Beautiful inside & out: the 10 best hotel gardens in Italy

Ok, there are times when the only reason you check-in to a hotel is to get some decent shut-eye after a long day of travelling.

In which case, you’re going to be looking for a comfortable bed, a proper pillow menu, efficiently sound proofed windows and doors, and a suitable selection of bathroom amenities … and not much else.

If, on the other hand, you’re after a hotel in which to spend a few nights or even a week-long holiday, what’s outside the hotel may well be as important as what’s inside it.

Even if you’re on your honeymoon, you’re unlikely to spend your entire vacation confined to your bedroom. Which is why hotels set in peaceful, panoramic and perfectly maintained gardens are so irresistible and why we’ve compiled this list of ten of the best of them!

 

Palace Hotel Villa Cortine

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You don’t go to the Italian lakes to sit in the lobby – even when the lobby is as luxurious as the one which welcomes guests staying at Lake Garda’s Palace Hotel Villa Cortine.

Villa Cortine is, in fact, as famous for the lovely lakeside park which surrounds it as it is for its sumptuous salons and suites.

Soaring conifers, towering palm trees, luxuriant lantana bushes, colorful hydrangeas: the mild Mediterranean climate and the vicinity to the water combine to create the perfect environment in which gorgeous gardens can grow.

Natural and manmade beauty easily co-exist in a park abundant in neo-classical statues and fountains framed by great cascades of fragrant flowers, ridiculously romantic viewing terraces, a lovers’ lane and, for those overwhelmed by such splendor, even a meditation bench.

 

Villa Campestri Olive Oil Resort

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Italy’s first Olive Oil Resort, Villa Campestri sits in a massive private park in the wooded hills of Mugello, just outside Florence.

Velvety soft lawns, pretty pebble pathways, sparkling streams filled with spring water, and acre upon acre of shimmering olive trees: Villa Campestri’s grounds are even more romantic than the resort’s renaissance-inspired rooms and restaurant.

A unique outdoor exhibition space for installations by the contemporary Florentine artist Fabio Bini, Villa Campestri’s park provides a wonderfully panoramic setting for the resort’s swimming pool and open air wellness corner too.

 

Villa La Massa

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Another 5 star fairytale just beyond the walls of Florence, the seriously sumptuous Villa La Massa sits in 22 acres of lovingly tended river edge gardens where guests can relax and admire the most magnificent views of the Arno and the Chianti Rufina hills.

The vicinity to the water makes the gardens particularly suitable for the cultivation of fruit and vegetables and, in fact, many of the ingredients used to prepare the delicious Tuscan dishes served in the hotel’s elegant riverside restaurant are grown here.

 

Silve Romantik Hotel

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Sorry guys, but sometimes size really does matter. As is the case with Silve Romantik Hotel’s park – a whopping 230 hectare park, 700 meters above sea level, in the heart of Umbria’s Monte Subasio Nature Reserve.

If you enjoy walking, you’ll no doubt spend much of your holiday at this country resort trekking, with or without a guide, along the 20km or so of canopied trails which wind their way through the park,  visiting the estate’s riding stables, woods, waterfalls and gorges and trying to catch the resident wolves, deer, wild boars and porcupines on film.

Don’t want to walk? Explore the estate by horse, mountain bike or quad car instead!

 

Borgo Santo Pietro

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Back in 2001, when they set about transforming what was then a derelict medieval hamlet in the countryside just outside Chiusdino into the luxurious Borgo Santo Pietro, owners Jeanette and Claus Thottrup decided to restore not only the main manor house, numerous annexes and outbuildings, but the gardens too.

Together with a team of expert gardeners and landscape designers, they planted a whole 250,000 plants sourced from Italy and beyond so as to create an authentic patch of paradise on Tuscan soil. 13 acres of Tuscan soil, dotted with cypress trees, antique Italian roses, soft green lawns, secret grottos and a kitchen garden where, some 13 years later, the resort’s chef can often be seen selecting the herbs and vegetables for his sensational seasonal dishes.

There’s a medicinal garden too, where the plants and herbs used in Borgo Santo Pietro’s natural spa products and organic teas are grown.

 

L’Albereta

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If you like art but like the great outdoors too, you’re going to love Hotel Albereta’s Sculpture Park, a veritable open air museum created to contain the thirteen works of contemporary sculpture which won the International Third Millennium Sculpture Award sponsored by the Terra Moretti Group and supported by the Italian Ministry of Heritage.

The park stretches across some 61,000 hectares of land, between the Albereta and the neighboring Bellavista and Contadi Castaldi wineries, where some of the finest wines in Franciacorta are produced.

Can’t afford to stay in this Relais & Chateaux (which just happens to be one of the most highly-quoted gourmet getaways in Europe)? Don’t despair! The park is open to the general public on the first Sunday of every month.

 

Borgo Storico Seghetti Panichi

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It was in 1870 that the Carfratelli Seghetti family enlisted the services of the eminent German botanist and landscape architect, Ludwig Winter, to design the garden of their palatial hillside residence overlooking the River Tronto valley.

In no time at all, Winter, who had recently completed the Hanbury Gardens in La Mortola, Liguria, sowed the seeds of what would grow into one of largest and most impressive hotel gardens in the whole of Italy.

Washingtonia filifera, Jubaea spectabilis, Cycas revoluta, Chamaerops humilis, Trachycarpus fortunei: the list of spectacular species which thrive in the garden is endless.

Recently, the Bologna-born eco-designer Marco Nieri has identified the garden’s bioenergetic areas (green spaces which possess characteristics especially positive for human health), which are now linked by a bioenergetic path.

 

Relais Villa Giulia

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Imagine walking out of your suite, tiptoeing through the woods and sinking your tootsies into the sun scorched sand on one of Italy’s best loved beaches. If it’s barefoot luxury you want, you’re going to love Relais Villa Giulia!

The one time residence of Prince Eugène de Beauharnais, Villa Giulia sits surrounded by gorgeous green gardens and a centuries old wood which ends where the beach of Fano begins.

Don’t want to swim in the sea? Make your way through Villa Giulia’s ancient olive groves to reach the hotel’s pool and some of the most beautiful views you’ll ever see.

 

Lefay Resort & Spa

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A stunning, ecologi-cool destination spa in the hills overlooking Lake Garda, the 5 star Lefay Resort sits at the heart of an 11 hectare estate, complete with century old trees, ancient woods and a park planted with olive trees, grapevines and aromatic herbs, typical of the Mediterranean.

The regularly raved about Lefay Spa Method includes oodles of outdoor wellness activities such as jogging along the park’s panoramic running circuit and Tai Qi sessions in the therapeutic garden, which has five different areas designed for meditation and psycho-physical rebalancing.

 

Villa d’Acquarone

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Once upon a time, if you were posh, you had to have a park. And the bigger and more ornate that park was, the better!

If you’re holidaying in Veneto, you’ll have a hard time finding a posher place to stay than Villa d’Acquarone, just outside Verona – once one of the region’s most palatial stately homes and now one of its most sought-after hotels.

A maze of paths, ponds, panoramic viewing points, fountains and waterfalls, the hotel’s 40 hectare park is thought to have been inspired by the one surrounding Monza’s Villa Reale.

Located near the swimming pool and clearly visible from the Marcellise valley, the 16th century aviary, complete with copper-plated dome attributed to the Sanmicheli school, now serves as exclusive events venue.

 

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