On a recent trip to Italy, Virtuoso travel advisor Patricia Accuosti toured ancient churches in Rome, ate Michelin-starred meals in Umbria, and spent time relaxing in the seaside Tuscan town of Forte dei Marmi. Here, Patricia shares highlights from her trip, laid out in an accessible Italy vacation itinerary that a Virtuoso travel advisor can replicate.
Stop No. 1: Rome
The Hotel Hassler sits at the top of the famous Spanish Steps, next door to the Trinità dei Monti church. The welcoming hotel staff’s enthusiasm was infectious, and the property recently completed a lovely renovation to celebrate its 125th anniversary. Rooms are comfortable, cozy, and well appointed. Plan for dinner at the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant Imágo – the experience pleases the palate and the eyes, with spectacular panoramic views overlooking Rome. Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and a $100 dining credit.
Virtuoso travelers can work with Access Italy, an onsite tour connection in the country, to arrange custom excursions throughout Rome. We took a behind-the-scenes tour of Basilica San Clemente, a church originally constructed in 400 BC that’s still in operation today.
Stop No. 2: Umbria
In Italy’s Umbria region, Norcia is a small town surrounded by mountains, meadows, and wildflower-filled national parks. We stayed at the delightful Palazzo Seneca, owned and operated by the Bianconi family and home to the Michelin-starred restaurant Vespasia. The highlight of our visit: a truffle-hunting experience with the hotel’s springer spaniels, Lulu and Tempestina, followed by an amazing full-service lunch in the fields and a ricotta-making demonstration. Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and a $100 hotel credit.
A 90-minute drive northwest in Perugia is Sina Brufani, a quintessential Italian hotel with beautiful views of the countryside. Perugia’s medieval streets and alleyways are right outside the hotel’s door, and the town of Assisi and the famous Perugina chocolate factory are both short drives away. Sina Brufani offers a private VIP tour and winetasting at the nearby Arnaldo Caprai winery – it’s an amazing perk only available when you book through a Virtuoso travel advisor. (Another exclusive Virtuoso perk: a truffle-hunting experience at the Urbani Tartufo Academy.) Virtuoso travelers receive an upgrade (if available) at time of booking, breakfast daily, and one complimentary lunch or dinner for two.
Stop No. 4 – Tuscany
You can’t go to Italy and not shop. On your way into Tuscany, plan a pit stop at The Mall Luxury Outlets, home to more than 30 luxury fashion brands (hello, Dolce & Gabbana) offering discounts up to 70 percent. Virtuoso travelers receive extra perks, including a welcome gift, priority access, and additional discounts. Bonus: There’s a lounge where international travelers can claim their sales tax refunds.
A great way to cap off an adventure across Italy is in the seaside Tuscan town of Forte dei Marmi – you could call it the “Hamptons of Italy,” albeit a little less understated. I loved to see that families were welcome at the many beach clubs along the town’s coast. Our home-away-from-home was the Hotel Byron, a stunning art nouveau beachfront villa that’s a favorite retreat for many A-list guests. If you’re craving a bit more adventure, the hotel’s Land Rover excursion into the surrounding Apennine Mountains includes a visit to the Carrara marble mines – Michelangelo came here for supplies more than 2,000 years ago. Virtuoso travelers receive a welcome amenity, breakfast daily, one complimentary lunch for two, and complimentary transfers to the hotel’s private beach.
Top Photo: Assisi, Italy (bluejayphoto/Getty Images)