Having grown up on the bougainvillea-flowing grounds of one of Italy’s most beautiful hotels, Marie Louise Scio is spoiled for life elsewhere. “I swear I never go out of my golden prison,” the CEO and Creative Director of the five star Hotel Il Pellicano says of her action-packed routine that unfolds from mid April to mid September when she moves from her home in Milan to her family’s hotel on Tuscan coast. And why would she? The historic, sun-kissed property has long lured the world’s most glamorous jet setters – from Charlie Chaplin to the Casiraghis —and continues to swell each season with discerning guests of a certain style caliber: i.e., those that know that true luxury is a cozy, unpretentious hotel with warm service, magnificent food, a garden exploding with colored blooms, and the best sea view in all of Tuscany.
While she would prefer to stay glued to Il Pellicano’s signature white and yellow striped towel-lined lounge chairs — and really, who wouldn’t? — the hospitality scion does of course occasionally leave her perfect sea perch for special spots along her hotel’s hood, from the main town of Porto Ercole to resort havens like Capalbio.
Here’s an inside look at her rules for living the Good life at the Hotel Il Pellicano, as well as her favorite places to scoop, stoop, scope, and stretch out her long, bronzed limbs when she’s not fluttering around her hotel like a busy beautiful butterfly.
Il Pellicano has long been a summer anchorage for the best dressed people on the planet (Jackie Kennedy to Kate Moss, and even Russian fashion designer Ulyana Sergeenko captaining a wooden vintage boat and stepping off onto the dock in a turban and flowing gown). So please do Marie Louise a favor, and leave your jeans and T-shirts at home.
“The Pellicano is a place to dress up, so whenever I see people not making an effort, it really bums me out,” says Scio, who typically shows up to breakfast wearing one of her grandmother’s vintage, full length dresses and a shiny pair of flat Pierre Hardy sandals. For those who need directives on elegant dress, her rules are pretty clear: Men should never wear t-shirts at aperitivo or dinner, even at the casual bar. “It drives me nuts,” she says of slacker male dressers. “Why can’t they come with a collared shirt – even a polo?” If you know how to work a chic shorts and jacket ensemble (like your fashionable gay friend), great, otherwise, stick to trousers. Scio’s father, for example, shows up to breakfast or poolside drinks in striped linen shirts, blue chinos, navy velvet furlane slippers and a panama hat. Women on the other hand should err on the side of elegance. “Nothing too short,” Marie Louise advises. “It’s not the place.” Also to avoid: see-through kaftans and high heels (especially together). Scio recommends: Missoni kaftans, flat Greek sandals, a long LaDoubleJ Swing dress or the Boy Shirt/Big Skirt combo, a one piece bathing suit and an APC military jacket for chilly nights by the sea.
Eat: The triglia fish at Ristorante Il Pellicano, the hotel’s one Michelin star restaurant. “It’s divine,” says Marie Louise. “But even better is the breakfast dessert. Every morning they roll around a special cake or homemade Zabaglione with chocolate shavings.” Also noteworthy? The brick-like slabs of chocolate served after dinner.
Drink: One of the many cocktails made especially for famed friends of the hotel; from the Patsy Spritzer (made with Select instead of Aperol, for Il Pellicano’s original owner Patricia Graham), to the Teller (Juergen Teller’s favorite Negroni) and the Angurita (a watermelon, vodka, lime concoction specially mixed for Margherita Missoni).
Read: one of the many books Marie Louise has curated in the hotel’s library. “I picked the top 50 books every person should read in a lifetime. If you get lazy, there’s the DVDs selection which are all the films that you should really watch that you won’t find on iTunes or Netflix.”
Rub down with: A candle wax massage in the hotel spa. “It’s totally incredible,” she says.
Rent: a boat for a day trip
Buy: FRS sleepers, Missoni frocks and the latest glamorous items at the Pellicano Boutique.
Rasna in Orbetello – “This is a very cute shop for both men and women. It’s the best shop in the area besides ours!”
Address: Corso Italia, 17, Orbetello GR
Erboristeria Bioalimenti il Rosmarino – I love Luca Naitana’s Erboristeria in Orbetello. While there, there is a genius iridologist doctor who looks into your eye and tells you exactly what your body needs and gives you a special diet.
Address: Via Giuseppe Mazzini, 23, Orbetello GR
La Storia Infinita bookstore in Porto Ercole—it’s right on the port. It’s a great shop with books in English, Italian and all languages.
Address: Lungomare Andrea Doria, 55, Monte Argentario GR
The Pellicano restaurants! Not that I’m biased or anything but the food is amazing in both our restaurants. Pelligrill is more local fare, the Spaghetti all’astice are amazing so is the salt crusted sea bass, one of my favorites.
Hosteria Alicina in Porto Ercole- Super good fish. The catch of the day is always great.
Address: Via San Sebastiano, 54, 58018 Porto Ercole, Monte Argentario GR
Il Frantoio in Capalbio –I love the garden outside, it has a really amazing atmosphere. They do great dishes with wild boar.
Address: Via Renato Fucini, 10, 58011 Capalbio GR
BAR ù in Bolgheri – The food is amazing; I love the uova al tegamino and the cheesecake. Anything, really, made with Paolo Parisi’s eggs. They are legendary. 1h 45 minutes drive from Il Pellicano.
Address: Via Aurelia, 90, 57022 Castagneto Carducci LI
Best coffee is La Petite Patisserie in Orbetello. I love the coffee and the super healthy Budwig Cream.
Address: Via Roma, 58015 Orbetello GR
Il Baretto on the harbour of Porto Ercole-I used to go all the time since I was a kid and sometimes when I manage to escape the hotel I go for a drink.
Address: Lungomare Andrea Doria, 39, Monte Argentario GR
Don’t miss the Cinghiale (wild boar). It’s delicious. It’s very local. Be sure to eat it at our restaurants.
Visit cute local towns like Scansano and Manciano. Two beautiful towns, inland. Just great to wander around and discover!
The Giardino dei Tarocchi in Capalbio is amazing. It’s Niki De Saint Phalle’s sculpture garden. It’s like walking into someone’s wildest dreams. Imagine an outdoor park filled with mosaics. It’s nuts.
Maremma, Capalbio – all of the Roman and Venetian aristocrats stay there. It’s the upper part of Tuscany where my lovely boyfriend lives. Go to his restaurant BAR ù, it’s like an outdoor old gas station with really good food. Then we go to the beach at Baratti.
Not to be missed is a boat ride to the islands of Giglio and Giannutri, part of the Tuscan archipelago. The water is amazing. Giglio has a town and vineyard with great wine. In Giannutri you can visit a beautiful roman villa.l
Erboristeria – Natural Herb Shop
Spaghetti all’Astice – Lobster Spaghetti
Uova al tegamino – Eggs over easy
– J.J Martin