The Most Iconic Hotels to Experience la Dolce Vita

With its soothing sun, sleep-inducing waves, and laid-back atmosphere, it is easy to understand why the phrase “la dolce vita” now embodies the spirit of Italy itself. Some hotels have become emblematic of this lifestyle, and give guests from all over the world the chance to experience it, even if just for a few days.

These are the hotels we recommend, to enjoy life the Italian way.

Villa d’Este, Cernobbio

Lounging along the banks of Lake Como, Villa d’Este finds its roots in the Renaissance era. With its 25 acres of pristine gardens and breathtaking interior designs, the hotel truly transports its guests back in time itself.

Built in 1568 and once the home of Princess Caroline of Brunswick, the hotel has retained much of its historic atmosphere and aesthetics with Murano chandeliers, grand staircases, and collection of art works scattered around.

Across the 152 rooms and suites, the period furniture, elegant prints and rich fabrics immerse the guests into Renaissance Italy. The Suite is positioned in the Queen’s Pavilion and has a sumptuous separate living room and balcony, offers a truly unique view of the Lake.

Meanwhile, the hotel boasts the culinary expertise of Executive Chef Michele Zambanini who oversees Villa d’Este’s four restaurants. La Veranda is the hotel’s main gastronomic outlet, boasting an elegant décor, a stunning menu, and beautiful views over the property.

Meanwhile, the Sundeck Bar brings guests right on the edge of the water, ideal for taking a break throughout the day.

Located on the 2nd floor of the Cardinal Building, the Beauty Center at Villa d’Este is where guests may enjoy a wide menu of massages and treatments. The spa also provides access to a sauna, a Turkish bath, as well as a fully equipped fitness center.

The Sporting Club at the hotel gives guests the opportunity to enjoy the outdoor and indoor swimming pools, 8 tennis courts, and a squash court.

The quintessence of la dolce vita itself, Villa d’Este has vintage boats of lacquered wood that guests can charter to discover the lake the Italian way.

Villa d’Este

Address: Trento, 5, 00019 Tivoli RM, Italy

Transfer: 35 minutes from Lugano Airport

Opening season: March to November


The Gritti Palace, Venice

A 15th century Palazzo that retains its historic style, The Gritti Palace offers an exceptional view over the Grand Canal and the Santa Maria della Salute, one of the most important churches in Venice.

The appeal of The Gritti Palace is its décor! Few Italian hotels, and even fewer Venetian ones, have preserved this opulent décor, which shows what the palaces of the time looked like. At the Gritti, we discover the golden age of Venice, with its period furniture, precious paintings and antiques.

The hotel has 82 rooms and suites, all decorated in the same Renaissance style, and some with views of the Grand Canal.

On the culinary side, The Gritti Terrace and the Club del Doge Restaurant offer two distinct experiences. One treats guests to stunning interiors, while the other amazes them with breathtaking views of the Grand Canal. Both, however, pay homage to the city’s rich culinary heritage. 

Similarly, Bar Longhi is the iconic bar of the hotel, where guests can relish Bar Manager Cristiano Luciani’s signature wild fennel martini. Completing the F&B offering, the Riva Lounge recalls the atmosphere of the Riva Yacht.

The Gritti Spa collaborates with the brand Sisley Paris to bring a slate of exclusive massages and treatments to its guests. Additionally, the guests can access a fully equipped fitness room, with private lessons from a personal trainer.

The Gritti Palace

Address: Campo Santa Maria del Giglio, 2467, Venice

Transfer: 30 minutes from Venice Marco Polo Airport

Opening season: All year


Splendido, A Belmond Hotel, Portofino 

Whether it’s from the sea or the sky, the Splendido looks as if it’s been carved out of the hills that border the beautiful Ligurian Sea. The hotel is a 16th century monastery that was transformed into a luxury residence where one can enjoy the Italian Riviera.

The Splendido is not a large hotel. It has only 61 rooms and suites, many with private terraces overlooking the sea. Each room puts on display the idiosyncratic Belmond style: a certain old-fashioned charm.

On the culinary front, the Splendido offers 3 outlets for guests to relish the fresh and flavorful Mediterranean cuisine. The showstopper is evidently La Terrazza! Nestled on the hillside, it offers an unbelievable view of Portofino Bay.

The bar is also a charming place; its walls are covered with photos of the legendary guests who have stayed there. It is a place to enjoy an espresso in the morning or a cocktail at the end of the day to the sound of the piano.

For its spa experience, the Splendido features a collaboration with the Dior brand. It is also possible to get a massage in a part of the hotel’s garden to enjoy the view and its peaceful atmosphere.

In addition to the heated outdoor pool, guests also have access to a fully equipped gym, a tennis court, in addition to water sports activities and boat trips.


Splendido, A Belmond Hotel, Portofino

Address: Via Roma, 2, Portofino

Transfer: 50 minutes from Genova City Airport

Opening season: Summer season (as from 08 June 2023)


Four Seasons Hotel Firenze, Florence

The Four Seasons Hotel Florence is located in the heart of the city. Yet, once the guests walk through the door, they are plunged into a world that makes them completely forget the city that surrounds it! This is where the magic of this hotel lies.

Housed in two buildings, one of which was once a residence for noble families and the other a convent, the hotel proudly displays its Renaissance origins and heritage. The 116 rooms and suites are all richly decorated in a mixture of warm and cool tones; the wallpaper that adorns the walls is reminiscent of Florentine life and countryside.

3 restaurants and bars make up the culinary offering of the Four Seasons Hotel Firenze. The Michelin-starred Il Palagio offers regional classics, accompanied by a list of exceptional Italian wines. The Al Fresco and Pool Tree Bar invites guests under the shade of the trees to enjoy fresh drinks, slow-rising pizza. Finally, The Atrium Bar welcomes guests at all times of day.

However, what makes the absolute magic of this hotel is its garden! The largest private garden in Florence, it gives the impression of a small sanctuary where one can cut off from the noise of the city. This garden has an incredible charm, and taking a stroll around it is a delight.

The Four Seasons Hotel Firenze

Address: Borgo Pinti, 99, Florence

Transfer: 20 minutes from Florence Airport

Opening season: All year


Hôtel de Russie, Rome

Hotel de Russie is a little slice of paradise in the heart of Rome. Located between the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo, and it was once a favorite among artists and writers like Picasso and Cocteau.

Immediately after entering the premises, guests can feel the tranquility of the hotel’s tiered garden and the faint sound of the waterfall that flows through a nymphaeum amid rose bushes and orange trees. The hotel’s redesign by Olga Polizzi infused it with a touch of contemporary Art Deco aesthetic.

Inside, the 120 sleek and modern rooms combine elegant classicism and contemporary details. Botanically inspired wallpapers, vibrant cushions, chic furnishings and lots of sculpture and bas-relief.

The hotel has only one restaurant, the Jardin de Russie. Inside or outside, guests can enjoy the Mediterranean menu of chef Fulvio Pierangelini. Of course, the tables on the terrace overlooking the fabulous garden are a special treat!

The Stravinskij Bar, located at the foot of this famous garden, is a real oasis in the heart of Rome, where guests can enjoy a delightful atmosphere.

The De Russie Spa invites guests to enjoy the Rocco Forte Wellness program. Guests can enjoy a menu of massage and treatments with products from Irene Forte, access to a saltwater pool, a Finnish sauna, and a fully equipped Fitness Center.

Hotel de Russie

Address: Via del Babuino 9, Rome

Transfer: 40 minutes from Leonardo da Vinci International Airport

Opening season: All year


Il San Pietro di Positano, Positano

Il San Pietro di Positano is located a few kilometers from Positano, on a cliffside. It has been a favorite spot for celebrities and personalities since the 1970s and overlooks the Amalfi Sea.

The 56 rooms are nestled along the cliff. The rooms have a typical Mediterranean spirit with bright white walls contrasting with the blue of the sea, flowered terraces, hand-painted tiles and carefully selected objects of art.

On the culinary side, the Michelin-starred Zass Restaurant celebrates traditional Italian cuisine with a modern twist. The Carlino Restaurant, named after the founder, Carlino Cinque, offers a charming al fresco dining experience where guests can enjoy the popular local cuisine.

The hotel also has two bars: The Terrace Bar is ideal for taking in the beauty of the location, with its tiled benches where one can gaze at the village and the Li Galli Islands. The L’Alcova Bar, casual and chic, is the ideal place for a nightcap.

The hotel completes its offering with the comprehensive spa, complete with a Finnish shower, a Turkish bath. Guests also have access to a fully equipped fitness area, yoga and Pilates classes, a beautiful swimming pool with a view over the sea, a tennis court and various water-based activities and boat excursions.

Il San Pietro di Positano

Address: via Laurito 2, Positano

Transfer: 50 minutes from Naples Airport

Opening season: From April to October


Grand Hotel Timeo, A Belmond Hotel, Taormina

The Grand Hotel Timeo is located in the heart of the rustic streets of the city of Taormina and at the foot of the emblematic Greek amphitheater. From its terrace, guests can enjoy one of the most exceptional views of Mount Etna in the distance!

What makes the hotel so charming is the perfect marriage between superb architecture, charming vegetation in which one likes to wander about as if in a natural landscape, and the old-fashioned charm of Belmond hotels. One could almost think of meeting Oscar Wilde or Jean Cocteau at the corner of a corridor!

The 70 rooms and suites at Grand Hotel Timeo are divided between the main building and the adjacent Villa Flora. The rooms are spacious, bright and have fantastic views of the coast or the city. Pastel colors, dark wood, Italian antiques, and bathrooms that are deliberately vintage, guests can find all the attributes of the mythical Italian hotel industry of the last century.

The Grand Hotel Timeo offers a wide range of culinary outlets, including the Michelin-starred Otto Geleng – named after a Prussian artist who stayed at the hotel – led by Executive Chef Roberto Toro, a master of Mediterranean cuisine.

The Ristorante Timeo offers a more classic regional menu and a breathtaking view of Taormina.

The other three venues are divided between the Timeo Bar, the Pool Bar and the Pool Grill.

The spa features Davines and Comfort Zones products made from natural ingredients such as medicinal herbs and neroli oil. Guests also have access to the outdoor pool, a fitness area and boat tours in the summer.

The Grand Hotel Timeo

Address: Via Teatro Greco, 59, 98039 Taormina ME, Italy

Transfer: 50 minutes from Catania Airport

Opening period: From March to October, subject to variations.


Experience Italy with Lartisien

Feeling inspired to experience la dolce vita lifestyle? Our hand-selected luxury hotels in Italy offer the most amazing service, amenities and guest experience during your stay. Contact our team for more information or to discuss a booking!

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