Castles in Italy: 5 golden tips to renovate one in a Luxury Hotel.

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You know that the Italian government is giving away hundreds of historic sites, including castles, monasteries and towers all across Italy – for free? And you know that many others are for sales at very low prices? Like 1 Euro… and that’s not a joke. Old houses, inns, farmhouses, monasteries and ancient castles are all up for grabs – and you won’t have to pay a penny…This is a way to attract investments in the Italian country. The project will promote and support the development of the slow tourism sector.

Note that most of this buildings will be given to people who can show concrete plans of how they will renovate and rejuvenate the sites to help boost tourism in the local area. So the only catch is that those who take up the offer will have to commit to restoring and transforming the sites into tourist facilities.

It’s about converting one of these buildings into a hotel, spa, restaurant or other ingenious attraction. Prospective owners must demonstrate how they are going to bring visitors flocking to what will hopefully be Italy’s next must-see destination.

Maybe you’re one of the lucky buyers who is just waiting to renovate his castle. Or maybe you’re planning to buy one of this castles. One of the best investments you could make in this historic moment is to buy one of these italian ruins for practically nothing, and restructure it!

Anyway if your dream is to make your old castle become a relais or a luxury hotel, you’re in the right place! We will show you step by step how to do it! Look also as you can renovate your Italian house:

Here are 5 golden rules for renovating your castle. Read carefully!



Listen, the tourists who will come to your Italian castle will want to be treated like kings.

In Italy one of the leading sectors of the economy is that of luxury. And the construction sector is no exception. If you renovate an old Italian castle you can not think of doing it with cheap materials. Rule number one: You have to invest in luxury. Beauty, history, tradition and most of all, Luxury is what tourists who come to Italy are looking for. If you can combine this factor with tradition then you can do a good job!

It’s no coincidence that the best hotels and those with the most profit margin are always those who have invested more in luxury in the restructuring phase. The initial investment will certainly be repaid over time, and considering that many castles are sold off, you can save more liquidity on the sale deed to spend on the renovation.

Luxury means that you will have to use the best materials, such as marble, wood, stone. And avoid cheaper materials such as porcelain stoneware, wood-effect porcelain stoneware and more recent materials that simulate the effect of the finest materials.

Note: using the finest materials does not necessarily mean spending more, but having more care in the search for the best.


Investing in luxury also means investing in space. For example, better opt for less rooms but larger, than many smaller rooms. You are planning a relais, an Italian luxury hotel: your clients need a suite. Do not think that hosting less customers means earning less: it’s the opposite! Better to opt for quality! An Italian suite must always include a large entrance hall, a private lounge, a room for leisure or study, a large bedroom with a large bed, one or more bathrooms with dressing room, sauna, bathtub, jacuzzi, and every kind of comfort. 

Do not think in terms of numbers, but in terms of quality. Once the architectural quality of your luxury hotel will be high, the few customers you have will be able to reward you so much more than many more willing to spend less.

Therefore, take care of the details, the craftsmanship, the furniture. Don’t think of furnishing a castle or an Italian villa with low quality pieces of furniture. Think of Italian history, respect the Italian tradition. Surely in the property you are renovating will have passed nobles and knights, perhaps princes or kings.

Beware: Italian luxury is very different from what many foreigners might think: it does not necessarily mean glitz or opulence. It means taste, research of the best materials, classy furnishings, centuries-old tradition.

Design the common areas: if possible, design an indoor pool. This type of pool is very desired by the most demanding customers. So it is necessary that you give them the possibility to swim even in winter.



Do not just design interiors, but also focus on the outdoor. If you want to create a relais or a luxury Italian hotel, you will have to design the external spaces too.

So, the outdoor spaces are crucial in the creation of a luxurious hotel: a swimming pool, a tennis court, a large park, a covered parking, a cellar, a large avenue, a terrace… are just some of the essential elements.

Guests who will be staying in your hotel will not be holed up in the room, but will go out in the open air. And Italy is well known for its landscapes and its natural and environmental beauties.

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But, above all, one thing is most important: the garden. The garden is a fundamental component for Italian castles and villas. It must include the best native species and must be constantly cured. You can have a special project done by your architect. You can have a special project done by your architect. The Italian garden is one of the most famous in the world and includes labyrinths of hedges, old trees, lots of green grass, water games and fountains. Water plays a very important role in the design of the exterior. Fountains and pools are a must in the renovation of your castle.



Wine has always been a fundamental component of Italian culture. It’s not just a drink, it’s a tradition, it’s a sensory journey. Especially if your castle is located in Tuscany, in Sicily, in Piedmont, in Trentino, in Lazio, in Campania or in many other places, wine is central. Not only at the table, but also in the renovation and construction of a villa. So you will need to better restructure your wine cellar.

The cellar is the keeper of the wine. It is the connection between architectural and enological tradition. You need to restor it to its former glory. Don’t believe that the cellar is a dark, cold and dark room, don’t make the mistake of not considering it! It must be valued, glorified. It should be one of the central rooms, not considered as a warehouse. In many Italian farms and estates, the cellar is by far the most important and largest room.

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So, the cellar isn’t just the room where the wine is stored. But it’s a sort of museum: it should be a part of the castle to make visible and accessible to all hotel guests. This is why it’s essential to restructure it to the fullest.

The use of stone, wood and terracotta is central to the renovation of a cellar. Note that in these rooms must be met with precise parameters of humidity and temperature, so it’s necessary to plan the renovation of these environments in the best way.



From a research carried out in 2016, it emerged that most of the tourists who stay in castles and luxury villas in Italy, very much appreciate those that host horses and other types of animals!

So, If you want to excel and offer your customers something more you have to design something more. You can’t stop at the main building. You must also think of secondary buildings, of leisure, sports and entertainment. And how can we not think of horses?

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Then, the horse is a fundamental animal in the Italian tradition. Not only because it evokes class, style, nobility. Clients could use this facilities just for leisure and for excursions, or for events and historical re-enactments. And it’s also a great business card for a classy relais.

Therefore you must build (or restructure if they already exist) some additional buildings. Building a riding hall and horse stable is a great way to re-evaluate your structure and your ruins. Why? Consider that the costs of these structures are much lower than those of other buildings. But they can create that added value that can greatly increase the prices of your rooms and the demands by your customers.

But let’s analyze more specifically: the riding hall has very low construction costs, compared to the global renovation of the main building. It’s an open structure so you do not need structural projects either. To build the horse stable, you can do it entirely in wood, saving on the costs of stone or cement, creating a traditional yet modern structure. They are cheap buildings, especially if compared to the costs of renovating an italian stone property.



Last but not least. It’s very important that you find a good team of architects to assist you during the planning and the works. They will have to know how to communicate in a simple way all the problems and the interventions needed to realize the hotel of your dreams. Communication is fundamental in this area! The misunderstandings are very common and many Italian architects are not able to speak your language or make you understand many aspects of the restructuring works.

Guess what: Only 8% of tourists who buy properties in Italy turn to a trusted and reliable professional team. The result is that more and more buyers are fined or fined for irregularities in construction. Like: unsolicited building permits, violations of architectural legislation, long work times, crazy expenses… and so on! That’s bad!

Want to know a secret? Restructuring an old italian castle or an ancient villa is not so easy! So, you will need a suitable person heading a professional team, to advise you and complete your work to renovate your property.

Your architect need to be thorough and prompt, english speaking, with good communication skills. He has to lead a consulting team working for you and answering all your requests and emails promplty. Want to know more? Read this:


Yes, we’ve finished for now, but…this was just the beginning!

Do you want an advice on your Italian castle renovation? Do you need an architectural team? Ask us anything.

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We will be happy to follow you step by step.

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