The Infinito Suite at Palazzo Avino is a new addition to the Amalfi hotel, a brand new penthouse designed by Neapolitan architect Giuliano Andrea Dell'Uva. Perched on the pictureseque hillside that makes up the town of Ravello in Italy’s Amalfi coast, luxury hotel Palazzo Avino first put down its cliffside roots in the 12th century, when it was constructed for an aristocratic local family.
Over the centuries, it has changed several hands and undergone a host of renovations and expansions, but it functioned mainly as a private home until 1997, when it was transformed into a stunning boutique hotel by the Avino family, led by sisters Mariella, Attilia and Maria Vittoria. It now boasts a Michelin-star restaurant, a spa, a rooftop lobster and martini bar, a boutique (The Pink Closet, designed by Cristina Celestino), a heated pool overlooking the coast, and as of this season, a brand-new penthouse suite.
Infinito Suite at Palazzo Avino by Giuliano Andrea Dell’Uva
Set over two floors and boasting a private terrace with an outdoor jacuzzi and panoramic views over the Amalfi coast, the 100 sq m Infinito Suite is undoubtedly one of Ravello’s most luxurious. But in conceiving the design, Dell’Uva looked beyond the typical Amalfi bling and arrived at a concept that thoughtfully incorporated the palace’s storied history. 'We found an old photo of the original building,' explains the architect. 'The design started from there.' The grainy black and white image illustrated the palazzo’s original form, a three-story villa with a façade punctuated by rows of narrow peaked windows. 'It’s the same shape you can also find in the cathedrals along the Amalfi coast,' Dell’Uva says.
Inspired by the architectural details, Dell’Uva incorporated the key-hole shape in several places within the room, in the form of an alcove housing the oyster shell-shaped guest room sink and a cut-out notch peering from the half-wall concealing freestanding primary bath.
While many of the suite’s decorative features recall the palazzo’s history, according to Dell’Uva the concept is very much a mix of old and new. 'You have a contrast between the original style of the old hotel and elements of contemporary art,' he says. The art Dell’Uva is referring to is the mural-like floor created by the British painter David Tremlett, who designed a turquoise and white pattern that mirrors the slowly lapping crystal waters visible from the suite’s expansive windows.
Tremlett’s pattern was then hand-painted directly onto ceramic tiles by a local artisan, a type of collaboration Dell’Uva says he often incorporates into his projects. 'We try to make as much as we can with artisans,' he explains. 'Nothing is from a factory, for us, the imperfection of the hand made is part of the project – it’s the Mediterranean touch.'
In addition to the handcrafted elements, Dell’Uva sourced repurposed materials and archive furniture. The royal blue and white checkerboard tiles that line the floor of the terrace, for instance, were discovered on site when Dell’Uva and his team first surveyed the space. Meanwhile, the vintage 1970s bamboo furniture set in the sitting room was found at Galleria Rossella Colombari in Milan.
The debut of Dell’Uva’s Infinito Suite is far from the only news this season at Palazzo Avino. The hotel has also partnered with Valentino to take over the beach club, which will see the luxury fashion house bedeck the sun loungers and parasols in the brand’s iconic red all summer long.
Meanwhile, the Avino sisters have together launched a new rosé wine, Mar-A-Vi-glia, a portmanteau of their three names, which is produced from grapes grown in Palazzo Avino’s nearby vineyard. Next year, Dell’Uva is slated to give a facelift to several more of the palazzo’s rooms, which will be available for the 2024 season.
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Laura May Todd is a Canadian-born, Milan-based journalist covering design, architecture and style. In addition to the Italian dispatches she writes for Wallpaper*, she regularly contributes to a range of international publications, including T: The New York Times Style Magazine, Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, Azure and Sight Unseen. Prior to her work as a journalist, she was assistant editor at London-based publishing house Phaidon Press.
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