Looking for your perfect itinerary for an Italian summer getaway? Check out these top 3 Italian destinations to visit this summer. This will be a trip to indulge, feel pampered and ignite your travel-spirit.
Part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World exclusive group, the breathtaking Grand Hotel Cocumella is reason enough to visit Sorrento, an incredible harbor town, on the south coast of Italy.
A 10-minute walk from the town center, away from all the noisy tourists, is Grand Hotel Cocumella, an Italian mansion surrounded by lush, green gardens and directly on the cliffs overlooking the gulf of Naples. Walk through the hotel grounds to the expansive outdoor terrace, and cast your eyes on the magnificent 180 degrees of uninterrupted views of the gorgeous Italian coastline.
The Grand Hotel Cocumella pride themselves on being a family-run business. You will be instantly welcomed, with extremely friendly and approachable staff, making you feel relaxed despite the grandeur of your surroundings.
The Deluxe Rooms of Cocumella are spacious and equipped with every comfort. Tasteful, Italian antique feature pieces are fused with modern luxuries. It's romantic without being kitsch. An ocean view room is always a plus, but here it's a must.
Then there is the food. Italy and food go hand in hand. At Grand Hotel Cocumella, the ocean-view restaurant, Coku, is gorgeous - perched on the edge of the hotel facing the ocean, there's no better place to enjoy the evening. Make sure you reserve a table for sunset for a magical experience.
The Coku menu is a delicate balance of Mediterranean and Japanese; this unusual combination is delectable. Don't leave without trying the crab or tuna capriccio.
Another reason this place is so special: the private beach. A small stretch of rocks stretches out into the blue Tyrrhenian sea, where you can lay under the steamy Italian sun until your heart's content.
After you've got that gorgeous Italian sun-kissed glow, head back up to the hotel and take a dip in the lap-size pool and enjoy lunch under the lemon trees in the garden. Order from their fresh menu including, wood-fired pizza, fresh seafood lunch, or mouth-watering sandwiches, paired with a crisp rosé.
Plan on staying at least 2 nights here in early September when the town isn't too crowded and the weather is still spectacular.
Places to shop:
Via San Cesareo, which is right off the main Piazza Tasso, is the place for shopping and taking in what Sorrento is all about. Predominantly this is a pedestrian zone, so you can stroll along at your own pace. Expect to find store after store filled with Italian leather sandals, lemoncello and Italian deli treats. If you need a break from shopping, grab a Gelato and a bench and people watch until you get the energy to start again.
Exploring restaurants out in the town is part of the traveling experience. Try Il Leone Rosso, which is close to Piazza Tasso. Traditional and delicious this is one of the many dining experiences you'll remember with pizza and seafood and incredible Italian wine at a reasonable price.
Capri - a little island off the south coast of Italy with spectacular views at every turn, glamorous tourists and celebrities oozing from every coffee shop, it's easy to understand why Capri is so hot right now. This is the scene to be seen.
The Capri Palace Hotel & Spa is a luxury hotel run by owners who have a passion for art and the finer things in life.
The interior palette is a blend of crisp white furniture and limestone floors, just a hint of greenery from the floral arrangements, and punctuated by incredible pieces of art and sculpture.
The resort is just steps away from the center of Anacapri, a charming village in the most exclusive island of Capri, where you can take in the vista of the deep blue sea and the Gulf of Naples.
The hotel has three restaurants, "L'Olivo" - an elegant and refined restaurant with two Michelin stars, Il Riccio an exclusive one Michelin star restaurant and beach club just steps from the famous Blue Grotto and the more informal Bistrot Ragù with a stunning sea view terrace.
Make sure you visit the beach club restaurant Il Riccio, which is insanely gorgeous, perched cliff-side with excellent food, casual-chic interiors and great atmosphere. Spend the afternoon here; lay out on the day beds overlooking the sea and watch the yachts pass by. Take a swim and then spend the rest of the afternoon lunching without a care in the world.
The Capri Palace is also famous for Capri Beauty Farm, which specializes in beauty and medical activities, such as the famous "Leg School" - invented and patented by Professor Francesco Canonaco. Doctor Canonaco claims to make your legs look and feel thinner just after a few sessions. It involves learning about what to eat, daily massages, treatment pools and body wraps. Sounds grueling to some, but perfect legs sounds even better - sign me up!
Capri Palace is where the Hollywood celebrities come to vacation, and we can understand why. Just make sure if you run into Leo or Julia here, you stay cool.
Places to shop:
In Capri Village all roads lead to Piazzetta, a gorgeous picturesque square. Shopping is everywhere, but make sure you take your unlimited credit card, with well-known stores like Dolce & Gabbanna and Fendi, mixed with local stores such as L'arte del Sanalo Caprese (great shoes) and La Parisienne for Capri pants, you'll find it hard to say no.
There's no shortage of fabulous restaurants in Capri with incredible views.
A couple to try include;
- Buca Di Bacco Da Serafina; Situated in the heart of the old town centre, this is great for grilled fish at a good price. The wine list is reason enough to head there.
- De Gemma; Perfect for family size pizza and seafood pasta, situated under the arches of a tiny lane, this is an experience in itself.
Maratea may not be as famous as its neighbors - Amalfi and Positano, but that does not mean it doesn't have all the charm, minus the crowds and OTT glitz. Maratea's sparkling ocean, dramatic cliffs and gorgeous green landscape makes it a hidden gem not to be missed. It's a perfect vacation destination for all city dwellers, whom yearn for the richness and luxury of that slower-pace, Italian life.
Hotel Santa Venere
The huge draw-card at Hotel Santa Venere, is the private beach, simple but chic outdoor restaurant and indulgent spa. These key elements separate this hotel from other better-known areas in Italy, and make the extra travel down the coast so worth it.
The restaurant has an exceptional view, but its not designed to distract you from the food. In fact, it's possible you may lose yourself in the taste of the food and almost forget about the view altogether - its just that good. Chef Gerardo Manisera, creates food experiences, which is a blend of traditional produce and with a result that is completely unique. Service is flawless and gets even better if you can speak a little Italian.
The Spa is a whole other world. You'll have the choice of sauna, emotional showers, Turkish Baths, Sun Room, and Hydro-massage in seawater. All these in addition to a long list of massage options. Try the Tibetan sound bowls and the reflexology for something centering, or goats milk cleansing bath which is a divine nourishing experience that turns back time, well, for your skin anyway. You may need to book several days in a row, just to try out all of these options.
The private beach is reserved for hotel guests only and is just heavenly. It's quiet and the ocean is crystal clear. The beach is covered with pebbles instead of sand, however the hotel will provide you with rubber water sandshoes - which allows you to walk on the pebbles easily and swim happily in the ocean.
You can also charter a small yacht for the day and sail around the gorgeous coastline - its worth it!
Shopping and eating;
Such a tiny town offers everything in one small piazza. Wine bars, cafés, stores, restaurants, and gelato shops line the streets. As in most towns in Southern Italy, the town continues to shut down everyday from 1PM- 5PM. However, stores and restaurants stay open well into the night every night of the week during the summer months and shopping is literally an "all-night activity.
Wanting to try a couple places outside the hotel?
For a casual option try La Torre, which overlooks the square, or Il Ghiottone (Via Pietra del Pesce). Taverna Rovita (Via Rovita), which is hidden down an alley - which is a little more formal and pricer, or Locanda delle Donne Monache, but is worth it for the good food and service.
One of the best bars is La Caffeteria in Piazza Buraglia, where you can order a morning coffee, an afternoon snack or an evening aperitivo sitting right in the heart of the town. Pick up some Maratea local treats including wine, sandals, ceramics, embroidery and leather bags and shoes. A few days here and you'll really feel the heart of a local Italian summer.
If you have 1 week or 3, make the most of your time in Italy this summer and see what this gorgeous destination has to offer. Take your time if you can to truly experience the lifestyle, food, wine, fashion and celebration of every day that is infused in Italian culture and their simply stunning country.