Italy: Antica Corte Pallavicina Relais, Polesine Parmense
Great Value If culatello, an über-prosciutto produced in the misty lowlands near Parma, is a porcine cult favorite, then its high priest is Massimo Spigaroli—one of Italy’s top salumi producers, president of the Culatello di Zibello Consorzio, chef of the legendary Al Cavallino Bianco restaurant, and a great-grandson of a farmer who cured hams for Giuseppe Verdi. And now he’s a hotelier, too, with a new inn in a medieval castle on his historic farm estate, Antica Corte. After a feast of salumi and divine eggy pastas, guests can collapse into a four-poster bed in one of the six rooms, with antique furniture, Oriental carpets on tiled floors, and rustic-chic designer bathrooms. Following a breakfast of flaky crostata tarts and farm-fresh yogurt in a vaulted chamber decorated with 15th-century frescoes, guests can amble by the farm’s heirloom geese and black Culatello pigs. The affordable room prices include a gift basket stuffed with a fine hunk of Parmesan, fruit, the estate’s own wine, and dusky, soft strolghino salami. T+L Tip Enroll in one of the Antica Corte’s pasta-rolling, liqueur-producing, or salumi-tasting sessions. Doubles from $185; dinner for two $86.