The eight regions of northern Italy—which include the Aosta Valley, Piedmont, Liguria, Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, and Trentino-Alto Adige—are each unique in terms of their history, topography, and culture. So it shouldn’t be surprising that hotel accommodations in northern Italy are rarely cookie-cutter either.
The COVID-19 outbreak hit Italy hard with the highest incidence of the virus recorded in cities in the north, especially in the region of Lombardy. But with more vaccinations in arms and most international restrictions lifted, there has been a resurgence in tourism as well as new hotel openings, many of which were put on hold during the past two years.
These are some of the most exciting new hotels that seamlessly blend northern Italy’s rich cultural heritage with contemporary sensibilities and innovative design.
Vista Palazzo Verona
The magnificent five-star Vista Palazzo Verona occupies a 19th-century mansion in the medieval center of town, just steps from the fabled balcony of Romeo & Juliet.
Owned and operated by Como-based Lario Hotels, this intimate, boutique property will offer 16 accommodations (13 sumptuous suites and three deluxe rooms) with personalized service. Amenities include an indoor swimming pool (the only hotel pool in Verona), a spa, library, wine-tasting room, penthouse-level restaurant, and rooftop terrace.
The design incorporates an intriguing blend of traditional and contemporary style, orchestrated by Milan’s Maurizio Maggi Studio Arte. One standout feature among many: The pool features an ancient Roman well embedded in its wall that was unearthed during the gut renovation of the building.
Scheduled opening: May 2022
Village: Moltrasio on Lake Como
Passalacqua, a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, is the sister property of the stately, art nouveau Grand Hotel Tremezzo (also on Lake Como). Once a private villa, the gracious home was purchased by Count Andrea Lucini Passalacqua in 1787. Over the years, it was welcomed through its doors luminaries from Napoleon Bonaparte to Winston Churchill.
Committed to preserving this rich historical treasure, Grand Hotel Tremezzo hoteliers Paolo, Antonella, and Valentina De Santis went to great lengths to modernize the antique property while maintaining its original architectural features—which include hidden passageways, beamed suites in forgotten stables, and glasshouses with ancient fruit trees.
When open, this intimate ultra-luxury mansion will have 24 stylish suites with tasteful furnishings curated by the De Santis family as well as a lakeside swimming pool and open-air gym set in the olive groves. Guests will be able to take vintage boat rides on the lake from the private dock and participate in wellness and farm-to-fork culinary experiences.
Scheduled opening: June 2022
Radisson Collection Hotel, Palazzo Touring Club Milan
Once the headquarters of Touring Club Italiano (founded in 1894), the repurposing and redesign of the Radisson Collection Hotel Palazzo Touring Club Milano as a 5-star hotel was led by the architectural firm of Studio Marco Piva. The team aimed at preserving its historical and cultural heritage while breathing new life into a structure that would continue to allow it to serve as a beacon for hospitality.
Located in the heart of the city’s historical center, the property has 89 rooms and suites that overlook the bustling Corsa Italia, just a 10-minute walk to the Duomo, La Scala and the fashion district.
The hotel’s Bertarelli Bar & Restaurant pays homage to Luigi Vittorio Bertarelli, the founding member of the Touring Club Italiano. Its menu covers the boot with seasonal specialties and dishes representative of different regional cuisines.
Demo Hotel Design Emotion
Region: Emilia Romagna
Fourteen architectural firms have breathed new life into an abandoned guesthouse, turning it into a hub of “experimentation in hospitality.” The colorful Demo Hotel is one-of-a-kind, ultra-modern in design and functionality. Located near Parco Briolini, this innovative property is within walking distance of the city’s iconic beach on the Adriatic.
Each of the nine suites, actually apartments, is suitable for workcations and longer stays. For example, The Smoove II Suite (designed by architects Alessio Fiorini and Roberto D’Amico) has a balcony overlooking a garden in the park and comes fully stocked with sports and fitness equipment, including a Technogym bike. The Just Like Home Suite is a smart, green, three-room apartment with a double bed and a second bedroom with a French bed. The living and kitchen areas can become workstations, visually separated by a suspended bookcase.
The hotel’s common areas are also experimental and original in design. Each area is differentiated with strong colors, and the functional but funky setting is ideal for blending work and leisure activities. Another perk: Free private parking.
Portrait Milano, Lungarno Collection
The long-awaited Portrait Milano will be the sixth luxury hotel owned by the fashion-first Ferragamo family. Their newest property is housed in what once was the Archbishop’s Seminary.
Built in 1564, it held the distinction of being the oldest seminary in Europe. The baroque entrance of the monumental building was designed by Francesco Maria Richini in 1652. Architect and designer Michele De Lucchi is leading the restoration project.
The hotel will welcome both business and leisure guests, and will be an asset to local residents because it will join Corso Venezia and Via Sant’Andrea to improve pedestrian access through the fashion district. The luxury hotel will also house a wellness center, restaurants and boutique shops.
Scheduled opening: Summer 2022
Milano Verticale, UNA Esperienze
This contemporary, urban hotel is the Milan flagship property of the UNA Esperienze Group. Located in the vibrant Porta Nuova section of the city, Milano Verticale is convenient to the Porta Garibaldi metro and train stations.
The four-star property has 173 guest rooms, a fitness center, and meeting rooms for conferences. The four exclusive, rooftop Penthouse Suites with panoramic terraces offer 360-degree views of the city skyline and the Alps.
Celebrity chef Enrico Bartolini oversees three on-site dining venues: Vertigo (an urban garden bar with seating indoors and alfresco dining); the contemporary osteria; and Anima, a fine dining restaurant helmed by Chef Michele Cobuzzi. The 13th floor of the hotel has a breathtaking rooftop event space.
Palazzo Donà Giovannilli
The iconic travel brand, Orient Express, part of the Accor group, is partnering with Italian hospitality group Arsenale SpA to open the second Orient Express hotel in Italy. The Palazzo Donà Giovannilli will be located in Venice’s Cannaregio shopping district, just ten minutes from the Santa Lucia train station.
Lodged in a historic structure that was first built as a palace by architect Filippo Calendario (also architect and designer of the Doge’s Palace) in 1400, the building has been renovated twice before, and successfully owned by the Donà and Giovannelli families. Architect and interior designer Aline Asmar d’Amman and her team at Culture in Architecture have been selected to reenvision the space.
This intimate, luxury hotel will have 45 rooms and suites, all overlooking the gardens and canals. The hotel bar will be located in the former piano nobile ballroom on the main floor; plans also include a world-class on-site restaurant. When the hotel opens, passengers on the Orient Express La Dolce Vita train will be able to disembark directly at the nearby station and reach the hotel by foot or boat.
Scheduled to open in 2024.