Roman Holiday: Villa Laetitia

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When Anna Fendi Venturini, scion of the Italian fashion house, acquired the run-down Villa Laetitia in Rome, she saw potential in its cracked façade and overgrown garden. Fendi spent one year and several millions of dollars renovating the Art Nouveau mansion. The result is an upscale oasis of calm along the Tiber River.

Each of the 15 guestrooms channel Fendi's creativity and style. She used furnishings she discovered at antique fairs around the world to turn them into mini-museums, incorporating items like a 1930s Mies van der Rohe sofa bed, a rare Picasso foulard and green steel furniture by Italian designer Tobia Scarpa. The glamorous Crystal Room seems weightless with its transparent Fendi Perspex furniture. The black-and-white Karl Suite, decorated with 1920s Viennese armchairs, honors designer Karl Lagerfeld (Fendi's creative director) and displays dozens of his fashion sketches.

Villa Laetitia's staff can arrange massage sessions, personal training and shopping tours of Rome, which naturally include a stop at a Fendi boutique. They also give tours of the mansion, which will eventually comprise an additional seven suites and a spa. Built in 1911 by Armando Brasini, one of Mussolini's favorite architects, its marble pillars and ornate ceilings are redolent with an Old World class that lesser boutique hotels would kill for. See