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Spa Hotels|Spa Resorts|Wellness Retreats

Seven of the Best Luxury Spa and Wellness Retreats in Italy

Wendy GolledgeBy Wendy Golledge

Italy may just be Europe’s ultimate wellness hub, with sensational spas and wellness retreats sprawled across the entire country. Wellness and wellbeing are embodied as cultural norms – and as picture-perfect destinations go, it’s got that nailed, too.

Seven of the Best Luxury Spa and Wellness Retreats in Italy

A true wellness haven, which has a spa or retreat for every conceivable want and need, Italy has a history of healing waters and restorative springs that dates back centuries, and an ethos of wellbeing running through its veins.

Our selection of spa hotels and wellness retreats strike the perfect balance between world-class treatments, advanced technologies, holistic and alternative wellness practices and breathtaking scenery. You can do it all in Italy, from medically supervised detox programmes to emotional healing, thalassotherapy and traditional Chinese medicine.

Italians have effortlessly cracked the code on wellness and, whichever spa you choose to visit, you won’t leave disappointed. Here’s our edit of the best…

Lefay Resort & Spa Lago di Garda, Gargnano, Italy – best for… a complete wellness immersion

Lefay Resort & Spa Lago di Garda, Gargnano, Italy - best for… a complete wellness immersion

Set atop a hill overlooking the majestic Lake Garda, there are few spas that can boast a setting more beautiful than Lefay Resort & Spa Lago Di Garda in the Italian Dolomites. The first jewel in the crown of the Lefay Resorts collection, it sits in almost 30 acres of natural parkland, immersed in the Mediterranean climate, aromas and landscape.

Lefay is a mountain retreat that’s nothing short of idyllic. Embracing a holistic wellness philosophy, Lefay blends Eastern and Western influences, offering elements of traditional Chinese medicine fused with modern scientifically researched approaches. The Lefay Spa Method, created by the brand’s own Scientific Committee, aims to bring about a complete sense of psycho-physical wellbeing.

The capacious 4,300sqm spa boasts all the facilities you’d expect and more, an outdoor infinity pool overlooking Lake Garda, a separate indoor-outdoor pool, a hot tub and a thalassotherapy pool. There are also seven different types of saunas in the ‘world of water and fire’ and six relaxation areas including the Turquoise Grotto, which offers warm-water loungers, an Aquamoon waterfall shower and a phytotherapy relaxation area.

Treatment offerings include holistic massages and rituals as well as a la carte therapies and non-invasive aesthetics. Wellness programmes are available with visiting masters and expert practitioners on hand throughout the year. The immune system programme, for example, aims to rebalance your intestines while the five-night longevity programme blends osteopathy, acupuncture and massages to recharge your batteries.

If you want to lose yourself, then find a better version of yourself again, Lefay is the place to go to rediscover wellbeing.

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Preidlhof Luxury DolceVita Resort, Naturns, Italy – best for… pampering and ancient healing practices

Preidlhof Luxury DolceVita Resort, Naturns, Italy - best for… pampering and ancient healing practices

At Preidlhof, located in the heart of the South Tyrolean hillside, wellness sits at the centre of everything. With mesmerising views over the Vinschgau Valley, it is a wellness retreat for your every need. Want lazy days in the cool mountain air? Want to focus on fitness, detox, heal your spirit and reconcile your senses? Preidlhof offers it all.

Preidlhof is a pinch-me sort of spa, and not just because of the breathtaking setting. It’s a place to come to find the best version of yourself, through one of its nine spa journeys devised by wellness guru and spa director, Patrizia Bortolin. She skilfully mixes pampering and ancient healing practices with modern techniques in her unique ‘Preidlhof Way’ concept. It includes Transformational Wellness Retreats, signature rituals and treatments, fitness and beauty concepts, plus a signature food philosophy.

Facilities are extensive and impressive. You can try stargazing in the roof-top infinity pools, sweat it out in the six-floor sauna tower, workout in the world-class fitness centre, take a dip in a choice of 10 indoor and outdoor pools, or go wild swimming and forest bathing. Treatments rooms are divided into speciality areas, including Shiatsu, bodywork and Ayurveda, and there’s an elegant Hammam – perfect for couples.

The highly trained team will guide you every step of the way as you follow a programme tailored to your own individual needs and you’ll leave feeling lighter, brighter and more in tune with yourself.

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Palace Merano
 – best for… revitalisation and longevity

Palace Merano
 - best for… revitalisation and longevity

We love a spa with a good back story, and Palace Merano has one of the best in the business. This is the medical spa where dietician Henri Chenot developed world famous Chenot Method, which combines traditional Chinese medicine with state-of-the-art tech and a 360˚ approach to wellness. Often described as the founding father of the wellness movement, Chenot originated this palace retreat 50 years ago, and it’s lost none of its magic.

Flanked on three sides by the snow-capped Dolomites, Palace Merano offer uber-luxurious facilities and even has its own microclimate. Now run by medical director Dr Massimiliano Mayrhofer, you’ll be analysed with a battery of high-tech diagnostic tests, looking at everything from your vascular health to your pulse. Any Imbalances and deficiencies detected are then used to create the blueprint for your bespoke wellness programme, based on the Chenot pillars of a clean diet, lymphatic drainage and exercise. Palace Merano isn’t about a cosmetic experience, it’s about better health for life.

At the start of 2023, the 1,200sqm spa was given a complete overhaul, and now offers massages, mud hydrotherapy, intravenous vitamin infusions and activity treatments, as well as gym sessions and floatation therapy. Most people opt for the six-day signature Revital Detox for Longevity – an intense and holistic programme aimed at efficiently eliminating toxins. It’s based around a daily hydrotherapy and massage routines, hot mud wraps and a restricted but delicious plant-based diet.

Palace Merano ticks all the boxes if you’re searching for a deeply restorative and transformative reset in plush surroundings.

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Palazzo Fiuggi – best for… thermal waters and cutting-edge wellbeing

Palazzo Fiuggi - best for… thermal waters and cutting-edge wellbeing

Sitting in a private eight-hectare park overlooking the medieval spa town of Fiuggi, Palazzo Fiuggi marries the deepest holistic traditions with the most advanced Western medicine. First opened in 1913 Palazzo Fiuggi has hosted presidents and kings. During the Second World War it was a Red Cross Centre and then the Allied Headquarters and now, after a £26 million renovation, it’s one of the most opulent spa and wellness retreats in Europe.

The thermal waters at Fuiggi are legendary. It’s said that Michelangelo came to Fiuggi to take the waters, which offer relief for digestive and kidney problems as well as balancing out of kilter immune systems. Both sipping the water and soaking in the Thalasso pools is still encouraged.

Facilities include an Olympic size swimming pool, another pool in the Roman spa, and the three-part Hydro Cure with mud and a blitz-type shower. There is a saline and magnesium density pool, sound, crystal and light therapies, plus a wide choice of massages, face and body rituals, Hammam and chakra treatments.

Palazzo Fiuggi offers comprehensive week-long programmes to tackle ageing, toxins, stress and bloating, as well as living to excess. The new seven-day Ageing Naturally retreat aims to help women understand and manage the effects of menopause.

The grand dame of spa, Palazzo Fuiggi has morphed into a modern, integrative wellness centre offering a serious programmes, seriously good gourmet foot and serious results.

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Almar Giordano di Costanza Resort & Spa, Mazara del Vallo – best for… a multi-sensory spa journey

Almar Giordano di Costanza Resort & Spa, Mazara del Vallo - best for… a multi-sensory spa journey

Surrounded by lush greenery, centuries-old olive trees and impressive fountains, Almar Giardino di Costanza Resort & Spa is a five-star destination that offers wall to wall relaxation amidst the history and tradition of Sicily. The scents and colours of nature combine with refined Italian design near the stunning west Sicilian coastline, providing a step back in time at this elegant hideaway.

The newly refurbished Almablu Spa follows a multi-sensory journey to leave you feeling as though you’ve been transported back to ancient Sicily. A Roman-Arab-inspired Hammam experience includes a marble tepidarium, caldarium and laconium, while a Turkish salt bath harnesses the power of minerals from the ancient Culcasi di Nubia salt pan. The indoor pool has views to die for of an amphitheatre made up of 400 white roses. The whole spa is inspired by historical periods where the Roman, the Arabs and the Normans took over the island.

With Nordic design influences, the thermal zone has a bio-sauna, Finnish sauna, ice cascade and cold-water plunge pool, and there is a large relaxation area in which to reflect on your journey.

There are six programmes, including the two-day detoxifying retreat and the two-day regenerating programme. Each has been curated to offer you a deeper state of serenity and harmony and restore the smooth flow of QI – the vital energy according to age-old traditional Chinese medicine – through a combination of massages, treatments, and activities.

If authentic and traditional are you thing, then Almar Giordano di Costanza is the place for you.

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Borgobrufa Spa Resort, Brufa – best for… hydrotherapy and Nordic-inspired wellness

Borgobrufa Spa Resort, Brufa - best for… hydrotherapy and Nordic-inspired wellness

If you want rolling hills full of vineyards and olive groves, ancient cities and an adults-only paradise, Borgobrufa Spa Resort is your wellness destination. Located close to the Assisi and Perugia, Borgobrufa is a 40,000sqm hamlet nestled in the heart of Umbria.

Borgobrufa Spa Resort is a Nordic-inspired wellness centre with indoor and outdoor pools, hydrothermal experiences and cutting-edge equipment. There is a panoramic heated indoor pool, an outdoor pool, the warm water Aemotio bed, offering personalised chromotherapy and a warm threadlike rain. Other facilities include a salt bath, a vitarium (which combines intense heat, mild steam, aromatherapy, chromotherapy and music), a hydrotherapy pool, steam bath, two saunas and a snow crystal room.

With 60 treatments on offer, performed by 19 expert therapists, you can choose from Umbrian-inspired rituals and massages as well as a collection of Persian, Hawaiian and Egyptian inspired treatments. The spa specialises in couple-oriented services, from massages and treatments à deux to a small, private spa within the larger spa that can be reserved for exclusive use.

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L’Albereta Relais and Châteaux, Erbusco, Lombardy – best for… balance and vitality against a breathtaking backdrop

L’Albereta Relais and Châteaux, Erbusco, Lombardy - best for… balance and vitality against a breathtaking backdrop

Perched high on a Lombardy vine-lined hilltop, L’Albereta is a stunning 19th-century villa in Franciacorta that oozes classic Italian glamour. The award-winning Chenot Espace Spa is the resort’s crowning glory.

Italy’s only destination for The Chenot Method®, Chenot Espace at L’Albereta blends Chenot’s pioneering wellness philosophies with exceptional Italian service. The collossal spa has a sauna, steam room, Turkish bath and hydrotherapy pools as well as a gym, water-gym with a counter-current pool, outdoor training area and a sculpture garden.

Staffed by a team of more than 30 health and wellness professionals, the medical wellness centre spans 2,000sqm and offers a variety of three to seven-day programmes aimed at detoxifying you to restore vitality and balance. Everything comes back to The Chenot Method, which is a holistic approach that combines elements of traditional Chinese practices with western medicine and diagnostics, centred around the concept of detoxification, while promoting better ageing and performance.

The alkaline Chenot Diet is frugal without compromising on taste and promises to cleanse your body at a cellular level. You leave lighter, brighter and vowing to return.

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