An Iconic Italian Oasis
Perched on the picturesque central east coast of Italy in Porto Ercole, the storied luxury hotel Il Pellicano commands breathtaking views of a bay that glistens under the brilliant Italian sun. A testament to elegance and refinement, this iconic establishment was brought to life in 1965 by Michael Graham, a British aviator, and Patsy Daszel, an American socialite. Cascading down a hillside adorned with fragrant rosemary and vibrant bougainvillea, Il Pellicano exudes timeless beauty and a captivating ambiance.
Over the years, Il Pellicano has played host to a captivating cast of illustrious guests. Charlie Chaplin himself once owned a cottage on the hotel grounds, and the Queen of the Netherlands was a regular visitor. In 1979, Roberto Scio, the owner of the Pellicano hotel group, recognized the exceptional potential of this hidden gem and acquired the property. With his visionary touch, Scio transformed Il Pellicano into a quintessential Tuscan retreat, captivating the hearts of the international jet-set.
Today, Il Pellicano is under the discerning stewardship of Scio’s daughter, Marie-Louise Scio, who serves as the creative director. For four enchanting summer months each year, she relocates from Rome to the hotel, immersing herself in the idyllic atmosphere alongside her family. Reflecting on the eclectic mix of guests who grace the hotel’s elegant halls, Scio remarks, “It’s always such an interesting mix of people – we get honeymooners, art people, fashion people…” The hotel’s allure knows no bounds, attracting a diverse array of distinguished individuals seeking an unparalleled retreat.
Among the notable guests who have experienced the magic of Il Pellicano are the esteemed Missoni family and the acclaimed photographer Juergen Teller. In fact, Teller’s 2013 book, “Eating at Hotel Il Pellicano,” serves as a testament to the hotel’s captivating culinary offerings and inimitable atmosphere. Previously overseen by Michelin-starred chef Antonio Guida, Il Pellicano’s menu now showcases the culinary artistry of another Michelin-starred chef, Michelino Gioia. Gioia expertly crafts traditional local dishes, utilizing the finest ingredients sourced from Tuscan producers, resulting in a symphony of flavors that delight the palate.
The allure of Il Pellicano extends beyond its luxurious accommodations and exquisite cuisine. The hotel’s pool, skillfully carved into the rocks, provides a serene oasis overlooking the bay. Here, guests can bask in the sun-drenched tranquility, relishing in moments of pure bliss. For those seeking aquatic adventures, Il Pellicano offers a private pier, inviting visitors to dive into the crystal-clear waters or indulge in exhilarating water skiing. Even though Marie-Louise Scio has assumed the helm, her father, Scio senior, who oversees three other hotels, including the grand palazzo La Posta Vecchia located outside Rome, frequently returns to Il Pellicano, underscoring the enduring allure of this enchanting retreat. And he is not alone—many guests find themselves irresistibly drawn back to the hotel’s captivating embrace time and time again.
Il Pellicano beckons those in search of timeless elegance and unparalleled hospitality. From the awe-inspiring natural beauty that surrounds the property to the rich history and notable guests who have graced its halls, every aspect of this cherished hotel speaks to its enduring charm.
Words: Editorial Board
Photography: Courtesy of Hotel Il Pellicano