Byblos Art Hotel Villa Amista
History and art magically combine at the Byblos Art Hotel. The history begins in Roman times when a fortified block house was erected on the site. It morphed into the 15th century Villa Amista which was renovated during the 18th century. Remnants of the earlier iterations have been incorporated into the present hotel. The wine cellar is housed in a 14th century vault. Time was not kind; the villa fell into ruin. The Facchini family fell in love with the abandoned building and decided to turn it into something special. The hotel opened in 2005. The family also owns the Byblos fashion brand and are big time art, furniture & lighting collectors. These strengths combine to form one amazing hotel loaded with gems. At first glance, it is a classic Venetian villa on 5 stunning acres of garden. But quickly you sense there is something a bit different, a bit unconventional. To the left, as you approach the villa, is a sculpture of an orchid…I found it very erotic. The stairs to the entrance have old classic statues and modern bauble lights. Both are clues. But nothing prepares you for the ultra-modern main salon designed, like the rest of the interiors, by Alessandro Mendini. It is crowded with treasure… look for Damian Hirst, Anish Kapoor, Cindy Sherman and Philippe Starck. Robert Indiana and Andy Warhol are waiting when you get to the check in desk. A bit overwhelming at first, it takes a few minutes to let the magnificence sink in. So much more art is found thorough out the hotel; the large rooms all have original pieces (and big practical bathrooms, this is a 5 star hotel after all). The Mimmo Rotella collages in the dining room are made of torn advertisements of the Byblos fashion brand. Byblos home furnishings and Murano Glass chandeliers are found throughout. It’s not all art… there is a fabulous Pompeian style spa, a glamourous pool, bar & restaurant. Breakfast is delicious! You don’t need to leave, but there is so much to see nearby. Verona is a magical underrated corner of Italy.
Number of Rooms: 59
Sweet Suite: The Presidential Suite is marvelous…2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms on the top floor of the villa (don’t worry, there is an elevator if you don’t want to take the stairs). It has fabulous views and amazing contrasts. There is an old ornate marble fireplace coupled with modern furniture and, as expected, tons of art!
Favorite Thing: The Art…its everywhere and its magnificent! Every room is unique and also filled with art while the main lobby is more exciting than most museums!
Near By: Right in the heart of Wine Country, it is a great base for exploring all of Valpolicella. Fumanelli Vineyards are very close. 15 minutes to Verona and the Opera while Lake Garda is a 30 minute drive.
Amenities: Pool, Hot tub, gardens, restaurant, bar, sauna, steam room, spa, Tesla charging station, Peter’s Bar, pool bar, shuttle into Verona (closed November to April).