Subscribe to Blog via Email
Follow me on TwitterMy Tweets
When Mariella Avino, managing director of Palazzo Avino (formerly Palazzo Sasso), first told me the world-renowned, five-star hotel would officially assume its family name, my thought was, “But of course…”
I’ve been sojourning to Palazzo Avino, and the tiny gem town of Ravello on Italy’s Amalfi Coast since 1997 – the year the hotel opened. And like many who come here, I have fallen in love. I’ve fallen in love with Ravello’s secret gardens and twisty cobblestone streets spilling with limencello stands and colorful handmade pottery. And I’ve fallen in love with the Palazzo’s warm staff, ancient walls, stunning sea views and soul.
A soul that touches you the moment you lay eyes on it and stays with you days, months, years after you visit.
Palazzo’s love story began years before my arrival – with Giuseppe Avino (Mariella’s father). For much of his life, Giuseppe owned and operated a successful tomato canning business. But he never gave up on his dream of opening a magnificent hotel. Which he ultimately found set high on a hill overlooking the Amalfi Coast in Ravello.
When Giuseppe first saw Palazzo Sasso, the 12th-century palace was, quite literally, a shell of a building. There were no floors, no electricity or running water. But Giuseppe saw the potential for something grand and for three years, while still running his tomato factory, he painstakingly restored the Palazzo.
“I was still quite young when my father opened the hotel, but I learned later – and found it so brilliant really – that my father was very aware that he had no idea how to run a hotel himself. And so he brought in the best of the best to run it for him.”
Many of these original talents are still with Palazzo Avino today – one being Antonio Ferrara, concierge extraordinaire, who knows everyone, remembers everything and personally greets every guest. I always know I’m ‘home’ when I enter the hotel’s marbled reception area with its stained glass, grand piano, art and French doors, and see Antonio waiting to greet me and escort me to my room.
When the 2013 season (which started April) kicked off, it was with the Avino name firmly in place, a new Michelin Chef – Michele De Leo – in the kitchen, and fresh new touches to the rooms which Mariella added: gorgeous fabrics and textiles, sea-foam greens and oceans blues, billowy curtains, and exquisite art. The changes have already attracted couples – and weddings – one of the most beautiful Mariella describes, took place on the terrace, overlooking the sea. “There were candles and white roses everywhere and everyone, including the staff, cried. The setting was just so stunning…”
What We Love:
The view, the alfresco lobster-and-martini bar, and the staff – recognized earlier this year by Tatler Magazine for its “Spellbinding Service.”
View Photo Gallery
Office: (732) 473-9982
Fax: (732) 473-9986