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Experience the Glamour of Belmond’s Italian Hotels as they re-open for 2014

April 22, 2014 Hotel Openings No Comments Email Email

Belmond has launched a series of vintage experiences at its hotels in Portofino, Venice, Florence, Ravello,and Sicily as they reopen for the summer season.
unnamed (1) unnamedInspired by Hollywood stars of the 1950s and 60s, who flocked to Italy for their holidays, guests can head to the Italian Riviera and Belmond Hotel Splendido to relive Elizabeth Taylor’s fruitful search for love and happiness; Discover Florence in a Fiat 600 like Bridgette Bardot once did at Belmond Villa San Michele, or explore Sicily’s quaint villages in a vintage Piaggio Vespa Ape car from Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo; relax with a picnic from Belmond Hotel Caruso on one of the Amalfi Coast’s iconic beaches like Jackie O; Embark on a tour-of-the-senses in Venice’s hidden corners from Belmond Hotel Cipriani; and take to the high seas in a hand-painted boat with Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea to enjoy the flavours and colours of Taormina.

The legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Expresstrain, featured in such iconic films as From Russia With Love andAlfred Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishe, is the perfect beginning and/or end to any Italian experience with Belmond too. Travelling from London through to Venice, the luxurious Art Deco carriages  continue to keep the spirit of ‘La Dolce Vita’ alive.

Embark on a Film Tour of Venice
Belmond Hotel Ciprianiis a true Venice legend, which has played host to countless film stars over the years. Guests can journey back in time on a tour of the city’s most famous film locations, including the 18th-century Venetian coffee house that featured in the 1955 romance Summertime, starring Katherine Hepburn, and the bridge under which Alberto Sordi’s handsome gondolier tried to seduce pretty tourists in the 1958 Italian comedy Venice, the Moon, and You.

The hotel has also launched a ‘Tour-of-the-Senses’ to showcase Venice’s vibrant culture and hidden gems. This sensory experience includes a visit to Francesco Molon’s luxurious perfumery, the famous chocolaterie Viziovirtù, a violin-maker’s workshop and a special visit to the glorious Palazzo Ca’ Bernardo, which is normally closed to the public.

Recapture Taylor and Burton’s Romance in Portofino
Belmond Hotel Splendidoin Portofino is said to be where Richard Burton proposed to Elizabeth Taylor, during a break from filmingCleopatra. Now, couples can recapture the fabled pair’s romance with a sunset cruise aboard the hotel’s private boat. Sipping chilled Prosecco while cruising past Portofino and Camogli Bay, guests can enjoy a dip in the emerald sea before mooring at the secluded beach of San Fruttuoso Abbey. Here, a waiter will serve an alfresco candlelit dinner for two.

Burton and Taylor also enjoyed water-skiing in Portofino, and Belmond Hotel Splendido can arrange for guests to enjoy this classic pastime in the crystal waters of the Italian Riviera too.

Follow Brigitte Bardot’s Footsteps through Florence
A 15th-century national monument surrounded by the cypress-studded Chianti hills, Belmond Villa San Micheleis a work of art with the ambiance of a private home. Guests with a love of nostalgia can drive back in time in a vintage Fiat 600, retracing Brigitte Bardot’s discovery of Florence in the 1962 classic film Love on a Pillow, taking in the gardens of Villa Gamberaia and the abbey of San Miniato al Monte.

The historic hotel also offers guests the chance to explore Florence on a retro Ape Calessino, a classic symbol of the laidback Italian lifestyle. After meandering up and down the city hills, guests will be guided through the best food shops and markets before enjoying a traditional Italian aperitivo on the Arno River at sunset.

Visit Jackie O’s Favourite Shops in Ravello
Set on a verdant clifftop, guests at Belmond Hotel Carusocan embark on a three-hour sailing trip aboard a ‘gozzo’ (a typical coastal wooden boat), harking back to the summer of 1962 when Jackie O visited the area. During this dreamy adventure of old-school glamour, guests will sail to the private beaches of Conca dei Marini and while away an afternoon swimming in the sea, sunbathing and enjoying a Mediterranean picnic.

Travelling down through Italy in your Vintage Fiat 600 from Belmond Villa San Michele, film fans will love the drive along the breathtaking Amalfi Coast, stopping to browse Jackie’s favourite local shops and looking out for stylish handmade sandals and linen camisoles to complete their retro look.

Take a Vintage Drive Through Time in Sicily
At Belmond Villa Sant’Andreain the Bay of Mazzarò, guests can take a voyage in a beautiful rainbow boat. Charming boatman Valentino will steer through the clear waters past the famous Grotta Azzurra, Isola Bella nature reserve, the Gulf of Giardini and the Bay of the Sirens before reaching Capo Taormina, where guests can soak up spectacular views of Taormina, Giardini Naxos and Mount Etna.

Meanwhile, sister hotel Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo,in Taormina, sits adjacent to the Greek Theatre and boasts unrivalled views of the coastline and Mount Etna. During Italy’s golden years, Hollywood stars, such as Greta Garbo and Truman Capote holidayed in the area, and guests can take a spin to their favourite haunts in the world’s most glamorous three-wheeler, an Ape Calessino. This classic car epitomised ‘La Dolce Vita’ in the 1950s and 60s and is perfect for a stylish leisurely drive.

Male guests can also be groomed like a ’50s film star during the hotel’s weekly Sicilian barbershop experience. After an invigorating massage, a top local barber will apply cream with a pure pig-bristle brush before performing a traditional straight-razor shave, followed by another massage and hot and cold towels.

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