Traditionally, Europe's Grand Tour took in Paris and the Alps before moving swiftly on to Rome, after which things slowed down considerably. Other stops on this storied route included Florence, Siena and Verona, among other popular postings. Followed by aristocracy, gentry or otherwise, the tour proved to have lasting appeal.
There was only one woman with the credentials to reimagine the Grand Tour (the Italia edition) for modern-day, discerning travellers with a bona fide sense of style. Growing up in the photographs of Slim Aarons, and counting Margherita Missoni and founder of La DoubleJ, J.J. Martin, among her close friends, Marie-Louise Sciò is well-equipped to take on the title of cicerone (tutor) and lead this gypset onwards.
Mooring first at the fabled Il Pellicano on the coast of Porto Ercole before sailing via La Posta Vecchia (the former home of billionaire J. Paul Getty) and ending at the newest addition to the Pellicano brood, Mezzatorre in Ischia, the CEO of Pellicano Hotels, in partnership with MATCHESFASHION.COM, is seabound - travelling by 1930s yacht - with a crews-worth of well-heeled nomads. Before she set sail, we caught up with the hotel heiress to discuss a whole host of things, from picture-perfect memories to the best trattorias in Rome.
What was it like growing up at Il Pellicano? What are some of your earliest memories there?
Growing up hiding in the bushes to spy on the adults at night. There was magic in the air and I was a tiny spectator. I remember very well a time that my brother and I decided to save some lobsters from a cruel destiny and threw them in the pool during a party. My parents were not so happy but we felt so proud of our rescue.
What does your role as creative director of the Pellicano Hotels group involve?
Curating every sensorial and visual aspect of the hotels.
What do you think makes a good hotel?
The soul, the bones and the staff.
Your top five hotels…
Do you think there is such a thing as holiday tribes? If so, which do you belong to?
I belong to the tribe of people who love to holiday where there are not so many people around.
Tell us about the Grand Tour collaboration.
It was my dream to do a pop up on a boat and we found the perfect partner in MATCHESFASHION.COM. I am so excited about this project - a travelling holiday pop-up on a 1930s yacht.
Which are your most frequented travel destinations?
Your latest Pellicano Hotel opening is the Mezzatorre Hotel & Thermal Spa. What treatments should we try there?
The thermal pools, which are incredible, or the mud treatments with the spring waters.
Where are some of your favourite places in Italy…
What are you reading at the moment?
The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington.
One piece of travel advice…
Never stop travelling and always learn something as you do.
And finally, what's in your SUITCASE?
All sorts of things - but a sketchbook is key.