5 of The Most Beautiful Places to Stay in Italy During Summer
Italy knows how to summer. I mean, the whole place closes down in August (including all of my mills and suppliers) and everyone heads for the coast. If this isn’t a sign that you should choose Italy as your destination for summer, then I don’t know what is!
I love sharing Lois Avery destinations, and as I move along, I think I’m growing a better understanding of what a true "Lois Avery destination" actually is. For example, we all love the big hitters (Positano, Lake Como, etc.), but I believe there are so many hidden gems - where the Italians holiday. Places that are off the radar of many tourists and so worth your attention.
Whenever I google Maratea, I come up with lots of search results for Matera. Okay, so they are both in Basilicata and pretty much share the same letters, but they are distinct destinations!
Maratea is not the cave-dwelling town on a ravine that is the go-to setting for Hollywood movies depicting biblical times, that’s Matera. Maratea is, in fact, the chic seaside town with a stunning harbour and spectacular rocky coastline.
My friend Nicky of sustainable t-shirt brand The Natural Edition knows this stretch of coast well and recommends that you stay at Santavenere. She said, “We spent the most blissful family holiday at Santavenere in Maratea last summer with our girls. The setting was spectacular - just like the prettiest bits of the Amalfi Coast but without the crowds. You can expect unique touches from Santavenere like the special herbal infusions one of their bartenders made to go in our cocktails. We had never tasted anything like it and thoroughly enjoyed it. As for the girls, they loved the blue cave in Praia a Mare in Calabria. You access the caves on a pedalo and it's better than Capri and its without the crowds."
Also, don’t miss Spiaggia Acquafredda just a short drive outside of Maratea. This rocky stretch of coast is sparkling blue.
Lake Garda is one of my favourite places. I love the drama of the hillside towns and cliffs that drop into the lake. Not to mention the pretty pastel colours the towns are adorned in.
I was so excited to see that Prati Palai has opened its doors in the rolling hills of Bardolino at the southern end of the lake. Pretty Prati Palai is a small hotel that sits on a huge farming estate amongst olive groves and woods. The hotel gets extra style points for matching the dreamy green pastel interiors with the greens of the picture postcard setting.
Be sure to wander the elegant streets of nearby Sirmione one evening and enjoy a gelato whilst you join the passeggiata.
We visited the beach in Scopello last September and stayed in town as we weren’t quick enough to snag one of the gorgeous apartments at La Tonnara di Scopello, which give private access to all of the grounds of the Tonnara. You’ve probably seen early morning photos of sun loungers lined up along the pontoon. This is not a public spot, and paying your €5 to spend a day at the Tonnara (which I wrote about here) will not give you access to these areas - you actually have to be a guest! I can only imagine how magical it must be to have this little cove all to yourself after the tourists have left for the day.
I love Puglia’s shabby chic vibe, amazing regional cuisine and gorgeous beaches – I have spoken before about my love of the beach club Porto Ghiacciolo. It really is hard to beat Puglia for a beach holiday in spring or summer.
La Peschiera is a beautiful hotel by the sea, near some of my favourite Puglian towns… Monopoli... Polignano a Mare… Ostuni. We had drinks in the bar at La Peschiera when we stayed in Monopoli a few years ago and it was such a beautiful and elegant spot. I would love to go back. If I escaped here for a week, I think I would be content just to lie on my terrace reading a good book and looking out to sea. An Aperol Spritz would be welcomed too!
Ischia is so hot right now (and probably not under the radar anymore) but is definitely deserving of a mention on this list. I think this has a lot to do with Mezzatorre, the newly refreshed sister hotel to Il Pellicano. The chic pool and Mediterranean blue furnishings are certainly attracting a lot of attention. I’m dreaming of lounging under one of those candy stripe umbrellas on the rocks overlooking the sea.
I would love to head up into the hills for lunch at Il Focolare. It’s about 20 minutes by car from Mezzatorre.
Do I have you dreaming of an Italian getaway? I hope so. These spots are by no means “secrets”, but they will more than likely save you from the massive tourist crowds you’ll find in other popular Italian destinations. And if you do plan a holiday to any of them, keep your eyes open for Lois Avery cashmere because you very well might find me basking in the sun with a Spritz and a gelato in hand!