The eight regions of northern Italy – which include Valle d’Aosta, Piedmont, Liguria, Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Trentino-Alto Adige – are each unique in terms of history, topography and culture. It’s no surprise, then, that hotel rooms in northern Italy are rarely cookie-cutter.
The COVID-19 outbreak has hit Italy hard with the highest incidence of the virus recorded in northern cities, particularly in the Lombardy region. But with more vaccinations in the gun and most international restrictions lifted, there has been a resurgence in tourism as well as new hotel openings, many of which have been put on hold for the past two years.
These are some of the most exciting new hotels that seamlessly blend the rich cultural heritage of Northern Italy 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 the city, just steps from the legendary balcony of Romeo and Juliet.
Owned and operated by Como-based Lario Hotels, the intimate, boutique property will offer 16 rooms (13 lavish suites and three deluxe rooms) with personalized service. Facilities include an indoor pool (the only hotel pool in Verona), spa, library, wine tasting room, top-floor restaurant and rooftop terrace.
The design incorporates an intriguing blend of traditional and contemporary style, orchestrated by Maurizio Maggi Studio Arte of Milan. One standout feature among many: the swimming pool includes an ancient Roman well embedded in its wall that was unearthed during the renovation of the building’s gut.
Planned opening: May 2022
Village: Moltrasio on Lake Como
Passalacqua, a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, is the sister property to 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 has welcomed luminaries from Napoleon Bonaparte to Winston Churchill through its doors.
Committed to preserving this rich historical treasure, Grand Hotel Tremezzo hoteliers Paolo, Antonella and Valentina De Santis have gone to great lengths to modernize the antique property while retaining its original architectural features, including hidden passageways, suites with exposed beams in forgotten stables and greenhouses with old fruit trees.
When open, this intimate ultra-luxury mansion will have 24 elegant suites with tasteful furnishings curated by the De Santis family as well as a lakeside swimming pool and outdoor gym in the olive groves. Guests can take vintage boat rides on the lake from the private dock and partake in wellness and farm-to-fork dining experiences.
Planned opening: June 2022
Radisson Collection Hotel, Palazzo Touring Club Milano
Once home to the Touring Club Italiano (founded in 1894), the repurposing and redesign of the Radisson Collection Hotel Palazzo Touring Club Milano into a 5-star hotel was led by architectural firm Studio Marco Piva. The team aimed to preserve 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 historic center of the city, the establishment has 89 rooms and suites that overlook the bustling Corsa Italia, just a 10-minute walk from the Duomo, La Scala and the fashion district.
The hotel’s Bertarelli Bar & Restaurant pays tribute to Luigi Vittorio Bertarelli, founding member of the Touring Club Italiano. Its menu covers the boot with seasonal specialties and dishes representative of the different regional cuisines.
Demo Hotel Design Emotion
Fourteen architectural firms have breathed new life into an abandoned guest house, transforming it into a center of “hospitality experimentation”. 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, in fact apartments, are suitable for business stays 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 is fully equipped with sports and fitness equipment, including a Technogym bike. The Just Like Home suite is an elegant 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 hanging bookcase.
The hotel’s common areas are also experimental and original in their design. Each zone is differentiated by strong colors, and the functional yet funky setting is ideal for mixing work and play. Another advantage: Free private parking.
Portrait Milan, Lungarno Collection
The long-awaited Portrait Milano will be the sixth luxury hotel owned by the first Ferragamo family. Their newest property is located in what was once the Archbishop’s Seminary.
Built in 1564, it had the distinction of being the oldest seminary in Europe. The Baroque entrance to 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 travelers, and will be an asset to local residents as it joins 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 shops.
Planned opening: summer 2022
Milano Verticale, UNA Esperienze
This contemporary and urban hotel is the flagship Milanese property of the UNA Esperienze group. Located in the bustling Porta Nuova area of the city, Milano Verticale is close to the Porta Garibaldi metro and train stations.
The four-star establishment has 173 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 indoor seating and al fresco dining); the contemporary Osteria; and Anima, a gourmet restaurant run by chef Michele Cobuzzi. The 13th floor of the hotel features breathtaking rooftop event space.
Palazzo Donà Giovannelli
Iconic travel brand, Orient Express, part of the Accor Group, is teaming up with Italian hotel group Arsenale SpA to open the second Orient Express hotel in Italy. The Palazzo Donà Giovannelli will be located in the shopping district of Cannaregio in Venice, just ten minutes from Santa Lucia station.
Housed 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 was renovated twice before and successively belonged to the Donà and Giovannelli. Amman-based architect and interior designer Aline Asmar and her team at Culture in Architecture were selected to redesign the space.
This intimate and luxurious hotel will have 45 rooms and suites, all overlooking the gardens and canals. The hotel bar will be located in the former noble piano ground floor ballroom; plans also include a world-class restaurant on site. As soon as the hotel opens, passengers on the Orient Express La Dolce Vita train can disembark directly at the nearby station and reach the hotel on foot or by boat.
Opening scheduled for 2024.