1 of 12
Perhaps it’s the romantic ideal of a moonlit night on the Spanish Steps, or maybe the dream of love, Lady and the Tramp-style, over a plate of spaghetti. Either way, there are few destinations more swoon-worthy than Italy, something the boutique-hotel experts behind the travel website Mr & Mrs Smith know very well. They’ve rounded up their most eye-poppingly gorgeous Italian stays at wallet-friendly prices, so you can spend your money on the essentials, such as tagliatelle and tiramisu.
Note: Hotel rates reflect the lowest available at press time and are subject to change.
For an authentic look at life on the Italian agriculture scene, check into Sicily’s sprawling Azienda Agricola Mandranova (rooms from $160). Gregarious owners Giuseppe and Silvia press their own olive oil from groves on the land, make their own soap, and teach cooking classes using produce plucked from the kitchen gardens. But farm life isn’t all hard work: reward your efforts with a dip into the infinity pool.
Room to book: L’Oliva Suite has a huge sitting room, two bedrooms, and two bathrooms (one with a shower, the other with a tub). It’s beautifully tiled, with a quartz and cement floor and an antique bed carved with cherubs.
3 of 12
When in Rome, live like a local at this historic 17th-century townhouse just off the Spanish Steps. The cutting-edge rooms (from $213) have canopied beds, original ceilings, and giant marble bathrooms. There’s no bar or restaurant on the premises, so head out on the town to sip Negronis with the real Romans at a piazza-side café.
Room to book: The Junior Suite is quite the romantic little nook, with its canopy-draped, king-sized bed, marble bathtub, and rainfall shower.
Perched above vineyards and olive groves, Palazzo Bontadosi is unmistakably Umbrian. Originally home to a medieval cardinal, this fresco-laden lodge now has the ideal blend of old and new touches. Rooms (from $206) combine modern and Renaissance art, painted beamed ceilings frame contemporary furniture, and the oldest building—which dates to the 12th century—holds the misty subterranean spa, where guests can try the latest treatments, including grape facials or warm-water massages.
Room to book: Room Four, a junior suite, has a free-standing tub, ceiling finished in fresco, and a giant chandelier. For even more frescoes, request Room One, Cardinal Bontadosi’s original study, where they cover every rafter, the walls, and the domed ceiling.
5 of 12
There’s an Italian fairytale element to Follonico in the medieval town of Montefollonico. The restored centuries-old Tuscan farmhouse (rooms from $218) has whimsical decorations—including a wedding dress hanging on a wall and an antique typewriter on a table—that look as though they’ve been left behind by long-forgotten literary characters. Enchanting as its interiors are, they might just be bettered by the green hills and verdant vineyards surrounding this boutique bolthole.
Room to book: If you’re in the mood for a quainter stay, reserve the Rosso Tramonto suite for eyefuls of Tuscany from three windows; alternatively, opt for the spacious Verde Intenso suite, which is accessed via a private balcony atop an original stone staircase.
6 of 12
Palazzo Seneca, a restored 16th-century retreat, is as rich in decor as its homeland’s famous truffles are in flavor. The hotel has towering, locally crafted four-posters and rich fabrics in the bedrooms (from $182), a charming courtyard, and a masculine oak-paneled reading room ideal for brushing up on local history. Don’t miss a trip to Piano Grande, where the mountain-ringed plains explode with crocuses, hyacinths, and tulips in spring.
Room to book: Water lovers will feel right at home in Room 210, which has an indoor wet room (the whole ceiling rains on you) and a private terrace with sun loungers.
Swipe here for next slide
7 of 12
From its hilltop roost, Casa San Ruffino (rooms from $170) overlooks sunflower fields bright enough to inspire Van Gogh. Le Marche, one of Italy’s least-touristy regions, has beautiful mountains, perfectly grassy olive oil, and delicious food. Camp out in this three-story farmhouse, with traditional terracotta floors and French doors, for the best place to appreciate the green vistas.
Room to book: Pick Loro Piceno for its slanted ceiling and wide French doors out to the gardens. (You’d never know it was a former pig sty!) Farm-stay fanatics will also enjoy Falerone, which still has iron rings on the walls that once hung above the cattle mangers.
8 of 12
Eight rooms (from $136) are spread across two apartments at this Florence design den. The chic attic rooms open out to a common room and kitchen, where staff serve cakes and snacks. The ultra-Italian bedrooms include crisp linens and black-and-white Fratelli Alinari prints of Florentine cityscapes. Floroom One, which has easy access to hip bars, is set in its building’s slanting eaves. Floroom Two ticks off the tourist box: It’s a quick stroll from must-see sites like the Duomo and Santa Maria Novella.
Rooms to book: In Floroom One, choose Room Three for its modern four-poster and bold, oversize wall clock. Floroom Two’s Room Eight is its largest, with an additional day bed, two showers, and a pool of natural light.
9 of 12
A Murano-embellished Mediterranean mansion, Villa dei D’Armiento (rooms from $180) sparkles in bright whites and greens from its perch by the sea. On land, the hotel’s surrounding grounds bloom with camellias and grapefruit-size lemons. Laze by the palm-shaded pool, or skip down to the sea to admire Mount Vesuvius from the water.
Room to book: All of the rooms have a fresh, bright green and white color palette, but we especially love the Terrace Room at the top—it has a view of Vesuvius, courtesy of its eponymous, enormous rooftop, and can only be reached by a private lift.
10 of 12
The gorgeous Locanda al Colle guesthouse in Versilia feels more like a wealthy, art-collecting friend’s villa than a hotel. The modern, uniquely decorated rooms (from $242) overlook the ocean, and the walls are decorated with museum-quality works. In lieu of dining at a nearby restaurant, toast prosecco with owner Riccardo at candlelit dinner parties on his terrace.
Room to book: Aurora’s panoramic terrace has an outdoor fireplace; inside, it’s elegant and luxurious, with a green-and-gold palette, black-and-white photographs of nudes, and a bathroom blessed with both a shower and tub. If you crave space, opt for the taupe-and-gray Colle, a suite full of Fifties armchairs, a fireplace, and a four-poster bed.
Prefer to gaze at Italy from the ice? Take over an apartment at this chalet-chic set of apartments in the Dolomites. Near the Austrian border, this hotel takes its skiing seriously: There’s a boot-dryer on hand, as well as a spa with saunas for instant de-icing. To complete the sumptuously snow-bound ambiance, each suite (from $230) has its own natural drinking fountain, fed by a spring.
Room to book: Honeymooners should book Bellerophon, which has a terrace running the length of the apartment and Lagazuoi mountain views. Ammonite has a seductive leather-upholstered bed, an open fireplace in its living room, and a massage shower.
12 of 12
Swipe here for next slide