Luxury, style, exquisite landscapes and, of course, delicious food - Italy is unbeatable. From the romantic undulating Tuscan hills evoking images of woody wine cellars and rows of olive trees, to the sensational Amalfi coast, a source of inspiration for Dolce and Gabanna's fantastical prints, we have the country sussed and know the best hotels to showcase the finest that Italy has to offer. Here we have picked the showstoppers that have made us think twice about exploring outside the hotel doors.
Castello Di Casole
It's hard not to be impressed with Castello di Casole in southern Siena. This 41- suite estate is a dreamy set-up in a stunning manicured patch of wooded Tuscan hills, 4,200 acres of which are owned by the hotel. Part of the American hotel brand, Timbers Resorts, you can expect grandeur to leave a lasting impression - onyx flooring, custom Murano glass, Carrara marble bathrooms and a stunning infinity pool all set the tone of overwhelming luxury. Elsewhere, classic style rooms hold modern world indulgences, such as the gym placed in a vaulted space beside the chapel, or the stone walled spa which was originally a wine cellar - cue the wine-based and local olive oil treatments. Tuscan specialities are on tap from fresh homemade pasta and Chianti to creamy gelato.
Hotel Rosa Alpina
Tucked away up north in the tiny village of San Cassiano, Rosa Alpina is owned and run by the Pizzinni family, who, even after three generations, are the beating heart of this splendid Relais & Chateaux lodge. With all the ingredients for a guiltless splurge, it has just about everything you would ever want in an upscale chalet-style lodge; the best champagne brought on mountainous picnics, a restaurant with not one but two Michelin stars, an elegant spa with sublime views of the Dolomites, and the finest natural materials creating contemporary alpine glamour. Stay in Chalet Zeno which is magnificent; a three bedroom wooden chalet with floor to ceiling glass and its very own Jacuzzi and sauna. It's almost impossible to leave the doorstep.
Verdura Golf And Spa Resort
The master of makeovers and sumptuous set ups, Sir Rocco Forte has transformed a slice of Sicily's south western beachfront into a modernist haven, that is Verdura Golf and Spa Resort. Close your eyes and enjoy the familiar smells and sounds of Sicily - vongole frying for lunch, cocktails being shaken, the hum of cicadas. Then open them to find suave interiors within a seaside retreat, thanks to Sir Rocco's sister Olga Polizzi. Flavio Albanese's architecture is striking with suites that merge into the landscape. There is an extremely good-looking spa with an international team working on diets, detoxes and anti-‐ageing treatments as well as an exceptional list of relaxing therapies. Golfers will enjoy a 9-18 hole paradise whilst children get lost in the plethora of activities including tennis, cooking classes and a water sports club.
On the coast between the cities of Brindisi and Bari, Canne Bianche is a perfect reflection of Puglian style. This unbeatably pretty hotel has achieved its look through the art of simplicity; white-washed walls and colour-popping accents of pink bougainvillea, bowls lemons and the turquoise pool looking out to the Adriatic Sea. The mood is effortless and relaxed in a contemporary setting, and the Torre Canne beach is only a hop, skip and a jump away. The restaurant, Timo, is the star of the show with an emotive foodie philosophy using locally sourced seasonal ingredients. Jars of tall lavender are the centre pieces to white linen tablecloths and chairs, a simple backdrop to visually beautiful and colourful dishes of freshly caught shellfish or plates of homemade orrechiete. Post dinner, sip on homemade liqueurs created with plants from the garden.
Belmond Hotel Caruso
Perched on the Amalfi coast, this 11th century palazzo proves that Belmond does it best. Hotel Belmond Caruso is the stuff of dreams, combining excellent service with the dazzling quintessence of Amalfi dolce vita; antique frescoes, marble halls, sweeping Moorish style arches and exquisitely pruned gardens fragrant with rose bushes and bursting with orange, lemon and olive trees. The beautiful terraces play host to private orchestras and romantic candlelit dinners for discerning guests. Wood fired pizzas, lip smacking pasta and seafood delicacies are served up creatively whether poolside or at the smarter Belvedere restaurant. The rooftop infinity pool reflects fifty shades of blue looking out to the Tyrrhenian Sea and the hotel's traditional wooden fishing boat can navigate you around the turquoise waters for a morning exploring the coast or at sunset for prosecco and canapés.