Published on January 26, 2012 | by Elena0
Sextantio Albergo Diffuso: a village that has become a hotel
Beautiful Italy, with such a grandiose history, so often enclosed in small old villages that characterize it. And a surprise: there are rumours that some of these villages, after being well restored, are now used as tourist residences. These kind of hotels go under the name of Alberghi Diffusi – meaning something like ‘scattered lodgings’ – which are becoming increasingly popular in Italy. Despite some small imperfections, often knows how to surprise too.
From Friuli to Lucania, from Abruzzo National Park to Sardinia, the phenomenon of the villages converted into “widespread hotels” is expanding: they’re beautiful and very suggestive, they promise unforgettable experiences of life, and their environmental impact is (almost) zero.
It means that you get all the comforts of a hotel, but the rooms are derived from existing buildings, restructured in the respect of the characteristics of the place, without the depersonalization suffered at a residence, and enjoying “real” neighbours.
The original idea dates back to 1978, but the first “Albergo Diffuso” was opened in 1999, with the Albergo Diffuso Carnia – in Comeglians, Friuli Venezia Giulia. This first experiment, was followed by many others. For example, in Bosa, in the province of Oristano, there is Corte Fiorita, in the region of Basilicata, the municipality of Pietra Pertosa has been turned into a tourist residence with 13 apartments and 43 beds.
And then, in the fortified village of Santo Stefano di Sessanio, Sextantio Albergo Diffuso, a beautiful residence nestled between the mountains at 1,200 mt of height. Well, this is the story we want to tell you.
In the historical centre of the medieval village of Santo Stefano di Sessanio, Abruzzo, in the heart of the Gran Sasso National Park, the project for the creation of Sextantio has brought new life to a charming medieval village that was facing a problem of depopulation.
Put together by a team passionate about cultural preservation, the hotel is a collection of stone houses and suites dotted around a crumbling hilltop village.
With your ancient iron key in hand (romantic, but a bit heavy to carry around too!), you enter a room that seems largely unchanged over the centuries, with stone walls and heavy wooden furniture. All joined with the best of today’s modern luxury, as under-floor heating, hidden electrics and stylish bathrooms.
The landscape is breathtaking – rocky crags, crumbling castles, wild forests and lakes: this area is largely undiscovered by tourists so you have it all to yourself.
Among the various buildings that make up the Sextantio, Palazzo delle Logge distinguishes itself as one of the most important buildings in the entire village. In addition to some rooms, within it there are also some common areas, such as the comfortable living room with a fireplace at guests’ disposal, to encourage conviviality.
The values and principles that have inspired this project, are reflected even in the traditional dishes served at the restaurant of the hotel, all based on local products of the Abruzzo mountains, as well as in the selection of wines available at the wine bar.
This is not a typical hotel: it’s a step back in time. This is a poetic invention, based on the fervor of people for their own territory, and the visionary optimism of those who are able to give imagination space to soar.
The closest airport to reach Santo Stefano di Sessanio is that of Pescara, only 100 km away. The closer alternative is Rome, 150 km away. From the airports, follow the signs toward S. Stefano di Sessanio, motorway A25 from Pescara, exit Bussi sul Tirino – Popoli; motorway A24 from Rome, exit L’Aquila Est.
Photo by yvescosentino