The 12 Most Gorgeous, Historic Hotels You Can Book In Italy, According To Travelers

In Italy, age doesn't come before beauty, nor vice-versa — this European country is steeped in amazing architecture and scenery as well as history dating back centuries. Even to everyday travelers, neither of these features is hidden. Instead, beautiful old architecture is around every corner, even in hotel rooms. That's because Italy is full of historic hotels that have been restored to their original splendor, offering everything from Art Deco nods to age-old facades, making for picture-perfect stays that are ideal for both history buffs as well as those just looking to stay in a beautiful and unique room in one of the most popular places for tourism on the planet, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Although countless hotels in Italy are both gorgeous and historic, Traveler Blog rounded up the best by scrounging through hotel guides, travel blogs, historical websites, and Italy travel guides to find the hotels that offer fascinating, storied histories that can be seen on every painstakingly cared-for wall that's been around for generations. At these hotels, you'll find a five-star stay surrounded by must-see Italian sights and the spirit of guests from centuries past. We've included more in-depth information about our methodology at the end of this article.

Palazzo Tirso Cagliari MGallery, Cagliari

When Palazzo Tirso Cagliari MGallery, then known as Palazzo Tirso, was built in 1927 by Italian engineer Flavio Scano, it was immediately recognized as an exquisite building well-known in Sardinia thanks to its ideal location in the heart of Cagliari; its Art Nouveau-inspired architecture; and its look that paid homage to the storied history of the island. Although nearly a century has passed since then, this historic building is still known for much of the same — although now, it has new life as a boutique, modern hotel with 85 guestrooms.

During the 1920s and beyond, Palazzo Tirso was an office building. Through the years, it housed major companies such as the Sardinian Electricity Company, Instituto Bancario San Paolo di Torino, and Bastogi S.p.a.. Still, by 2019, many companies had moved out, and the historic space was re-imagined as a hotel designed by Studio Marco Piva. Today, while the building still has its Art Nouveau-style façade, it employs colorful rooms with modern touches, an outdoor terrace with amazing views of the city, two onsite restaurants, and a spa. It's all located in what is perhaps the most coveted location in Cagliari along the Piazza Deffenu, near many local attractions and the waterfront. The hotel even has its own beach club with a shuttle to take guests to and from Poetto Beach and a hotel and rest area there. 

Palazzo Caracciolo Napoli MGallery, Naples

If you stay at Palazzo Caracciolo Napoli MGallery, you'll be walking the same stone steps, dining atop the same floors, and sleeping in the same rooms that Neapolitan royalty once lived in and where some of them even got married. The palace dates back to 1584 when it was erected by the Caracciolo family, a Neapolitan royal family, to replace their castle that was destroyed by an earthquake. Through the centuries, other leaders, including Henry II de Lorraine, the Duke of Guise, also lived here, and several royal couples also said their nuptials here. However, the beautiful building featuring Classic Revival architecture was abandoned until the early 1800s when it found new life as a hotel.

Today, hotel guests can see history alive at Palazzo Caracciolo Napoli MGallery through its original gold moldings, original drawings by Eduardo Alamaro, stone staircases, and impenetrable walls separating the hotel's 145 rooms. Guests will find regal touches like sky-high ceilings and ornate gold furniture inside the rooms. Plus, onsite are two restaurants, one in the center courtyard of the building sitting atop a serene and private stone patio. The hotel is also home to Era Wellness Lounge, which has sunbeds, hot tubs, a Turkish bath, a sauna, and a relaxation area for a truly luxurious stay — all surrounded by original stone walls and curved ceilings for a historic flair.

Aleph Rome Hotel Curio Collection by Hilton, Rome

Perhaps the former customers of Central Institute of Savings Bank, which was inside the building that's now the Aleph Rome Hotel Curio Collection by Hilton, didn't appreciate its location in Rome, which is also a great spot for winter couples' getaway, but hotel guests do. This hotel, which was the site of the bank from the 1930s through the 1990s, is located near must-see Rome attractions like the Spanish Steps, the Villa Borghese, and the Trevi Fountain. Even though it's been nearly a century since its construction, it still maintains its historic charm thanks to the hotel's former owners. Once the bank closed in the 1990s and a hotel company purchased the building, architects restored the structure to its lavish former Italian Renaissance style, even using Dante Alighieri's "Divine Comedy" as their muse.

The Aleph Rome Hotel Curio Collection by Hilton has 88 guestrooms with modern amenities but original features, such as the building's marble and onyx touches. Guests can even see pieces of the old bank inside — onsite Le Caveau By Narducci Hair & Spa is located inside the former bank vault with a Finnish sauna, hot tubs, massage rooms, and a gym. Plus, as a nod to the hotel's past, the onsite eatery is called the 1930s Restaurant. Those calling the Aleph Rome Hotel Curio Collection by Hilton home for the night can also check out its cognac lounge with lush teal banquettes and marble lobby bar.

Hilton Molino Stucky Venice, Venice

Is it a holiday in Venice, one of the best Italian destinations to add to your winter bucket list, if you're not on an island? Those staying at Hilton Molino Stucky Venice, on Giudecca Island, don't have that problem. Guests sleep in the former flour mill built in the late 1800s before boarding a private shuttle to head to the city epicenter, Piazza San Marco. The former mill, which at its peak employed 1500 workers and created 50 tons of flour daily, was re-imagined as a hotel in 2007.

It's the biggest hotel in Venice, offering nearly 400 rooms in various designs, including a classic Venetian style. With so many designs, every Hilton Molino Stucky Venice stay is different. For a one-of-a-kind stay, guests can book the Molino Presidential Suite, the biggest and highest suite in the city. It offers a swimming pool with panoramic views, a private hot tub and gym, and a Murano glass design, hand-blown glass made using special methods only found in Venice.

Even if the presidential suite isn't in your budget, you can still dine and drink at the highest rooftop bar in Venice at Hilton Molino Stucky Venice's Skyline Rooftop Bar. Beyond unmatched views of Venice, it offers 16 craft cocktails. Or, to dine on authentic Venetian eats, head to the onsite restaurant Bacaromi, where you'll also see plenty of locals enjoying their meals.

Hotel Bernini Palace, Florence

One of the best aspects of visiting Florence, a must-visit spot in Tuscany, is the immersion in Renaissance history. That's especially true at Hotel Bernini Palace, which dates back to the 14th century, the start of the Renaissance. At the time, the wealthy Italian Della Pera family called Bernini Palace their home. By the 17th century, it had transformed into a luxurious hotel and the only such option in the city with running water. But that was far from the only reason that Hotel Bernini Palace was an upscale place to spend the night. Its 74 rooms are unique, but they all feature different stunning details, such as parquet flooring, four-poster beds, wood-beamed ceilings, gold ornamentation, or lush tapestries.

Even the dining areas at Hotel Bernini Palace are both beautiful and historic. Its onsite La Chiostrina restaurant sits inside a portico dating back more than 500 years and serves traditional Florentine fare and international eats. Plus, a colorful, detailed fresco on the ceiling lines its jaw-dropping Parliament Hall and the space once hosted members of Parliament to dine, hence the name. Guests can pick from a buffet of organic and artisanal foods that represent the best of what Florence has to offer. The ornate ambiance of Hotel Bernini Palace has been so special throughout history that even celebrities like Sophia Loren, Patty Smith, Richard Branson, and Claudia Schiffer have frequented it.

Grand Hotel Tremezzo, Lake Como

You can't miss the façade of the Art Nouveau-style Grand Hotel Tremezzo, which has looked the same for over a century. When Enea Gandola opened the hotel in 1910, he sought to create a luxurious escape similar to those he had encountered across the continent, as more people wanted to see the world while indulging in lavishness. Many influential families visited for a stay, as they still do so today. The Grand Hotel Tremezzo maintains the vivacious colors, glamorous details, Como silk, and historic furniture that attracted visitors in the first place. You'll encounter these features in every common area and guest room, especially in the historic suites, like Suite Greta, which pays homage to Greta Garbo, who described the Grand Hotel Tremezzo as "that sunny, happy place" in the 1932 film "Grand Hotel." 

Grand Hotel Tremezzo also boasts impressive views of the Grigne mountains, sits at the edge of Lake Como, and has three pools. Lush greenery and colorful blooms surround its Flowers Pool, while its Infinity Pool connects to the onsite spa. Water-On-The-Water, a pool that floats atop Lake Como, may stand out the most among these options. A park full of landscaped foliage offering a peaceful vibe borders the hotel, only adding to the appeal that makes Lake Como one of the most romantic European destinations for couples.

Grand Hotel et de Milan, Milan

Milan has long been the epicenter of culture, fashion, and elegance in Italy, and you'll find the Grand Hotel et de Milan at the heart of it all, just a five-minute walk from the legendary La Scala opera house. Fittingly, La Scala has influenced the hotel's history since it opened in 1863, with greats like Maria Callas, Giuseppe Verdi, and Mario Lanza finding respite there. Verdi actually lived in the Grand Hotel et de Milan for nearly three decades — earning it the moniker "Verdi's House" — and you can book the suite he once resided in. The Verdi Suite features three terraces, a fireplace, high ceilings, French windows, and traditional décor combined with modern amenities.

The Grand Hotel et de Milan, the first hotel in the city to offer postal and telegraph services, underwent renovations and expansions over the years. Still, it never lost its historic charm and nods to the past. The name of Its onsite restaurant, Don Carlos, also serves as a tribute to Verdi and his famous five-act grand opera of the same title. The Grand Hotel et de Milan's historical ties extend beyond La Scala. Roman ruins dating back to 250 A.D. were discovered in the basement in 1993 during renovations, and visitors can now see them in the Don Carlos wine cellar.

Villa Le Barone, Panzano

Surrounded by acres of gardens full of flowers and trees nestled in the Tuscan countryside between Florence and Siena, you might think you've entered a private home at Villa Le Barone — not a completely false assumption. That's because this boutique hotel, where all the rooms boast unique designs, once served as the Della Robbia family home. Since the Renaissance, the same family has owned the property for generations, and legendary Florentine artist Luca Della Robbia even spent his summers there. Later, the family converted Villa Le Barone into a winery before they gave it new life as one of the first boutique hotels in the area.

Today, Villa Le Barone retains its rustic and historic charm with rooms adorned with exposed wood beams, period décor, pastel colors, and opulent drapery looking out onto the lush hills. For the best experience, guests can book a historic suite, with one option inside the hotel's tower, providing unmatched views of the region. Hotel guests can also literally taste history at Villa Le Barone. The onsite restaurant Il Torchio, which means "the wine press" in Italian, is located in the property's former wine cellar. Visitors can sample the best of the Chianti region while inside a traditional winemaking space dating back generations. Il Torchio serves dinner inside and outside on the stone terrace with an ever-changing menu featuring the best of what Tuscany offers.

Castello Di Gargonza, Arezzo

It doesn't get much more historic than a stay in an Italian village-turned-hotel. Castello Di Gargonza, which dates back to the 13th century, is precisely that. Centuries ago, Castello Di Gargonza was a small but mighty Italian village where residents pressed olives, kept animals, sewed clothing, and grew produce in a farming community with 13 buildings. It even housed the castle where Dante spent his exile after he departed from Florence. However, after years of flourishing, the residents abandoned the community in the 1900s when they sought more urban lifestyles. Roberto Guicciardini Corsi Salviati swooped in and restored the village, and Count Roberto later converted it into one of the first historic inns in the region, possibly in the 1960s.

At Castello Di Gargonza, all rooms differ from the next, with each located in a separate building in the former village. They're also all named after the people who once lived or worked in that building, such as the dwelling of the gamekeeper Celso or the home of the seamstress Niccolina. Other buildings in the village have also found new life at Castello Di Gargonza, such as the buffet breakfast offered inside the former cellar where residents pressed olives to create olive oil. For a meal in yet another historically revamped space, visitors should head to the hotel's La Torre di Gargonza, which once served as the storage area for the village's agricultural machines. There, guests can indulge in traditional Tuscan eats such as homemade pasta.

Villa del Gattopardo Suites & Spa, Palermo

Villa del Gattopardo Suites & Spa got its start at the beginning of the 1700s as a summer home. With its massive garden, imposing architecture like a double-arm staircase, coffered ceilings, and colorful frescoes, it's easy to see how its former residents found respite there. In fact, author Giuseppe Lanza Tomasi di Lampedusa found the beauty of Villa del Gattopardo Suites & Spa so inspiring that he came up with the idea for his celebrated Sicilian book "The Leopard" there. Inside, guests can still see what stirred Tomasi to put pen to paper, as the guestrooms remain decorated in an ornate Sicilian style with gold chandeliers, elaborately adorned furniture, plush bedding, and patterned rugs.

Outside, the nods to history only continue with the hotel's massive fountain that moves to some of the most well-known waltzes in the world. In Sicilian culture, water symbolizes peace, life, and purity, and many households throughout history had their own fountains to showcase this. So, it's natural that Villa del Gattopardo Suites & Spa has one, too, which guests can see each evening when it springs into motion among changing colors.

Relais Monastero San Biagio, Nocera Umbra

With its roaring Vespas, flowing wine, animated people, and busy cities, Italy doesn't exactly scream tranquility — but Relais Monastero San Biagio does. The ancient monastery in Nocera Umbra dates back to 1215 A.D. It has since undergone a conversion into a hotel focused on physical and mental well-being through features ranging from its simple rooms with no TVs to its spa with a long list of treatments. Although no monks have called the former monastery home for a while, visitors can still find peace with spa services like the Pilgrim's Way, which includes a steamed Turkish bath as well as a body scrub with St. John's wort oil; and the Etruscan Bath Route, which is a hot bath in a hydrorelax tank that also includes a sweet herbal tea drink. 

Unlike the several ornate hotels within the country, Relais Monastero San Biagio's rooms focus on minimalism with exposed wood beams, wood headboards, arched windows, and terracotta floors dating back centuries. Also, in contrast to other Italian destinations that focus on wine, beer takes center stage there. Relais Monastero San Biagio has earned renown for its San Biagio, a simple yet satisfying unfiltered craft beer that mirrors the qualities of the accommodation. Guests can enjoy it onsite at the hotel's restaurant or take it home to taste this Zenlike retreat wherever they live.

Hotel Angelo Engel, Ortisei

Italian mountain range and UNESCO World Heritage site, the Dolomites, known as the Dolomite Mountains, has long been popular for skiing and other winter activities. Hotel Angelo Engel in Ortisei, where travelers have found retreat since 1547 due to its ideal location near the bustle of town and sense of privacy, rests at the heart of it all. The inn's popularity grew as commerce picked up in the area, eventually gaining favor with the many cattle traders who traveled to Ortisei in the 1700s and 1800s. Throughout history, it evolved into the modern yet serene hotel known today, with its current owners purchasing it in the early 1900s.

At Hotel Angelo Engel, guests enjoy indoor pools to combat the sometimes chilly Dolomites weather; a spa with a sauna, hot tubs, and tanning beds; personal spa services; and simple yet modern rooms outfitted with pine furniture made by local businesses. Visitors can find the best of both worlds as they hit the slopes of Ortisei before kicking back at the relaxing hotel with a historic flair.

How we chose the historic Italian hotels

As anyone who has visited Italy knows, the beautiful country boasts countless hotels that offer stunning facilities and rich histories that span centuries. Given this, it was no walk through Piazza del Duomo to find the best hotels to include on this list. Traveler Blog read numerous accommodation and Italy guides, travel blogs, historical websites, and reviews to discover hotels with exciting and culturally significant histories that served as more than museums. To make the cut, they also had to have the amenities and comforts travelers look for when deciding where to go for a relaxing and luxurious stay.