Stay at: Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita, Italy

July 13, 2016

A stay in a cave might not be your idea of a relaxing, luxury break, but the Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita — part of the Design Hotels™ collection — might change your mind.

Situated in a UNESCO World Heritage site — the caves of the hill-perched southern Italian village of Matera — the existing architecture has been preserved, and every care has taken to ensure that the furniture and fixings in the hotel are sympathetic to their surroundings. Daniele Kihlgren is the man behind this unusual hotel, who is on a mission to save southern Italy’s ancient villages, preserving their history.

“Italy is becoming faker and faker,” explains Kihlgren, “That’s why, when I start on these projects, I begin as if I’m setting up a museum. We look at the artisanal traditions that contributed to how these buildings were originally constructed. We look for the old recipes, which find their way into the restaurant. The kind of clients who understand what I’m doing are deeply educated in anthropology themselves. They consider authenticity to be a very real value in today’s world.”

The Sextantio’s 18 rooms are situated in the most ancient part of the cave dwellings, which are around 2,500 years old and have been home to peasants and monks. But these days the rooms house a very different kind of visitor: these beautiful rooms attract visitors from around the world looking for a peaceful retreat, bringing more business into the area and putting a previously little-known part of Italy on the map.

For anyone who loves history, this hotel should be an unmissable experience, and for anyone who isn’t so into history, there’s no denying that The Sextantio is an absolutely fascinating place to stay.

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(Photos courtesy of Design Hotels™.)