Italy: Pre- and Post-Cruise Sojourns



Civitavecchia Harbor
Civitavecchia Harbor is a haven for luxury yachts.


Thousands of visitors come to Italy every year to take cruises out of Civitavecchia (Rome) and Venice. Often, seasoned travelers want a new experience before or after their cruises. So, from the endless list of possibilities, we’ve picked a few notable ones.


Advisor Insight:

Tom Baker, president of Cruise Center in Houston, knows all the ins and outs of Venice. “Venice remains one of the best ports to visit for luxury cruise travelers,” he says. “My favorite hotel is the Hotel Cipriani, which remains the crown jewel of the city for the elite traveler. It sits on its own island on the Grand Canal and features luxury accommodations in grand style with a massive private swimming pool and exquisite gardens that Casanova is believed to have once frequented. A table at “Cips” is coveted for a meal with its spectacular views at sunset on the Grand Canal.

“For those looking at in-city locations, the Bauers and Bauers Il Palazzo remain favorites for pre- and post-cruise passengers. The best meals are found on the north end of the city, away from the tourist fray [St. Marks Square and the Grand Canal]. And a local restaurant serving risotto with black squid sauce [a local favorite] and a sweet delicacy, tiramisu, founded in this great city is not to be missed. My favorite dining venue is Osteria Ae Sconte.

“The best thing to do in Venice is to hire a guide to tell you the secrets of its amazing mercantile past. I use IC Bellagio for its expertise. For shopping, I prefer the artistic master papier-mâché oneof- a-kind Carnevale masks made by the famous Boldrin brothers of La Bottega dei Mascareri. Venice continues to enchant and offer a supreme experience for today’s luxury traveler.”



The 49-room Grand Hotel Terme di Stigliano sits in a wooded park between the Mediterranean coast and Lake Bracciano, a quick 25-mile drive inland from Civitavecchia. We love the gorgeous yellow villa, built in the 18th century, on the ruins of Roman temples. The property includes natural hot springs, the Terme Stigliano, where battle-hardened Roman soldiers came to relax eons ago. Today, those same springs ease away the stress of modern life and jetlag. In addition to the Superior and Standard rooms, guests can unwind in a Junior Suite or in one of the two Suites with balconies overlooking the pool, each decorated in yellows, creams and rich tones.

The wellness center and spa within the hotel includes two natural hyperthermal pools, a large (very large) swimming pool and several treatment rooms. Down a pathway inside the hotel’s park is the spa center Bagnarello, one of those wonderful Italian health spas that make the most of the numerous hot springs throughout Italy. Here, the hot sulfur-iodine water is used for soaking, skin and sinus treatments and mud therapies. The Stigliano has a variety of wellness packages, some with dining at Il Ninfeo, the hotel restaurant.

Sitting on the grand terrace of the hotel at sunset, a Campari and soda or glass of local vino in hand, is a pleasure not to be missed. Il Ninfeo Ristorante serves very good typical regional dishes, as well as a casual lunch buffet, perfect for those coming in from the pool or spa. The hotel is a magical spot for a destination wedding, with a charming tiny chapel and grand public spaces both indoors and out.

For more information, get in touch with Signora Cetta at 011-39-6-9980-5977; e-mail [email protected] or [email protected]; or fax 011-39-6-996-3428.

Note: Some hotels asked that we not share contact names, but all can offer help at the numbers provided.

Seventy miles south of Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci airport, in Sabaudia, is a cluster of lakes—the Pontine Lagoons—that parallels the Mediterranean coast. Il San Francesco Hotel is on the shores of one of these placid lagoons, less than five minutes from 20 miles of pristine Mediterranean beaches. The area has long been a favorite of upscale Romans.

The 27-room villa hotel is completely white, except for the green lawns that extend to the water. White linen curtains blowing in the breeze lead guests onto the terrace for breakfast or lunch. The dining room serves dinner, in which Chef Philomena often includes the freshest of fish and shellfish from the local lakes or sea.

The rooms are decorated mostly in white, colonial-style, with large bathrooms. Room No. 201, a Classic room, has a lake view and a large bedroom, while No. 210, a Suite, has wraparound lake vistas and a large corner balcony.


Grand Hotel Terme di Stigliano
Grand Hotel Terme di Stigliano ’s Terrazza Ristorante is a great venue to relax alfresco.

The hotel has two small docks on the lake for those keen on a boat tour or a swim; there is also a private beach on the Mediterranean, with a hotel shuttle service back and forth. Great day trips include taking the ferry to charming Ponza Island, deep sea fishing, or going up the Circeo Mountain to the charming village of San Felice Circeo.

To book, ask for Ludavica de Cesare or Signora Martina at 011-39-773-515-951, e-mail [email protected], or fax 011-39-773-512-380.


Albergo Cappello
Albergo Cappello is housed in a Venetian-style renaissance building, with molto atmosphere.

Prefer town to countryside? When sailing out of Venice, we love to stop off in Ravenna, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its amazing Christian and Byzantine mosaics. Ravenna, on the Adriatic coast, is a two-hour drive south of Venice; the route passes through some Italian favorites, including Bologna, Ferrara and Padova.

A charming little place to stay in Ravenna is the 15th-century Albergo Cappello, housed in a Venetian-style Renaissance building. There are only seven rooms, including three Suites and two Junior Suites. Ask for the frescoed Amaranth Dream to soak in the full effect of the architecture or for the Tower View Junior Suite to see over the city.

Murano glass chandeliers lend an air of Venetian elegance to both rooms and public spaces, while the restaurant is lush in dramatic reds. The palace, at Via IV Novembre 41, is a fine example of the classic architecture of the Veneto. Parking is free for a stay of three nights or longer and the hotel arranges guided tours of Ravenna.

For details, call 011-39-544-219-813, e-mail [email protected], or fax 011-39-544-219-814.


San Francesco Hotel
Il San Francesco Hotel sits on the shores of a lagoon.

In Venice itself, we love Giudecca island, the old-time hideaway of Venice’s nobility, where some shy celebrities still live. There is nothing better in la Serenissima than the postcard views from the Bauer Palladio.

The Palladio’s public areas are spare and elegant, reflecting the style of its designer, revered architect Andrea Palladio. The 37 rooms are retreats from the clamor of the city, but as close to the action as the next hotel boat. Junior Suite No. 128, overlooking the garden, is the secluded choice. Suite No. 116 is two floors of dusty rose and taupe, with a big marble bath, separate living room, and windows facing the lagoon. Room No. 127 is perfect for business, spreading out over two stories, with a walk-in closet and desk. Our favorite pastime: lounging in the Bauer’s spa after a treatment, gazing out across the Grand Canal to the Piazza San Marco.


Bauer Palladio
Bauer Palladio’s 37 rooms and suites are a sanctuary from the energy of Venice.

Call 011-39-41-240-6808/6819 or e-mail [email protected] for bookings. Mary Guerzoni ([email protected]; 011-39-41-240-6995), Bauer’s deputy sales manager, loves Venice and is eager to assist with plans and programs. Guerzoni tells us that the garden behind the hotel, where diners enjoy Chef Alessandro Zaccheo’s signature Venetian dishes when weather permits, is the largest green space in Venice. And we thought the town was all water!

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