Alberghi diffusi Hidden Hotels
There is little new about the depopulation of rural villages — youngsters have long yearned for the excitement that bright city lights promise. Conversely, city folk are increasingly seeking respite from the urban hustle in provincial hideaways, hoping to find tranquillity in a simpler life. It’s a dynamic that Giancarlo Dall’Ara seized on in the 1980s, when he had the idea of converting some of Italy’s abandoned villages into places to stay. Rather than conventional hotels, these would be alberghi diffusi — “scattered hotels”— with a central reception and dining area, and guest rooms dispersed among various historic properties in the village. The alberghi are restored throughout in authentic local style, and guests feel immersed in the community. Some 40 different alberghi diffusi now dot Italy, with other countries such as Switzerland and France adopting similar schemes. The concept has spread to the mountains too, and now it’s not just old hamlets being converted — there are also newly built hotels spreading out among smaller chalets. The joy of settling down by a roaring fire after a day in the snow, feasting on hearty mountain food, is all the greater in a sleepy hamlet rather than a busy and generic mainstream resort.
Here are six of the best.