“In America, spas are goal-oriented—you go to lose weight or detoxify,” explains Umberto Angeloni, worldwide chairman of the Brioni clothing brand. “But in Europe, spas are about the wellness one gets from a massage, a fine meal, and a great glass of wine.”
Angeloni has incorporated many such insights into his new book, Seducing the Senses: Spa Visions of a Bon Vivant (Brioni Books, 2003). Available through Antique Collectors’ Club (845. 297.0003, www.antiquecc.com), the $75 coffee table volume is filled with artistic photography and illustrations that explore the history of spa life—from Roman Emperor Nero’s public baths in the first millennium to today’s temples of wellness.
The book is a precursor to a much larger undertaking: the Isle of Brioni, a wellness retreat under development off the coast of Croatia and scheduled to open in 2005. “It will be the most exclusive destination in the Mediterranean,” promises Angeloni, “where one can go to experience everything—sports, massage, food, nature, privacy—at its peak.”