ISLE OF CAPRI, Italy – Beginning May 1, 2012, the secluded, seven-room, Villa Le Scale will be more seductive than ever. After months of renovations, the 19th-century “Villa of the Steps” will reopen refreshed and rejuvenated for its ninth season of beguiling a steady flow of celebrities, tycoons, and lovers of exquisite surroundings.
But how do you renovate a masterpiece when the décor itself is irreplaceable?
“Slowly and deferentially,” said owner Anna Maria Coronato, a leading international antiquarian, who personally selected the remarkable collection of museum-caliber statuary, paintings, and objets d’art that distinguish each guestroom. “Guests tell me that my collection is what makes Villa Le Scale so special,” Coronato said.
18th-century objects, boiserie panels, surround sound
Each of the historic home’s seven rooms is individually decorated, each style taking its theme from the centerpiece artwork. Hence, guests checking into the Artist’s Room will find a fabulous Marchigana Era bookcase in the bedroom and two 18th-century marble basins in the bathroom. The Venetian Room is dominated by a glorious 18th-century bookcase that frames the entrance to the boudoir, while the Louis XV1 Room comes with exquisite boiserie panels and a terrace overlooking a delicately perfumed cetrella garden.
All the rooms come with air conditioning, personal safes, mini bars, plasma-screen television sets, surround sound, and high-speed wireless access. Most of them have expansive views of the Bay of Naples, and they all look out on or open onto very private gardens almost three times the size of the villa itself – including a Secret Garden down a flight of flower-draped weathered stone steps.
Private dining, private gym, private pool
For an elegant hideaway with just seven rooms and suites, Villa Le Scale offers its guests a surprising array of services: private dining (indoors and outdoors, never more than 14 guests at each meal), room service, turndown service, 24/7 concierge service, an 8-station gym with the latest gear, and a fully-stocked wine cellar. The heated swimming pool is ringed with fountains, stone grottoes, a spacious sun terrace, and masses of foliage and flowers to create an air of seclusion and privacy. Signora Coronato has personally trained her staff in the manner of household retainers rather than hotel employees, creating an ambience appropriate for a villa built for an aristocrat.
From emperors to helicopters: the mystique of Capri
The original villa dates from the 18th century, a summer retreat for Barone Monti delle Corte, and is one of the few surviving aristocratic homes on an island renowned for lavish summer retreats since the days of the Emperor Tiberius. Situated high in the hills on the outskirts of Anacapri, the villa is just a short walk from the town’s main attractions: turn left for the piazza, turn right for the Axel Munthe Museum two doors away. The villa’s guests are conveniently located yet sequestered from the day-trippers and cruise ship passengers who often crowd the island in summer.
The villa’s knowledgeable, personable manager, Vincent Copeland, is an insider guide to the pleasures of Capri and will steer guests to the perfect restaurants, cafes, bars, and boutiques, arranging the most convenient transportation – helicopter, touring cars, luxury sedans, funiculars, taxis – to move his guests effortlessly around Italy’s most romantic little island.
The splendors of the villa and its gardens can be reviewed in detail at www.villalescale.com .