If it’s good enough for the Godfather, well, it’s worth a look. Italians, after all, do know best. We have three spots in Italy that don’t roll off the tip of your tongue. And that’s why you’ll like them. If you’ve been everywhere in Italy, here are the locales some notable celebs are traveling to, out of the spotlight.
The Celebs: The Coppola Family. As in the Godfather. Enough said.
The Destination: Palazzo Margherita, Bernalda, Italy
The Inside Scoop: The Palazzo Margherita is an heirloom and an ode to Francis Ford Coppola’s family. The area was discovered by the ancient Greeks, and today you’ll find this gorgeous stone palazzo entangled in wisteria. Nine intimate suites make up the hotel, and each room is an homage to a member of the family. Coppola’s grandmother was of North African heritage, so you’ll find Tunisian-inspired design elements in her suite. For Sofia, there’s a rich chromotherapy bathroom in her eponymous suite. For the Coppolas, it’s always a family affair.
The Coppolas make routine trips to their hotel, and they are known to bring their elite friends along, making Bernalda one of the secret celeb spots in Italy. The experience isn’t about flashy photos in the garden. Instead, it’s about homemade pizza in the kitchen while sipping wine in the upstairs bar. The Coppolas, when in residence, are just as low key as the exquisite countryside.
The town of Bernalda is an Italian enclave once under ancient Greek rule. The primary attraction is the Aragonese Castle whose history dates back to the fifth century BC. Even back then, they knew to build a structure with the best views. The area is an archaeologist’s dream with excavated ancient acropolises featuring historic stone monuments.
The area’s most stunning stonework can be found in the nearby town of Matera. One of the oldest cities in the world, Matera is made almost entirely of stone dwellings. It resembles ancient Jerusalem, and it boasts one of the most dramatic views in the country. Now this is a place that is Instagram-worthy. It’s a hub for artisans as well as tourists seeking an authentic taste of historic Italy.
The Celeb: Oprah
The Destination: Umbria
The Inside Scoop: Umbria is the home of the famed white truffles, and you know it’s legit when Oprah gets involved. Though likely not the region in Italy you’ve heard of most often, it’s a foodie destination each fall during truffle season. There’s nothing quite like truffle hunting amid Etruscan cathedrals and rolling hills. The region is dubbed the “green heart” of Italy. Hikes, free climbs, paragliding tours and bike rides are all popular activities for those who want to explore. But the best discoveries are hidden close to the ground. All roads in Umbria lead to white truffle.
Yes, truffles are a luxury item, and hunting for them is part of the fun. This is the only part of the world to get the real white truffle from Alba. Well-trained dogs will set out with you and your team into the Umbrian countryside. When dogs sniff out sturdy black truffles, they’ll dig for it and gingerly hold it in their mouths, and for white truffles, they will bark for a digger to carefully pick away the dirt.
From your hunt, expert chefs prepare fresh pasta and other Umbrian specialties, with more truffles than you can ever imagine. It’s a foodie’s (and Oprah’s) dream.
The Celeb: Lily Collins
The Destination: Ischia
The Inside Scoop: After her visit for the Ischia Global Film Festival, the actress fell in love with the island of Ischia. Ischia, in the Bay of Naples, boasts large beaches, thermal baths and a life is good vibe. Ischia is where Italians vacation, with its quaint towns and picturesque historic temples carved from the natural landscape.
There’s no doubt why this is one of the hidden celeb spots in Italy. Seaside bars, cafes and boutiques make for a perfect place to relax and chill. Many of the towns on the island are small fishing villages that are frozen in time. There are also plenty of hikes for active explorers.
Ischia is the fountain of youth. The life expectancy in the region is well above 90. There is even a town with 100 of the 700 residents over the age of 100 years old. This isn’t just due to the calm and peaceful way of life. Ischia has special thermal healing waters. Ancient Greek soldiers cured wounds from battles with water from Ischia. The volcanic activity purifies the water so that it’s near medical grade. Natural hot springs and clay mud baths harness the mineral power of the volcanic water.
Thermal spas in the region provide some of the most restorative and nourishing treatments you can find in the world. Regina Isabella is one of our favorite luxury spas, where you can find the bioactive water in luxurious treatments. Clients include Sophia Lauren, who clearly found the fountain of youth herself.
When staying in Ischia, the Mezzatore Hotel & Thermal Spa will give you that luxury hotel fix. The hotel views are stunning, and require an out of office on your emails. The hotel alone is enough to make Ischia one of the hidden celeb spots in Italy.