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Grand Hotel Terme di Sirmione, Lake Garda


GRAND HOTEL PORTOVENERE, a lovingly renovated former seventeenth-century Franciscan convent, is the perfect seaside retreat. Overlooking the harbor of the charming village of Portovenere, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located between the Cinque Terre and the Gulf of Poets, it is central to many of the famed spots along the Italian Riviera, including Portofino and the islands that dot the sea. If it’s privacy and rejuvenation you seek, you’ll find it here, whether in the beautifully appointed rooms, at the full-service wellness center, seaside at the nearby beach club, or at the convivial bar and restaurant. But you’d be remiss not to explore Portovenere itself, or the surrounding islands and villages. Not to be missed is the Gulf of La Spezia, also known as the Bay of Poets. Bookended by the picturesque villages of Lerici to the west and Porto Venere to the east, the bay is so named because it has long been a favorite destination for artists and writers, thanks to its beautiful beaches and idyllic views.

The region is also a destination for those wishing to explore some of Italy’s most distinctive culinary traditions. The hotel’s offerings are designed to showcase those traditions, whether with a drink at the Venus Bar, with its spectacular red-brick vaulted ceilings, or with a meal of fresh seafood at the Palmaria restaurant, with its scenic terrace overlooking the sea. Chef  Angelo Di Menza and his team pay homage not only to the flavors of the Cinque Terre and the Italian Riviera but also to many of Italy’s most beloved dishes. Further immerse yourself in the region’s rich culinary heritage with a cooking lesson in the hotel’s Moby Dick Room, where Chef Volonterio will teach you how to filet and marinate fish, to make fresh pastas and sauces, and even to create Tiramisu, one of Italy’s most famous desserts.

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