Enrico Costantini, a Venetian documentary photographer and travel expert with a talent for visual storytelling, has followed his lens around the world to photograph people, places and hotels. With a background in interior design and fashion, he combines aesthetics, forms and a sense of space to create compositions that bring empathy to his travel photography – and draw out the essence of the world’s most soulful hotels. “Anyone can take a photo,” he explains. “The important thing is to train your eyes on how to see the world.”
After following Enrico’s stays around Italy’s finest hotels on Instagram, we asked him to share some of his favorite properties with The Italy Edit. Located from north to south, these soulful hotel stays combine warm hospitality and family history with a strong sense of place, stirring art and unique design. All photos ©Enrico Costantini.
Discover 10 boutique hotels that capture the soul of Italy
Maison la Minervetta
Like a ship suspended over the Gulf of Sorrento, the view of Vesuvius that is colored in different shades during the day. Maison La Minervetta is a place filled with personal objects and I love the attention to every detail – each one speaks to the person who conceived this space, Marco. It is such a personal space, constantly evolving as if it were a set. Every time I revisit the hotel, I have a new experience and I always feel at home here.
Miramonti Boutique Hotel
Klaus and Carmen are masters of South Tyrolean hospitality. Miramonti Boutique Hotel is a project that is constantly evolving, and the property is always adding new services – I love the new Onsen Pool. The view from the hotel’s infinity pool is iconic: like a drawing it pierces the sky that divides the mountains from the valley.
In the heart of Salento in Puglia, a 19th century building renovated by the well-known Palomba Serafini studio in Milan is the new destination for the contemporary traveler. Palazzo Daniele is the perfect place to meet artists, creatives from all over the world, living in the simplicity and authenticity of the Pugliese everyday life, where everyone strips off their clothes. Francesco and Gabriele will keep you inspired throughout your stay. A highlight is “THE SHOWER” in the Royal Suite, the most photographed shower in the world. I think I spent at least an hour in the shower the first time I stayed at the hotel.
Sikelia is like a fortress that welcomes you into its world through a large golden door, as if it were an oasis, and inside, tranquility reigns supreme. Giulia, who conceived and curated every detail of this gem of a property, will envelop you with her energy. Here, you’re catapulted into another dimension. When you admire beautiful sunsets from its roofs and walk barefoot with a glass of passito in hand, the experience will connect you to the soul of Pantelleria, one of my favorite islands in the Mediterranean.
In the heart of Umbria in a natural park, with hectares of woodland all around you, Eremito lies in the midst of tranquility. This project was created for “solo travelers” to disconnect from the frenzy of everyday life and rediscover nature and yourself. Marcello, who has retired at Eremito, conceived this place and his authenticity and humor will cheer you up as he recounts his stories and experiences traveling the world. My favorite experience is the “Silent Dinner” where you can savor locally grown products while listening to the sounds of Gregorian chants. It creates a truly unique atmosphere.
Born from Daniele Kihlgren’s brilliant idea to revitalize small villages, Sextantio is a project spread amongst two hotels: the first is Santo Stefano di Sessanio, an uncontaminated place far off the beaten path in Abruzzo. Each room is set within the medieval village – small spaces connected to each other. The thing that struck me the most is the simplicity and authenticity of Sextantio, and at the same time the elegance of this place. Here, you have the chance to sleep inside homes once inhabited by shepherds. Don’t miss horseback riding at sunset in the valley!
Le Grotte della Civita in Matera, on the other hand, is a whole other experience, as each room is set inside a cave. My suite was nearly 40 meters in depth, with lighting cast only by candles which makes any atmosphere magical. Here you can bathe in one of their iconic bathtubs, a contemporary feature that juxtaposes with the rugged soul of your surroundings.
La Bandita Townhouse
Pienza, a lively village nestled in the heart of the Val d’Orcia, is filled with craftsmen and local products. And thanks to John, travelers have the opportunity to experience the everyday life of this small, historic town. The heart of La Bandita is its cuisine and the property’s fantastic Chef David will delight you with his personality and delectable dishes every day.
In Franciacorta, Biondelli are undoubtedly the masters of Italy’s prized sparkling wine. I have never been an oenophile but thanks to Joska’s talent in the cellar, I fell in love with the estate’s wine and Satèn has become one of my favorites. Biondelli is a beautiful, historic place and Francesca’s hospitality and savoir-faire can be felt throughout. An interior designer herself, she has expertly designed and restored it with a skillful and unconventional mix & match of different fabrics, patterns and colors.
A few steps away from Piazza Navona, G-Rough has 10 suites set within a 17th century building. Each room features unique furnishings and mid-century design, which I personally love as I’m a fan of “collectible design”. The art and photographs on the walls are part of Gabriele’s personal collection. The Gallery bar on the ground floor draws Roman artists and creatives and hosts rotating exhibits – it’s a dynamic space close to one of the most beautiful piazzas in the city.