In Italy, you can find many historical, artistic, and cultural works of art which are very far from the twinkling and pompous splendour of classicism. Big little hidden secrets, which are so tenderly blurred and rarefied that seem an old black and white film from the Twenties. Places characterized by a very good taste, with their natural beauty they can make us live in total harmony with the world. They are heavenly places that bring us into a dream-like dimension and delight our senses. One of these places is Santo Stefano di Sessanio, an old stone hamlet between the majestic peaks of Gran Sasso. It is a place full of charm and history that used to be deserted. It is reborn thanks to Daniele Kihlgren, an Italian-Swedish entrepreneur, who literally fell in love with this magical place and turned it into Sextantio, an exclusive and high-level hotel. However, he has preserved the local environment and culture, and realized a conservative restoration which does not disdain imperfections. Actually it emphasizes imperfections, given that they are the product of a unique history, which should be preserved and enhanced.
Staying in Sextantio means travelling by time machine and enjoying simplicity, silence, and stillness characterized by a soft, vibrating, and slow rhythm. There is no luxury in Sextantio, at least no traditional luxury that characterizes 5 stars hotels, where everything is standard and smells like formalin. Its rooms are sober, there are no frills or unnecessary objects which could alter its original identity, and all the services offered are mainly linked to the local culture: from the gastronomic options to the bread-making and weaving courses organized there. Every detail in Sextantio offers its guests a human experience that completely captivates people’s senses: the view of beautiful things, shaking villagers’ hands, and listening to their stories, kneading, knitting, breathing every fragrance, tasting traditional food from Abruzzo… In a triumph of authentic beauty and magic which will always be engraved on your mind.
In spite of their spartan character, the rooms are full of charm and surrounded by a familiar and cosy atmosphere where, along with traditional fireplaces and places belonging to the domestic organization, there are modern accessories that harmonically match the traces of a deep and unforgettable past. Nothing in Sextantio is left to chance. Meals are served at Locanda sotto gli Archi, which is characterized by two big stone arches, situated on supporting columns, and a majestic stone fireplace in the middle. The restaurant has been restored, but it has preserved its original characteristics: the tables and chairs date back to the XX century, while the ceramic plates and crockery are handmade and inspired by a search for common-use ceramic, commissioned to the Museo delle Genti d’Abruzzo, which also deals with a search for local cuisine that reflects on the proposal of its menus.
For the relaxing moments, there is the evocative tea room, a place where guests can enjoy their peace of mind and a warm infusion, accompanied by exclusive local products, like ferratelle, the traditional biscuits from Abruzzo, realized at the moment by Mrs Gianna, the knitter of the hamlet. She will also show her knitting methods. At the Cantinone, you can taste the best products from Abruzzo, and the best dishes, which are very simple and belong to the different local cultures. Everything is characterized by a unique and engaging atmosphere. Many years ago, this cellar, or fondaco, was essential for the domestic and pastoral economy, given that it was used to store the necessary food for the familiar sustenance, during the long and lean winters.