It's no surprise that Milan is one of the world's fashion capitals. Italians are known to have a flair for an exquisite life, from clothes to furniture, even cars. From a pair of Ferragamo pumps to a classic Ferrari, Italian design is synonymous with avant-garde, expertly crafted products that are also deeply rooted in tradition. It's this unique mix of crafts and aesthetics that make the Italians so skilled at design, and their hotels are no exception. From romantic lakeside villas to grand city palazzos and cliffside properties, Italian hotels have a detail-oriented approach to a life well-lived.
Who wouldn't want to spend their days in a 17th-century property overlooking the Amalfi Coast, linen curtains billowing in the wind?
While we may not all be so lucky to enjoy la dolce vita all'Italiana, we can take cues from their picture-perfect interiors to replicate in our homes stateside: luscious greenery, vibrant encaustic mosaic tiles, classic chandeliers paired with contemporary designs—all symbols of a natural flair for the finer things in life, from interiors to pasta and vino. Enjoy a taste of Italy in your own space with these lessons learned from the most exquisite Italian hotels.
Decorate With Sunny Yellow
Nothing puts a pep in your step quite like a bright all-white room with canary-yellow velvet club chairs. Italians have mastered the art of la dolce vita not just in their lifestyle, but in their interiors, too. At Le Sirenuse on the Amalfi Coast, climbing plants adorn the curved archways while the floors boast beautifully hand-painted ceramic tiles. To top everything off, lounge chairs and sofa are upholstered in a selection of dusty blue linen and bright yellow velvet.
Try this at home: Add accents of bright yellow hues in a brightly lit room to add cheerful vibes. Mix in leafy plants to really bring the Italian Riviera vibes home.
Use Complementary Muted Tones
Italians respect tradition in architecture and design, but never without infusing a space with modern accents. In this 17th-century Roman palazzo, Hotel G-Rough blends past and present with patinated walls, mosaic tile floors and wood-beam ceilings mixed with 20th-century furniture by the likes of Giò Ponti. The architectural details are further complemented with coastal Italian scenes by Massimo Vitali to create a perfect mix of past and present.
Try this at home: Pick up the tones used on your walls and floors in your furniture, decorative accents and event in your art to create a cohesive whole.
"Animaletti" by Massimo Vitali (price upon request)
Try Bold Tiles
No detail is spared at the Coppola family's Palazzo Margherita in Southern Italy. The Jacques Grange–designed property stays true to classic Italian style while still feeling eye-catching and fresh. In one of the guest suites, the herringbone-patterned turquoise ceramic–and–white marble floors and the hand-painted ceiling frescos steal the show—proving that paying attention to the bones of the space is just as important as the furniture.
Try this at home: Whether in your kitchen or bathroom, go bold with your tiles. Remember that paying more attention to the architecture of your space allows it to feel elevated and layered without having to use too many furnishings.
Test New Combinations
One of Italy's most talked-about hotel openings is Room Mate Giulia—Milan's newest design hotel and one of the few that's worthy of its Salon del Mobile and fashion week clientele. The space features 1950s-inspired spaces in deep jewel tones mixed in with hyper-modern furniture and neon accents. The result: a unique fashionable spot to please the most discerning style curators.
Try this at home: Pay homage to a past decade—midcentury, for example—but always introduce contemporary elements to bring the design into the present tense.
Add Classic Accents
At the dreamy Villa Feltrinelli, tradition is kept alive in the strictest sense. These interiors are not for the trendy crowd. Instead, the Lake Garda villa—once a summer retreat to one of Italy's wealthiest families—has been exquisitely and painstakingly preserved by legendary hotelier Bob Burns, who turned the place into a 13-room hotel in 2001. Each room in the villa feels warm and inviting—decorated in luxurious shades of cream, blush, and ochre. The hotel is an homage to tradition in its finest sense.
Try this at home: Throw in a classic piece in your décor: a fringed ottoman, for example, or a gothic chandelier—to anchor your space in time and tradition.
Repeat Accent Colors
Each room has a dominant color scheme in Venice's Casa Flora: dusty rose in one, deep mustard in another. The newly opened micro-hotel was entirely furnished using exclusively Italian artisans and makers, keeping a common thread between the rooms with a proliferation of greenery and classic architectural details like marble fireplaces and herringbone marquetry.
Try this at home: To create unity in your décor, pick one accent color and repeat it throughout the space in furniture and accessories. Finish off the space with neutral black-and-white accents and warm wood tones.
Display Your Plant Collection
Between the solid brass counters, the marble mosaic floors, and the showstopping light fixtures, there is much to fawn over at the Senato Hotel in Milan. But perhaps what makes the space feel not only meticulously designed but also layered and familiar is the collection of plants and orchids, all displayed in an array of putty-colored vases and planters.
Try this at home: Display your plant collection as art: Coordinate your vases and planters, and arrange them at different heights to create an installation.
Next up, the small-space hacks New Yorkers know (and love).