Rocco Forte Italy Collection: Glamour with a Sense of Place

The pool at Villa Igiea

Last year, Italy welcomed more than 52 million visitors, and who can blame them? The country has it all: pizza, pasta, gelato and Chianti, not to mention inspiring art and fashion, historic cities and villages, and oh-so-dreamy hotels. This year stands to give 2023 a run for the money, according to experts, which means flights are booking up fast as families say andiamo!

But a huge component of any great holiday is the right place to call home, whether for a night or a week, and in-the-know experts can make the difference between a booking blunder and a blissful stress-free vacation. Recently, a team of Ciao Bambino Family Travel Advisors had the opportunity to experience some of the properties that comprise the Rocco Forte Italy Collection. The verdict? Wow!

Rocco Forte Italy Collection Hotels
Verdura Resort in Sicily

Since Rocco Forte first acquired and reinvented The Balmoral in Edinburgh in 1998, Sir Rocco Forte and his sister, Olga Polizzi, have cornered the market on abodes that blend high style, impeccable service, homey warmth and local heritage, delivering an unmistakable sense of place unique to the destination. Today, it’s difficult to disentangle the Rocco Forte brand from these descriptors across its 17 hotels and resorts, where la famiglia is always top of mind.

“Family holidays were a defining part of my own and my sister Olga’s childhood, so offering our guests the opportunity to create these formative memories has always been an important part of the Rocco Forte hotel experience,” says Sir Rocco Forte, the brand’s co-founder.

Rocco Forte’s Italy Collection also includes a soon-to-open Rocco Forte House in Milan, featuring one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, and a renovated 16th-century masseria in Puglia with Polizzi-designed rooms and suites, which CB Advisors were not able to visit.

Here are just a few of the highlights. Buon viaggio!

Rocco Forte Italy Collection Hotels
The beach at Verdura Resort

Rocco Forte Italy Collection Hotels for Families


Verdura Resort

Sprawling across roughly 500 acres of countryside and sun-kissed coast on Sicily’s southwest coast, Verdura was Rocco Forte’s first resort. Here, luxury, privacy and service harmonize in ways that would make Pavarotti proud, while an endless array of pursuits keep active kids and adults dazzled for days.

“When in Sicily with my family, I like to find a balance between enjoying the buzz of Palermo and seeking out a slow pace of life on the Southern shoreline,” says Sir Rocco. “I take great pleasure in a round of golf at Verdura Resort whilst Olga loves sourcing locally made materials and ceramics in the artisan shops.”

Other experiences include cooking classes, water sports, spa treatments, boat trips, helicopter tours, a kids’ club and simply lounging on the private beach or by the pool. The resort’s 203 rooms and suites across multiple categories have sleek lines and earth-and-sea tones, and can be configured for family-specific needs.

Rocco Forte Italy Collection Hotels
Villa Acacia, one of the Rocco Forte Private Villas at Verdura Resort

Rocco Forte Private Villas

If space, pampering and privacy are your travel style, opt for the incredible three- and four-bedroom Rocco Forte Private Villas, set within Verdura Resort. Ideal for multigenerational families as well as gathering with friends, the villas boast bright interiors, tons of indoor-outdoor living space and individual swimming pools, surrounding every guest with the essence of an Italian vacation by the sea. Customize any stay with myriad add-on perks such as a personal chef or theme party for little ones, a pizza making class and in-villa yoga and spa treatments. Advisor Linda Considine felt spoiled by her first personal butler experience: “They came in, set up and we never even knew they were there.” Meanwhile, Advisor Susan Robinson still thinks about the exceptional daily breakfasts prepared at her villa, including fresh fruit and brioche col tuppo, a buttery and golden-brown Sicilian specialty.

Ready to book your dream stay in Italy?

Ciao Bambino is a member of Rocco Forte Knights, an exclusive preferred partner program that allows us to pass special perks and amenities to clients who book Rocco Forte hotels through us. Click to send our Family Advisor Team a request!

Rocco Forte Italy Collection Hotels
The pool at Villa Igiea

Villa Igiea

Located at the foot of Mount Pellegrino, about 30 minutes from Palermo’s airport, this private villa-turned-luxury hotel has welcomed a glamorous roster of who’s who for more than a century. It’s easy to fall under the spell of the 100-room-and-suite Villa Igiea too, thanks to lush tiered gardens, a serene pool and a private beach. Airy and contemporary décor with sumptuous fabrics in shades of green, blue and terra-cotta make accommodations feel like an upscale coastal sanctuary. The menu of family excursions, such as the puppet opera or street food challenge in Palermo, is also worth noting, but make sure to return in time to watch the sunset over the small bay and Tyrrhenian Sea, which paint the place with even more jaw-dropping magic each night. However, Advisor Barbara Weindling reveals her preferred moment of Zen is in the morning. “Watching the sun rise over the sea and gardens while gulping down espresso in my room was an impressive start to the day,” she says.

Rocco Forte Italy Collection Hotels
Hotel de Russie’s secluded onsite garden


Hotel de Russie

Elegant and opulent without being over the top, the 144-room flagship Hotel de Russie is ideally positioned between between Piazza del Popolo and the Spanish Steps. While it was recently updated with a contemporary touch, the attentive service and upscale amenities that have made Hotel de Russie an eternal favorite in the Eternal City (especially with A-listers) are still firmly in place. Linda adores the impressive and always breathtaking flower arrangements, but the real magic of Hotel de Russie is its private and expansive park-like garden, which feels like Rome’s best-kept secret. “It’s a little oasis,” says Advisor Brendan Considine. “Though the hotel is in the centre of Rome, the garden really lets you get away from the hustle and bustle.”

Rocco Forte Italy Collection Hotels
The Piazza di Spagna Penthouse with terrace at Rocco Forte House

Rocco Forte House

When you want to pretend you live in the poshest pad in Rome, look no further than Rocco Forte House, a collection of five impeccably decorated two- and four-bedroom apartments, including a penthouse with pinch-me views over the city. With space to spread out indoors (the smallest apartment is more than 1200 square feet) and the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo just outside the door, this property makes multigen families feel right at home.

“Our hotels are uniquely equipped to provide an elevated family holiday, where parents and children feel they have lived like locals,” says Sir Rocco.

Rocco Forte House has a concierge for questions, reservations and other comfort needs, while each apartment has an equipped kitchen (or a chef on call) to prepare light meals and snacks. Worth noting: The second-floor, two-bedroom Bernini Apartments are accessible for visitors with mobility challenges.

Rocco Forte Italy Collection Hotels
Cielo, the rooftop restaurant at Hotel de la Ville

Hotel de la Ville

Susan can’t shake the memory of one of her favorite nights at Hotel de la Ville. “While sipping a Negroni before dinner on the rooftop, I realized I had the perfect view of the Vatican [Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica] illuminated in the distance,” she says. Aside from this magical moment at the rooftop restaurant and bar Cielo, the hotel’s 104 rooms and suites, some interconnecting, spread over three renovated palazzi, blending contemporary and classic décor. Though its location is smack-dab in one of Rome’s most touristed areas, at the top of the Spanish Steps and Piazza di Spagna, Hotel de la Ville still feels like a refuge.

Rocco Forte Italy Collection Hotels
Duomo View Suite at Hotel Savoy


Hotel Savoy

Since1893, this icon in the core of Florence has wowed visitors — not only with an indelible sense of place across its 80 rooms and suites (championed by Renaissance antiques and signature prints from Laudomia Pucci and Olga Polizzi), but also with its unbeatable location. A signature Firenze experience is to sip aperitivo on the Hotel Savoy terrace and watch the world, and the vintage carousel on the Piazza della Repubblica, twirl by. An easy stroll away are some of Florence’s must-see-sites, including the Duomo, Palazzo Strozzi, Ponte Vecchio, the Uffizi Gallery and an array of the city’s top fashion boutiques. “You cannot get a better location than this, and it has a has a wonderfully relaxed feel,” says Brendan. “The only time I would move away from this property is if clients wanted a pool or garden.”

Relevant Links:

Browse all Italy family hotels and vacation ideas on Ciao Bambino

52 things to know before traveling to Italy with kids

10 tips for travel to Italy with kids

Off-the-beaten-path Italy: New places to explore with kids

Essential tips for a Tuscany farm stay with kids

5 tips for planning a family-friendly wine tour in Italy

Editor’s Note: Kimberley Lovato is a freelance travel writer and author whose work has appeared in numerous print and online publications. Her first children’s book, featuring one of Italy’s most famous landmarks, will be published in June. Photos courtesy of Rocco Forte Hotels.

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