Family-Run Hotels in Europe: Ravello, Italy

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Palazzo Avino's grand exterior.

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Palazzo Avino in Ravello, Italy.

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Avino’s Clubhouse by the Sea along the Amalfi Coast.
A junior suite room offers a spectacular view of the water.

By Larry Olmsted
 
A twelfth-century palace, Palazzo Avino sits dramatically on a clifftop in historic Ravello, 1,000 feet above the Mediterranean. Besides its enviable locale, it also offers a spa, terraced pool complex, and Michelin two-star restaurant, among other bars and eateries.
 
Family Tree
Giuseppe Avino was in the tomato-canning business when he impulsively bought Palazzo Avino (then Palazzo Sasso) in 1995 and spent two years renovating it into a hotel. His wife, Cinzia, is in charge of the gardens – which she also designed, carefully selecting every plant and flower. Daughter Mariella helped decorate each of the 43 guest rooms, from choosing the sea-sky-mountain color palette to selecting the fabrics. In 2011, Mariella took over as managing director; sister Mariavittoria plans to attend hotel school in Lausanne. (Another sister, Atillia, runs the canning factory with their father.)
 
Don’t Miss
Avino’s Clubhouse by the Sea, one of the Amalfi Coast’s few private beach clubs. “At Palazzo Avino, our guests can touch the sky – [the club] gives them the possibility of touching the sea,” says Giuseppe. At the new Lobster & Martini Bar, try the Avino family martini – Kauffman vodka, dry vermouth, a lemon twist, and shellfish broth – one of 65 on the hotel’s impressive martini list.
 
Personal Touch
Mariella created Avino’s Caffé dell’ Arte project, hosting artists whose works now hang throughout the hotel. Visiting artist Marco Nereo Rotelli created a custom book inspired by Ravello’s blue sea and sky, which the Avinos give to guests as a farewell gift.

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Originally appeared in Virtuoso Life magazine, May 2014.