There was once a time when the Gucci name was synonymous with dynastic wealth, power, and glamour. And then one of its scions, Maurizio, a grandson of brand founder Guccio Gucci, wrested control of the family business from his relatives, lost all of it to a Bahraini investment firm, and then angered his ex-wife Patrizia Reggiani so much that she had him murdered by a hitman. Such is the sensational tale that has recently been adapted into a movie with much fanfare - Ridley Scott's House of Gucci - based on a 2001 book by the same name.
The film, which stars Lady Gaga and Adam Driver as doomed couple Patrizia Reggiani and Maurizio Gucci, has managed to become nearly as big a phenomenon as the real-life events it depicts. Some of that has to do with the controversy, from the fake Italian accents to the actual Gucci descendants' deep dissatisfaction with what they believe to be a far-from-accurate portrayal of their family.
A lot of it also has to do with the general chicness of Eighties-era Guccis: the clothes (some of which were pulled from the house archives), the big, bold, yellow gold jewels, the villas in Lake Como and Milan, the ski chalet in St. Moritz. In fact, House of Gucci just may be one of the more visually stunning and sartorially aspirational cinematic works we've seen in a long time; the fact that it was shot in sumptuous locations around Italy only adds to its lustre.
Now, should you feel compelled to turn a wanderlust dream into reality, below are 10 opulent hotels in Italy—and beyond—to recreate a European holiday a la Gucci. Extra points if you spring for the top suite.
Gucci may have never existed were it not for the Savoy: at the end of the 1800s, a teenage Guccio Gucci got a job as a bellhop at the luxurious London hotel. It was here, ferrying wealthy travellers' luggage, that he developed a sense for what the rich want, and by 1921 he had founded his eponymous brand in Florence. A century later, the Savoy is celebrating its storied Gucci history with a complete transformation of its 2,852-square-foot Royal Suite into a sprawling Gucci paradise. The furnishings are by Gucci Décor, art and antiquities have been curated by Christie's, and all of it is available for purchase. In need of a wardrobe refresh? VIP Gucci shopping sprees can be arranged, either in the suite or at the London flagship, to which you'll be transported in a private Rolls-Royce.
It was at 7, Via della Vigna Nuova that Guccio Gucci founded his fashion house in 1921. And while the company eventually moved north to Milan to establish new headquarters, Gucci's roots remain firmly rooted in Florence. For pilgrimages to the original store, the grand and historic St. Regis is a mere 7-minute walk away. Holding court along the Arno River, the 99-key property began its life as a Renaissance-era palazzo before being converted into a hotel in the 18th century. Rich in brocades, peppered with frescoes, and laced with Murano crystal chandeliers, the St. Regis evokes the glamorous lifestyle of another powerful Florentine dynasty: the Medicis.
What is an Italian dynasty without a villa in Lake Como? In House of Gucci, the 16th-century Villa Balbiano stands in as the residence of Aldo Gucci (played in the film by Al Pacino). Billed as one of the region's largest private residences, the six-bedroom palazzo has an outdoor pool, an award-winning garden, and a private pier, and is filled with art, furnishings, and antiques curated by Sotheby's and Christie's. For one night only next March, the villa will be available to book on Airbnb.
Of course, one night is hardly enough time to get a proper feel for la dolce vita Gucci. Enter Villa d'Este, Lake Como's grandest dame, which has played host to movie stars and royalty since the 16th-century summer residence for the Cardinal of Como was converted into a hotel in 1873. Surrounded by 25 acres of exquisitely manicured gardens—including the legendary mosaics, probably the most Instagrammed corner in all of Lake Como—Villa d'Este has 152 uniquely decorated rooms along with four standalone villas dotted around the property. Boat cruises are obligatory, as is luxuriating in the iconic floating pool.
House of Gucci uses the Valle d'Aosta region of northern Italy to represent chic St. Moritz, where the real Maurizio Gucci and Patrizia Reggiani owned a ski chalet. For those who don't yet have their own snowy retreat in the Upper Engadin Valley, the Kulm Hotel will more than suffice. Founded 163 years ago by Johannes Badrutt (whose son Caspar later built the equally luxe Badrutt's Palace Hotel next door), St. Moritz's first hotel is now owned by the Niarchos family. In January 2020, Stavros Niarchos married Russian art collector Dasha Zhukova at the Kulm in a $6.5 million multi-day affair that turned the winter town into a veritable playground of jet setting heiresses, princesses, and celebrities.
Venice is a city dripping with rich medieval history and architecture—the Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, is one such pristine example. With quite possibly the best views in all of the Floating City, the Gritti was constructed in the 15th century and famously served as the private residence of Andrea Gritti, the Doge of Venice—by the beginning of the 19th century, it had become a hotel. Each of the 82 rooms and suites boasts views of the Grand Canal and is a unique jewel box layered in sumptuous silk fabrics, hand-painted walls and ceilings, Murano chandeliers, oil paintings, and terrazzo floors.
In House of Gucci, Milan's famous Villa Necchi Campiglio doubles as the home of Rodolfo Gucci (Jeremy Irons)—cinephiles may have also recognized the home from Luca Guadagnino's I Am Love, starring Tilda Swinton. Built in 1935 by the industrialist Necchi family, the residence is now a house museum but not so far away is an equally well-appointed place where you actually can stay: the Dorchester Collection's Hotel Principe di Savoia, whose magnificent Presidential Suite rivals the city's top villas. Think three bedrooms, a formal dining room, working fireplaces, a private terrace with panoramic views of Milan, and this incredible private pool (plus sauna and Turkish bath) surrounded by mosaic tiles and hand-painted walls, pictured above. Need we say more?
It's hard to beat the fantastic location of Rome's Hotel de la Ville, a Rocco Forte property nestled right in the heart of the Eternal City. The Spanish Steps, Villa Medici, Villa Borghese, and Via dei Condotti, where some House of Gucci scenes were filmed, are all a stone's throw away. It's also hard to beat the stunning views from this former 18th-century palazzo, especially from the private 753-square-foot rooftop terrace of the Canova Suite with its panoramic views of Rome.
If Lake Como is where one goes to see and be seen, Lake Garda is where they go for a quieter scene and—at the Grand Hotel a Villa Feltrinelli—to be pampered like royalty. Very little has changed here since it was built as a summer residence for the Feltrinelli family in 1892 (it was also where Mussolini lived during World War II). The place oozes with genuine old-world charm and period detail; access is via a tiny road and there is no signage or branding. And with just 20 unique suites and 2 standalone cottages, the maximum guest capacity tops out at 40, meaning exceptional, personalised service is guaranteed.
No jetsetting trip throughout Italy is really complete without a jaunt to the glittering Italian Riviera. In May, the Belmond's Splendido Mare, a 14-room gem of a hotel located right in the harbor of Portofino, unveiled an extensive renovation. Loro Piana and Rubelli fabrics, plus locally sourced and handcrafted materials in the region's signature colors of amber, terracotta, and sea green fill the spaces with a 1950s throwback glamour. There is a new restaurant, serving up sea-to-table fare, along with a new excursion that will take you sailing up the coastline in a traditional Ligurian fishing boat with stops for swimming in remote, crystal-clear waters and feasts of fresh seafood caught by local fishermen.