Peek inside Italy's newest luxury hotel, run by a world-famous chef

Food-loving travelers can now add a new, exclusive oasis to their dream destination list.

Situated just outside of Modena, in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, is the luxurious Casa Maria Luigia, a stunning country inn surrounded by picturesque gardens, lovely fountains and art sculptures. But what makes this bed and breakfast so special isn’t just the gorgeous countryside and the artsy, posh ambiance.

It’s exceptional because it's owned by the world-famous chef Massimo Bottura and his wife, Lara Gilmore. Known across the globe for his three-Michelin-star restaurant, Osteria Francescana, which is nearby and considered number one in the world, Bottura wanted to create a new, intimate destination in an area of Italy that is currently lacking in luxury accommodations.

After purchasing the sprawling 12-acre property two years ago, the couple renovated the 250-year-old estate and officially opened doors to guests in May 2019. As their first hotel venture, Maria Luigia is named after the chef’s mother, and exudes understated luxury with a whimsical vibe throughout.

Exterior of Casa Maria Luigia — Photo courtesy of Marla Cimini

Exterior of Casa Maria Luigia — Photo courtesy of Marla Cimini

Although it appears to be a traditional estate from the exterior, a second glance reveals ceramic sculptures of brightly-hued gelato perched atop the balcony directly above the main entrance, created by artist Giorgio Di Palma. It's a sure sign of the fun and joyful ambiance that awaits inside, with unexpected art pieces and delightful décor.

Much like the chef’s iconic dishes that feature brilliant colors, vibrant flavors and astonishing textures (such as his dessert, Oops, I Dropped the Lemon Tart), the inn is inviting and filled with surprises at every turn. Each of the twelve rooms and suites (including a penthouse) is stylish, vibrant and unique, with high-end amenities, comfortable beds and modern walk-in showers (or deep, claw-foot bathtubs). A free minibar with local beverages is also included.

The home is accented with many personal items from the couple’s modern art collection. A few of the many artists include Andy Warhol, Ai Weiwei and Jack Pearson. They created the ambiance with the help of locally-based designer Catia Baccolini, who has worked on the couple’s restaurants, as well as their own home.

Outside, guests can stroll through the gardens, relax on the patio, and lounge by the swimming pool while enjoying the lovely country views and listening to the sounds of abundant songbirds.