The Most Adorable Italian Inns—That Won't Break the Bank
A common misperception of Italy is that it’s prohibitively expensive. Of course, there are extravagant palazzos where a glass of orange juice will cost you $20, but the reality is that Italy is home to many small and affordable hotels run by amiable innkeepers who will help unlock the secrets of whatever region you’re in. Over my many years of exploring the country, I’ve uncovered a number of treasures—some dirt cheap, others a bit more of a splurge—but all guaranteed to be amazing. These are some of my favorite addresses.
La Bandita, from a magazine editor-turned-innkeeper. (Courtesy: La Bandita)
A Stylish Tuscan Villa
Ondine Cohane did one of those things you always fantasize about when you’re on vacation: she and her husband John—a former music exec—decided to buy an old stone farmhouse in Tuscany and become innkeepers. Cohane, a contributing editor at Condé Nast Traveler, brings an eye for design that she clearly cultivated while checking out some of the world’s top hotels for the magazine. Surrounded by a spectacular infinity pool and a fire pit, La Bandita has low-season rates starting at $269. Cohane and her husband’s latest project is a sister property, La Bandita Townhouse, in the village of Pienza.
A Remarkable Le Marche Find
In the hilly Le Marche region, Casa San Ruffino is owned by another expat couple in search of la dolce vita: Ray and Claire Gorman, who got tired of the grind in England and decided to leave their banking jobs behind to open a four-room inn with beamed ceilings. This $193-a-night hotel is so chic that it got the stamp of approval from Vogue. Bonus for bargain-hunting fashionistas: Tod’s and Prada have outlet stores not far away.
Sunflowers in bloom outside Casa San Ruffino. (Courtesy: Casa San Ruffino)
A Dreamy Hideaway in Sicily
When I went to Sicily a couple years back, I splurged on the San Domenico Palace, a convent-turned-luxury resort in the glamorous town of Taormina. The previous year, my parents had stayed at a pensione down the road called the Hotel Villa Schuler and raved about the property and its views looking out to the sea and Mount Etna. It was nearby, so I went to check it out and couldn’t believe what you got for rates as low as $123 a night. Guess where I’m staying the next time I go back to Taormina?