Florence often feels like a victim of its success—too beloved by the tourists who crowd its compact historic center, elbowing their way across the Ponte Vecchio bridge and enduring long lines for a look at Michelangelo’s David statue.
So it’s a relief to arrive at an elegant hotel like the 1865 Residenza d’Epoca. With only five rooms, each named for an author who once lived in Florence, this newly converted town house recalibrates your experience of the city. (It’s near Sant’Ambrogio market, where locals are still in the majority.) The owners, opera singer Cinzia Borsotti and her husband, coordinate “secret Florence” itineraries as well as themed walks based on the haunts of authors like Henry James.
Across Italy, we found 10 such stylish newcomers—many family-run—that encourage travelers to get to know Italy in a more personal way. Most of these hotels also occupy an enviable location and offer rooms with a view, whether of cliff-hugging houses along the Amalfi Coast or vineyards in Piedmont.
Even Lake Como, known for its majestic hotels, recently welcomed the 13-room Relais Villa Vittoria to the waterfront in the town of Laglio. Soak up the sun by its infinity pool, or seek some shade, and perhaps another prosecco, under the jasmine-covered pergola.
Read on for more small Italian hotels, each offering a fresh taste of la dolce vita. —Kate Appleton
Hotel Pricing Key
$ Less than $200
$$ $200 to $350
$$$ $350 to $500
$$$$ $500 to $1,000
$$$$$ More than $1,000