If you are looking for a romantic boutique hotel in Abruzzo, Sextantio Albergo Diffuso is the place to stay! All those thinking about a visit to Italy for Valentine’s Day forget the tourist routes of Rome, head down to the intimate old Medici village of Santo Stefano di Sessanio instead.
Set in the Apennines of the Gran Sasso Park at 1251 metres above sea level just outside the university town of L’Aquila and just below Castel del Monte, people talk about how you can go to a place and feel the love – here you truly can with the meticulous detail that the Swedish architect Daniele Kihlgren has paid to what feels as if you have walked onto the set of The Name of the Rose – obviously without Christian Slater’s uncomfortable hessian sacking (maybe not so uncomfortable for the passion it invoked once removed!). Not only can you bask in the incredible history of this medieval Italian hillside village, but you can contemplate a new career as a creator of photographic coffee table books, inspired by the views, the villages and the culture…
The 28 rooms in the Palazzo delle Logge are each uniquely themed; besides the subtle luxury, the use of atmospheric & traditional colours and arts of Abruzzo lends cosy sense of rural charm. Somewhat sad considering the quest for sustainability and ‘locally sourced’ product is that the supplier of the toiletries is Florentine based – from the superb locally-produced soaps etc it would have been fantastic if they could use these and wrapped them in the pre-requisite brown paper rather than looking to Tuscany.
The food at dinner in the hotel’s Tre Archi was to be honest mediocre during our stay – they can pride themselves on recreating a wonderful ‘banqueting hall’ experience but the tastiness of the food itself was lacking and expensive compared to what is available and categorised as typical Abruzzo cuisine in the local agriturismi. There are alternative restaurants which we have visited in the town which are better, but as said if you are going for the ‘experience’ then this should more than hit the spot. In saying that breakfast can’t be faulted, absolutely superb and such choice – all locally produced ham, cheeses, salamis, quiches, tarts, homemade breads jams etc and that is included within the price!
Price of a double room for 2 people including breakfast starts at 220 euros inclusive – a beautiful treat to experience just once in a lifetime.
Hotel Website:Sextantio Albergo Diffuso
New York Times: New York Times – In Abruzzi, Italy shows a Rougher Edge
Wikipedia: Santo Stefano di Sessanio