across Portofino's picture perfect, beautiful yacht-filled harbor.
Stay here on our Piedmont to Portofino Walking & Hiking Tour.
Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita
To experience human history in one fell swoop, head directly to Le Grotte Della Civita in Puglia. Set within the Sassi settlement of Matera, a UNESCO World Heritage site, this is your chance to spend a night in Italy's oldest human settlements: caves! A visit here is an opportunity to experience first-hand how humans lived 7,000 years ago, with a few modern upgrades of course. If you're hoping for something a little more "modern" during your stay, look no further than the breakfast dining room, set within a 13th century cave church.
Stay here on our Puglia Bike Tour.
Hotel Caesar Augustus
After exploring Capri's scintillating coastline, let us escort you to Hotel Caesar Augustus, a retreat for the refined. While this hotel checks every box for most travelers, many would be satisfied for no other reason than the breathtaking view across the Mediterranean and sparkling Bay of Naples. Set 1,000 feet above the water and hugging Capri island's rocky coast, forget your worries on the terrace with a glass of local delicious prosecco. If that's not enough, a massage in the outdoor wellness center surrounded by aromatic rosemary and lavender plants should do the trick.
Stay here on our Amalfi Coast Walking & Hiking Tour.
Hotel Il Pellicano
A member of Conde Nast Traveler's Gold List, Hotel Il Pellicano has welcomed guests since the 1960s and, like a fine Italian wine, has only improved with age. As the Tyrrhenian Sea has grown in popularity, so has the hotel and its idyllic coastal setting. Originally envisioned as much for family and friends as guests from around the world, one often feels at home amid the laid-back atmosphere and classic décor of terra-cotta tiling and chestnut antique furniture. Relax in the heated salt-water pool, soak up some sun on the tennis court, enjoy the intimate spa and top it all off with a Michelin-starred meal.
Stay here on out Tuscany by the Sea Bike Tour.