If the mere mentions of fresh flowing limoncello, sun-soaked beaches and quirky coastal towns that hold centuries of heritage bring you joy, then Italy is probably your destination calling. The country’s abundance of serene sceneries and beautiful resorts makes it a laid-back place for restoration, while its longstanding expertise in ancient wellness techniques that date back to as far as the Roman era, reigns in healthy holiday hunters globally. We uncover what exactly makes Italy the perfect wellness destination that attracts returning travellers year round.
The Classic Italian Lifestyle
Patrizia Bortolin, Wellness Project Manager & Director at Preidlhof, the award-winning wellness retreat in Naturno, and destination expert, shares with us her experiences in the region. For Patrizia, it all goes back to the traditional lifestyle. “The timeless and evocative classic Italian lifestyle is able to lift any mood and even with the current difficult social and political situation, guests and tourists are still able to collect joy, energy and the pleasure of being alive even more than before”, she explains.
In Italy, there’s great emphasis on “looking and feeling good”, enjoying the pleasures of life, which are both contagious approaches. “Eating is a celebration that starts with a special way of thinking about food and the desire to share the experience”, says Patrizia on the importance of food in the region.
The stunning environments are also part of the Italian lifestyle. “We live in a natural paradise with amazing coasts, incredible mountains and hills that are famous worldwide”, shares Patrizia, “In recent years there has been a huge expansion of sustainable tourism and wellness that perfectly match the classic Italian lifestyle”.
“I’m desperately in love with Italy and I hope that what made the Italian lifestyle so famous will also come back to uplift all Italians and anyone who experiences it with us”.
A Rich Culture & Incredible History
Italy’s renowned history which spans from the Roman Empire to the birth of the Rennaisance era marks just a few of the cultural leaps the nation has undertaken. As a result, it’s become the epicentre for some of the world’s most incredible architecture, literature and music. Patrizia finds solace in these unique artefacts and elements that make up Italy’s core.
“The combination of the three has become a healing tool for many of us”, says Patrizia, “Original rural traditions are still alive and many are totally tuned in with contemporary health and prevention suggestions that include spending time in nature, embracing mindful living, caring for relationships and supporting local food”. In some regions, these traditions are even becoming more trendy and stylish without losing their authenticity.
Nature in Italy
To give an idea on Italy’s impressive nature offerings, the region has the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world (tied with China). Whether it’s the coastal backdrop you’re looking for or the mountainous terrains of the Alps, there’s something for all. When it comes to wellness in nature, Patrizia makes the most of the pristine countryside.
“I love bathing in the Northern part of the Garda Lake (near Riva, Malcesine)—it’s one of the most regenerative baths I’ve ever taken. The sea in Southern Puglia and the rural life in its countryside are so special”.
“Sicily is my favourite region if I have to look at a 360° perspective—it offers the most delightful food, seaside, culture, nature and people”, she says, “I would also mention a place I experienced a couple of days ago thanks to our Forest Guide in South Tyrol, one of the most mystic places I’ve seen: a path following the traditional irrigation ways going from the glaciers to the farmers’ lands all through the forest and still using incredible traditional ways of guiding water. I could have stopped every 10 minutes to meditate, contemplate and feel the healing energy of the place (near Sluderno). Sardinia’s nature is a dream in the Summertime. I could write pages and pages on that topic”.
Family-Owned Appeal & a Larger Focus of Wellness
There’s plenty to fawn over—but where to start? South Tyrol is best for those who love gorgeous nature and mountains. It’s a region that offers excellent holistic and integrated wellness hospitality, where most properties are family-owned.
“Toscana, of course, is full of possibilities and it’s getting interesting for demanding holistic wellness seekers”, says Patrizia, “Thermal Resort are Medical Spas in Italy and some places can provide a contemporary, stylish and consistent healthy holiday. There are now many new wellness projects all over Italy”.
The Mediterranean Diet
For dining, the original Mediterranean diet is still relevant in many family houses in Southern and Central Italy. Similar offers can be experienced in small Trattories in the countryside although quantities may exceed the healthy portions. “Healthy eating meant as quality, fresh pasta, fish, vegetables prepared with wise simplicity can be found in most places with a local expert”, explains Patrizia, “A guiding rule inspired by the Mediterranean Diet says: don’t eat anything that your grandmother wouldn’t recognise as food”. There are many new and young chefs specialising in healthy vegetarian cuisine for small restaurants and hotels and they offer a fusion of international cuisine or modern versions of traditional dishes.
Italian Wellness Retreats
In the beautiful region of Naturno, Preidlhof offers state-of-the-art wellness retreats for holistic healing. Patrizia recommends Preidlhof’s Integrated Healing Retreat managed only by Senior Healers. “I’d feel extremely safe and confident in the hands of Martin (TCM & ancient Medicines), Andrea (Zen Shiatsu), Stefano (trauma Healing), Dr Angerer (complementary Medicine), Irmgard (Nature)”. There’s also the Energy & Healing Retreat x 2 where healers blend individual sessions with couple experiences. Try the Glowing Flow Retreat with the amazing Stefano Battaglia, perfect for those seeking a path, spiritual inspiration and trauma healing.