There’s something supremely civilized about a hotel terrace balcony and here’s why: you get to enjoy an amazing view, often involving a dramatic natural landscape, from the comfort of a luxurious perch, and often with the option of a cocktail in hand. I’ll exercise that option over a taxing nature hike any day. With that in mind, here’s a short round-up hotels in Italy that offer fantastic terraces that are either for all guests’ use or special features of at least some of the guestrooms themselves.
1. Venice – Hotel Marconi
The Hotel Marconi is a perfectly charming, wallet-friendly little hotel in the heart of Venice, near the Rialto Bridge in the sestier (district) of San Polo. But the views from the canal-side rooms are worth a million bucks. The balconies are almost wafer-thin, but there’s enough room to stand out there and gaze at the endless pageant that is the Grand Canal.
2. Florence – Hotel Villa San Michele
Technically speaking the luxurious Hotel Villa San Michele is not in Florence but next to it, in the fabled hill town of Fiesole. And that’s the magic of it: from the hotel’s wide covered terrace, admittedly more like a verandah than a balcony, you can indulge in a cocktails or a great meal as you contemplate the beauty of the Florentine cityscape, with the Duomo at its center.
3. Lake Como – Grand Hotel Tremezzo
The recent completion of eight rooftop suites at this venerable hotel means that views over scenic Lake Como are now more luscious than ever before. Each suite comes with an outdoor heated Jacuzzi, so you can literally soak up those famously romantic views.
4. Rome – Hotel Hassler
From the suite terraces of this legendary hotel, you can enjoy unparalleled views of the Spanish Steps and Rome’s urban landscape.
5. Sardinia –Monte Turri Luxury Retreat
The Monte Turri on the eastern side of the island of Sardinia is the kind of place that is so amazing one talks about it with a certain hesitation. The location, atop Capo Bellavista and near the harbor of Arbatax, is ravishing. The views of the clifftops and blue sea from the restaurant terrace are so intoxicating you’ll have no need for an aperitif. Another cool thing about this hotel is the private outdoor elevator that descends to a secret beach cove.
6. Amalfi Coast – Hotel California Positano
This is a charming little hotel with a unique claim to fame: it was filmed in the movie Under the Tuscan Sun. However, it’s the warm sun of the Amalfi Coast you’ll be enjoying from your balcony here. The hotel is not directly on the sea, but the views are good. This place is by any means the most glamorous hotel in popular Positano but it’s a good value option.
7. Aeolian Islands – Hotel Raya, Panarea
Just a speck of an island in the Aeolian archipelago off the northern coast of Sicily, Panarea is a relaxed place with a reputation for attracting a posh crowd. And one place they like to repair to is the breezy Hotel Raya, which is anything but a typical hotel, with an earthy luxurious that’s not for everyone. But the views from the terraces of most of the rooms are a real treat: in most cases you can look out across an expanse of blue sea to see Stromboli, an active volcanic island, steaming in the distance.