It was the eve of a fervent celebration planned for the Feast Day of Saint Joseph in 1906 when an earthquake struck the island of Ustica some 72...
When it comes to vacations, Italians have historically fell into two categories: those who cannot live without a holiday by the beach and those who prefer the fresh air of the mountains. A third group has been steadily growing in the past few years: those who have fallen in love with the countryside, with its quietness and with its relaxed lifestyle. From North to South many beautiful and historical properties have been turned into resorts that are perfect to explore the land, to get in touch with nature and to experience a vacation unlike any other. Some are more elegant and refined, some more down to earth and informal - but all offer something unique, sure to make your next Italian vacation unforgettable.
Borgo San Pietro, Tuscany. Once a derelict villa, Borgo San Pietro has now been transformed into one of Tuscany’s most amazing country retreats. In a region that features an unbelievable number of agriturismos, farm hotels and country bed & breakfast, standing out can be difficult: the 13th century villa, however, has been renovated to perfection and luxury there knows no limits. Its organic farm produces vegetables, fruit, herbs and honey that are served at the property’s excellent restaurant. Those who enjoy sports can have fun riding horses, playing tennis, bocce or practicing yoga, while artsy types can partake in drawing and painting classes. Nested halfway between Florence and Grosseto, Borgo San Pietro is the ideal starting point to visit many of Tuscany’s most famous sites, such as Siena, San Giminiano and the Chianti region, all less than 1 hour from the retreat. http://www.borgosantopietro.com
Villa La Meridiana, Piedmont. Only 1 kilometer from Alba’s historical downtown district, Villa La Meridiana is the ideal country side retreat for food enthusiasts. One of the few villas of the regions built in liberty style, this property is surrounded by the gently rolling hills of the Langhe where the best white truffles are picked every year, and where red wines such as Barolo and Barbaresco are produced. The property is perfect for hikers who want to explore the region as well as for those who want to learn more about winemaking: in the fall, during the months of September and October, guests can participate in picking and pressing the grapes used to make local Dolcetto. http://www.villalameridianaalba.it/
Casa Clelia, Lombardy. Close to the hustle and bustle of Milano and to the quaint charm of Bergamo, Casa Clelia is housed in a 11th century convent that has been thoroughly refurbished using the principles of eco-conscious architecture. Surrounded by wooded hills and orchards, the farm hosts cows, chicken, geese and sheep and offers the chance to experience and enjoy a simple and quiet country lifestyle. The 8 hectares of land around the property are there to be explored, a real treat in the late afternoon when the woods come alive with the sounds of nature. http://www.casaclelia. com/
Villa Tasca d’Almerita, Sicily. Wine lovers, rejoice! Villa Tasca d’Almerita, one of Sicily’s biggest producers of equally delicious white, red and rosee wines, not only is open to the public, but is one of Italy’s more glamourous country side retreats. Located halfway between Palermo and Monreale, the villa sits surrounded by 8 acres of land, lush with centennial trees and citrus groves. Its noble and elegant rooms are furnished with antique furniture and great attention to detail, while its garden has charmed notorious guests such as Jacqueline Kennedy and King Ferdinand of Spain. http://www.villatasca.com
Abate Masseria, Apulia. Apulia is famous around the world for its beautiful coast and crystal clear waters, but its country side is equally fascinating and the perfect spot for a relaxing vacation surrounded by nature. The Abate Masseria once was a typical farmhouse and, after a careful restoration, it has been turned into a 4 star property full of character and charm. Used in the past as a dormitory, the trulli - unique cone shaped buildings typical of the region - are still standing and give to the property an extra dose of charm. A large swimming pool, tennis courts and a rightly famous restaurant round up the offer and make Abate Masseria ideal for those who want to explore the beauty of Apulia with friends. http://www.abatemasseria.it/