The Bel Paese -- "Beautiful Country" -- has something to please everyone in an incentive group, no matter what motivates them to perform. From gorgeous scenery, historic sites and hospitable people to romantic culture, crave-able cuisine and fine wine, Italian destinations are as overflowing with aspirational offerings as a Roman dinner is with carbs.
And so are Italian hotels and resorts, many of which are so packed with comfort and amenities that their guests would still be plenty pleased with their trip if they had to spend the entire time within spitting distance of their guest room.
Here, for example, are five especially enticing Italian gems where guests can live la dolce vita. Newly opened or renovated, each is set up to impress incentive participants from the moment they arrive:
• Hotel De La Ville (Rome). Luxury British hotelier Rocco Forte Hotels will open its latest property, the Hotel De La Ville, in May in the historic center of Rome. Located atop the Spanish Steps, the hotel will occupy a historic 18th-century palazzo with offerings that will include 104 guest rooms and suites -- including two presidential suites -- as well as three restaurants and bars; two outdoor event spaces; meeting rooms; a 24-hour fitness center; and a spa encompassing six treatment rooms, a hydro pool, a plunge pool, Kneipp foot baths, ice showers, a salt-inhalation room, a steam room and a sauna.
• Masseria Torre Maizza (Puglia). Also on deck is the Masseria Torre Maizza in Puglia, an existing property that will join the aforementioned Rocco Forte following an extensive renovation and refurbishment. Located near the Adriatic Sea in the coastal town of Savelletri di Fasano, the hotel is an original masseria -- an Italian farmhouse located on a vast country estate -- dating from the 16th century. Surrounded by an ancient grove of olive trees and a nine-hole executive golf course, the property will feature 40 guest rooms and suites (it previously had just 30) as well as a rooftop bar, a restaurant, a fitness center, meeting and event space, a pool and access to a nearby private beach club.
• Castello di Ugento (Puglia). Another recent addition to Puglia is the Castello di Ugento, which opened in fall 2017 inside a 17th-century Italian castle in the town of Ugento. Transformed after a €10 million, five-year renovation, the property has only nine rooms and suites, which allows for ultra-personal service. Also on-site is the Puglia Culinary Centre, a cooking school developed in partnership with the Culinary Institute of America to teach ancient Pugliese cooking; a restaurant; a 500-year-old cistern where wine tastings take place; aromatic walled gardens, and a museum wing that's home to restored frescoes and a permanent collection of 20th-century Italian art.
• Castello di Casole (Tuscany). Luxury hotel collection Belmond acquired the Castello di Casole in 2018. On a Tuscan estate in Casole d'Elsa, the hotel is in an Italian castle built sometime in the 10th century. Along with 39 rooms and suites, there's a fine-dining restaurant, a heated outdoor pool, steam rooms and saunas, a fitness center, a spa, a boutique selling local artisanal products, 100 acres of vineyards, 30 acres of olive groves and a wild game reserve populated with deer, pheasants and rabbits. In addition, there are several indoor and outdoor event venues, including an ancient amphitheater, a chapel and a wine cellar. Belmond says its plans to spend US$9 million on renovations over the next four years; its plans include building two new villas that will bring the resort's total key count to 41.
• Vista Palazzo Lago di Como (Lake Como). The Vista Palazzo Lago di Como opened in June 2018 as the first and only five-star hotel in Como. But that's not its only distinction. Another is that it's open year-round -- unique, given that most properties in the region are only open seasonally. In Como's Piazza Cavour, the lakeside hotel is in a renovated 19th-century Venetian-style palazzo. Along with 18 rooms and suites, there's a rooftop restaurant, a bar and a library. Or, guests can dine in their suite courtesy of a personal chef.