After months of renovations, the 19th-century Villa le Scale (which translates to Villa of the Steps) will reopen refreshed and rejuvenated for its ninth season of charming guests that include celebrities, tycoons, and lovers of exquisite surroundings.
But how do you renovate a masterpiece when the décor itself is irreplaceable? “Slowly and deferentially,” says owner Anna Maria Coronato, a leading international antiquarian, who personally selected the remarkable collection of museum-caliber statuary, paintings and objets d’art that distinguish each guestroom.
Each of the historic home’s seven rooms is individually decorated, each style taking its theme from the centerpiece artwork. Guests checking into the Artist’s Room will find a fabulous Marchigana Era bookcase in the bedroom and two 18th-century marble basins in the bathroom. The Venetian Room is dominated by a glorious 18th-century bookcase that frames the entrance to the boudoir. And the Louis XV1 Room comes with exquisite boiserie panels and a terrace overlooking a delicately perfumed cetrella garden.
All the rooms come with all the modern conveniences guests expect: air conditioning, personal safes, minibars, plasma-screen television sets, surround sound and high-speed wireless access. Most of the rooms have expansive views of the Bay of Naples and they all look out on or open onto private gardens that are nearly three times the size of the villa itself – including a Secret Garden down a flight of flower-draped weathered stone steps. Additional services include: private dining (indoors and outdoors, never more than 14 guests at each meal), room service, turndown service, 24/7 concierge service, an 8-station gym with the latest gear, and a fully stocked wine cellar. When you head outdoors you can enjoy the heated swimming pool, ringed with fountains, stone grottoes, a spacious sun terrace and masses of foliage and flowers that creates an air of seclusion and privacy.
The original villa dates from the 18th century, a summer retreat for Barone Monti delle Corte, and is one of the few surviving aristocratic homes on an island renowned for lavish summer retreats since the days of the Emperor Tiberius. Situated high in the hills, on the outskirts of Anacapri, the Villa is just a short walk from the town’s main attractions: turn left for the piazza, turn right for the Axel Munthe Museum two doors away. The Villa’s guests are conveniently located yet sequestered from the day trippers and cruise ship passengers who often crowd the island in summer.
The Villa’s knowledgeable, personable manager, Vincent Copeland, is an insider guide to the pleasures of Capri and will steer guests to the perfect restaurants, cafes, bars and boutiques, arranging the most convenient transportation – helicopter, touring cars, luxury sedans, funiculars, taxis – to move his guests effortlessly around Italy’s most romantic little island.
Location: Via Capodimonte, Anacapri (Isle of Capri), Italy
Rates: 325-650 Euros, rate includes a la carte breakfast and taxes. Special offers available on selected dates, and include stay four nights and get the fifth night free and an early bird discount.