July 06 2010
With high summer upon us, the news is focused on southern Europe, as many readers must be too. In Italy, Ferragosto – that institutional holiday, which sees the masses packing up their Fiat Bravos and Alfa Romeo 156s and making like mad dogs and, well, Italians for the coast – begins on the weekend of August 14, leaving the time between now and then to enjoy its seaside pleasures in relative peace.
Along Liguria’s charming Riviera delle Palme – increasingly visited by those seeking a lower-key alternative to the bling of Portofino and Rapallo – a private villa in Alassio has just been upgraded to a luxe boutique hotel. The sumptuously eclectic Villa della Pergola (www.villadellapergola.com; doubles from €250) is set in seven private acres and styled to evoke the area’s turn-of-the-20th-century grandeur. It features a charming pergola restaurant (breakfast and lunches only) and 12 suites, all with French windows and private terraces overlooking cultivated gardens, cypresses and Gallinara Island, a couple of miles out to sea.