A Luxury Layover on the Argentario Peninsula
Ferries for the Tuscan islands of Il Giglio and Giannutri depart from the town of Porto Santo Stefano on the Argentario, a mountainous promontory that was once an island but became a peninsula (and thus was excluded from this book) several thousand years ago when silt deposits created three spits of land connecting it to mainland Italy. Island or not, the 60-sq.-km (37-sq.-mile) Argentario functions like one and is a favorite summer resort for stylish Romans and Tuscans. Its two towns, Porto Santo Stefano on the north side and Porto Ercole on the south side, are both picturesque villages with lively harbors and good seafood restaurants. When you're traveling through this peninsula on your way to Giglio or Giannutri, I recommend building in a few extra hours, whether for a meal or a driving tour along the strada panoramica, the dramatic coastal highway with glorious views of the southern part of the Tuscan archipelago.
If you really want to treat yourself well, book a night at the five-star Hotel Il Pellicano, a Relais & Chateaux property just outside Porto Ercole. Il Pellicano is truly one of the top 10 resorts in Italy, a place that makes even jaded globe-trotters smile with its luxurious amenities (including a restaurant with two Michelin stars and a state-of-the-art spa), gorgeous tableau (clusters of russet villas cascade down a private valley through panoramic terraces and a swimming pool to a glamorous bathing platform on the Med), inviting common areas, and above all, its genuinely warm, friendly staff, who make you feel like this slice of paradise is your home. For such a world-class hotel to feel so unpretentious yet deliver such impeccable hospitality is quite a rare feat in Europe.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.