Beauty as Substance Featured

Luxos discovers the most alluring travel destinations in Italy and its surroundings, all with one common attribute: strikingly beautiful design.
by 17 November 2010

Aesthetic matters are fundamental for the harmonious development of both society and the individual. Friedrich Schiller

The value of aesthetic beauty cannot be underestimated. Aesthetics give us intellectual, and sometimes even spiritual, satisfaction and can heighten even the most mundane of experiences. It is a focus on good design, attention to detail, and a fundamental consideration of the physical and natural surroundings that comprise what is meant by aesthetic beauty, especially in terms of architecture or interior design.

In this issue of Luxos we are considering the notion of passion, or rather those experiences in which individuals are emotionally connected to something external from themselves, be it through a strong liking, or through utter devotion. Our travels are often driven by our passions, as we seek novel adventures, additional knowledge, or new sensory challenges. Here we have compiled a selection of destinations for those passionate travelers who understand, whatever their passion may be, that every experience is heightened by the presence of aesthetic beauty and good design.

Beauty is everywhere a welcome guest. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Torre di Moravola, Montone, Umbria

Situated on the ridge of a mountain overlooking the Carpini Valley, the Torre di Moravola is a consummate expression of the synthesis between modern and ancient design. Originally a 10th century watchtower, the building’s exteriors have been faithfully restored, while the interiors are a masterwork of modernity. Architect Christopher Chong and his designer wife Seonaid MacKenzie purchased the ruined tower in the Umbrian countryside in 2000. Today they run the 7-suite hotel as a contemporary retreat, a sanctuary for travelers seeking a natural repose in a spot that equally reveres the present and the past. Guests of the Moravola are invited to enjoy the natural surroundings while taking part in a variety of holistic treatments, massages, and reflexology. Also, as an adherent of the Slow Food movement, Moravola’s kitchen produces regional cuisine, from locally sourced products, while offering an unusual variety of Italian wines.

Vigilius Mountain Resort, Lana, South Tyrol

For those who seek a true union with nature, the Vigilius provides the perfect retreat. Architect Matteo Thun used nature as his model, in terms of both design and materials. The horizontal wooden structure of the hotel emulates a fallen tree, while the discriminating use of glass and stone achieves an organic balance between nature and the indoors. The resort rests on the side of the Vigiloch Mountain, 1,500 meters high, and is reachable only by foot or cable car. The Vigilius is far removed from any traces of man, save the resort itself, and automatically induces communion with nature. A personal trainer is available for lessons in archery, Nordic walking, snowshoeing and more, and the Vigilius Mountain Spa makes effectual use of the fresh mountain spring water. The Vigilius is the ultimate destination for those whose passion is nature and getting away from it all.

Rocksresort, Laax, Switzerland

A ski village located at the Laax base station, only 90 minutes from Zurich, the Rocksresort is an urban lifestyle resort embedded within the surrounding landscape. The eight cube-shaped buildings that make up Rocksresort were built to reflect the simple lines of the mountains, utilizing local and regional materials and emphasizing sustainability. The external facades of the buildings were constructed from locally sourced Valser quartzite, while the interiors are dominated by a warm use of oak, slaked lime, and concrete. The naturally minimalist environment is accented by a minute attention to detail…from the strategically placed lighting to the modern Cassina furnishings, every design detail has been thoughtfully considered. Rocksresort is a self-contained village, featuring 122 apartments, shops, and a variety of restaurants.

Whitepod Resort, Les Cerniers, Switzerland

A model of sustainable tourism, the Whitepod Resort offers a unique way to experience the Alps. Consisting of 15 dome shaped tents, erected on wooden platforms, the Whitepod resort is perched above the Swiss village of Les Cerniers, and offers astounding views of Lake Geneva. Guests here are immersed in the nature that surrounds them, and enjoy a maximum level of comfort provided by cozy wood stoves and excellent insulation. The location of the resort is perfect for participating in a variety of winter sports, with two private ski lifts and opportunities for snowshoeing, dogsledding, hiking and more. The traditionally designed Chalet des Cerniers acts as a basecamp for the resort, and features a restaurant, sauna and Japanese bath.

Casa Orlandi, Prato, Tuscany

In 2004 architect Sabrina Bignami acquired a decaying late 18th century palazzo in the historical center of Prato, a textile city only 10 kilometers from Florence. Skilled in the art of restoration, Bignami has carefully preserved much of the ancient architecture while giving it a surprisingly modern facelift. The result is a house that celebrates Italian architecture of the past and designers of Europe today, with Saarinen tulip chairs sitting comfortably among frescoes by Luigi Catani. Bignami uses the palazzo as a residence, while renting out three of the guestrooms.

Masseria Torre Maizza, Fasano, Puglia

The Torre Maizza is a mecca for devoted gastronomes. Celebrating the best of Pugliese cuisine, the Torre is a vast seaside estate that has impeccably incorporated contemporary design elements within an ancient setting. The Torre Maizza is committed to a zero kilometer food philosophy, with all products carefully selected from local suppliers: the meat comes from local farmers, the fish from the nearby town of Savelletri, and all the fruits and vegetables are grown on the Torre’s own estate. The Restaurant Le Palme offers creative Mediterranean cuisine, while the Restaurant Egnathia serves more traditional offerings. Cooking courses are also available so guests may discover the secrets of Pugliese cuisine.

Related Luxos Articles:
Magical Mystical Umbria, Majestic cathedrals, spring waters, parks and mountains, resonating to the sounds of jazz. Discovering the authentic Umbria
Basking in Success, A journey through the Basque Country and its wealth of hidden treasures
Cappadocia, A fairytale location in Turkey, just an hour away from Istanbul by plane, this region is famous for its exceptional natural beauty