Three Belmond Hotels in Italy to Stay Open in Winter for First Time

As pent-up desire for international travel explodes, the concept of an "offseason" in Europe no longer exists, according to Belmond. To meet this increased demand, three of the company’s Italy properties will remain open through the winter for the first time ever. Travelers can experience the holidays during an Italian-style festive retreat at Villa San Michele in Fiesole, Grand Hotel Timeo in Taormina and the recently renovated Splendido Mare in Portofino.  

Here's what guests can expect:

Grand Hotel Timeo (Taormina)

Sweet December Weekends: In December, “sweet weekends” arrive at Grand Hotel Timeo celebrating the traditional pastries of Sicily. A special brunch featuring the tastes of the season will be set up on the Literary Terrace every Saturday. Every Sunday, the hotel will offer a cooking class where pastry chefs will demonstrate iconic Sicilian desserts, such as modica chocolate, cannoli, cassata and almond pastries. Afterwards, guests can taste a selection of desserts while sipping a Sicilian passito with a view overlooking the Bay of Naxos and the snow-covered Etna.

Ape Calessino Christmas Tour: Guests can hop into the hotel's festively decorated Ape Calessino—one of Italy’s most iconic vehicles—for a tour of Taormina. On the ride, travelers will take in the view from the hilltop town of Castelmola and discover the nativity scenes handmade by the locals and on display along winding medieval roads. Of course, there will be stops at food stalls to sample traditional festive delicacies, too.

Splendido Mare (Portofino)

Christmas Wreaths & Wine: Guests can tap into the festive spirit and learn how to make their very own Christmas wreath using organic materials from Portofino’s Natural Park. They can choose from foliage, dried or fresh flowers, dried fruit and pinecones. To help the creative juices flow during the crafts session, a tasting selection of local wine will be served.

Celebrate The Italian Way: The festive season is celebrated in true Italian style, where Christmas is all about food, family and time-honored traditions. Guests can experience a classic ‘Cena della Vigilia’—Christmas Eve dinner—and learn about what goes into the perfect traditional Christmas lunch. When it is time to ring in 2022, the Portofino piazzetta will be the spot to feast and cheer in the New Year.

Villa San Michele (Florence)

Artisans of Florence: Taking holiday shopping to a new level, travelers can discover why Florence is world-renowned for its creative craftsmanship on "The Art of Making" tour. The journey begins by heading through the Tuscan hills into the city in a vintage Fiat 1100 Musone.  Then, guests spend time meeting with the craftspeople spearheading Florence’s New Renaissance. Insider access includes stepping behind the scenes to see how artists are preserving manual artistic traditions using new materials and adding contemporary flair. From jewelry to shoes, crystalware to perfumery, each artisan talks passionately about their craft's heritage and style. The tour concludes with an exclusive experience at the Louis Vuitton boutique.

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