Who says life on the farm ain’t luxury? Nestled in the bountiful Bolognese hills of Emilia Romagna, the five-star country palazzo resort of Palazzo di Varignana unveiled six salubrious new villas this month.
“New” might be a stretch: In fact, these standalone spreads are historic farmhouses on the more than 300-year-old resort’s property, each of which was painstakingly restored, blending classic architecture with contemporary comfort.
“[They are] enchanted places, where space and time seem to be suspended,” says Vittorio Morelli, General Manager at Palazzo di Varignana. “They offer a holiday in total privacy and relaxation, between private pools and large gardens.”
The villas feature original details like exposed stone walls and cozy fireplaces (one even has a restored medieval chapel) alongside modern design elements and custom-made furniture crafted by Italian artisans. The four-, five-, and six-bedroom homes each have different styles and personalities, but they all offer an unparalleled level of service and luxury amid the resort’s 500 hectares of farmland.
It goes without saying that a stay here is all about the ingredients. Emilia Romagna is famous for Parmigiano-Reggiano, Prosciutto di Parma and balsamic vinegar — and naturally the resort has created its own award-winning olive oil and wines. Arrange for a private chef or cooking demonstration in your villa’s kitchen, or you can try one of Palazzo di Varignana’s four restaurants (one of which is inside a restored luxury train from the 1920s). Each has a farm-to-table concept that highlights local ingredients–many originating from the property’s orchards and veggie gardens, where they even grow their own saffron.
“Space, tranquility, and privacy are combined with all the services of the resort,” adds Morelli, a nod to the resort’s lavish wellness program.
Villa guests can bask in their private infinity pool with a view of the hilly countryside, or plan a visit to the 43,000 square-foot Varsana Spa with themed treatment rooms (fancy a Turkish hammam or a Finnish sauna?), seven swimming pools, a medical center, a music therapy pool (whatever that is), a steam bath and even a improbable sounding ice waterfall. There are also tennis, paddle, and squash courts along with a driving range and putting green.
It’d be easy to never leave the property during your visit, but do. The surrounding area has a lot to offer. Motorheads will want to shift into the Museo Lamborghini and the Museo Ferrari — Palazzo di Varignana can even arrange for you to take a Ferrari out for a spin. Morelli also recommends visiting the surrounding villages.
“Dozza, a small and magical medieval village just 10 kilometers [about six miles] away is an artistic jewel thanks to the painted walls and the Sforza fortress that dominates the town,” he says.
Of course, you can’t leave without trying one of Bologna’s historic trattorias — after all, this region is the birthplace of Italian comfort food favorites like mortadella, tortellini, lasagna, and (of course) spaghetti Bolognese.
The villas range in price from roughly $600 to $933 per night.