CATTOLICA, Italy — “We are convinced we live in a beautiful place.”
With this simple assumption, Federica Ferretti sums up her attachment to Cattolica, where she runs the family-owned luxury Hotel Carducci 76.
Her father, Massimo Ferretti, is the executive chairman of Moschino and Alberta Ferretti parent company Aeffe, which also controls the Pollini and Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini brands, and is based in San Giovanni Marignano, about three miles from Cattolica.
“Our parents would bring us here by the sea growing up, we’ve been lucky to be raised here and it’s a lovely place also in the winter,” says Federica, whose calm and poise are reflected in the locale, a haven in the busy and bustling riviera.
Cattolica sits on the Adriatic Coast, a one-hour drive from Bologna’s airport and 30 minutes away from Rimini, Federico Fellini’s hometown. Cattolica and Rimini are storied tourist attractions, known for their sandy beaches, perfect for family vacations, but also for their nightlife, teeming with pubs, discos and clubs.
There is no shortage of hotels in Cattolica, but Carducci 76, named after its address, stands out for its unique architecture and secret garden — an oasis of peace behind its walls.
“I was always fascinated by this villa from the 1920s, at the time called Nora, and couldn’t bear to see it abandoned and in disarray,” says Massimo Ferretti, who bought it 25 years ago, remodeled it over the years and inaugurated it in 2000. His daughter recently took over the management of the venue, after working for years at Aeffe, and is not looking back. She has clearly caught her father’s bug, perhaps because both consider Carducci 76 a home.
“My wish was to create a different, alternative and relaxing place to the offer available here and that would feel like a home,” says Massimo Ferretti.
Even more so, because the hotel is furnished with pieces the Ferrettis bought during their trips around the world, from India to Thailand; posters of Fellini movies, and works from the entrepreneur’s personal contemporary art collection, from artists including Michelangelo Pistoletto and Fabrizio Plessi.
The pre-existing colonial style was reinterpreted while keeping original decorative elements and the villa’s octagonal towers. The Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, the mythological yali, home vacations on the Bosporus and Islamic gardens are cited as some of the inspirations. There are 39 rooms, including three suites in the towers, and each is uniquely furnished, with views of the sea and overlooking the garden, where a fountain and a waterfall add to the zen mood.
The hotel is positioned a few steps away from the beach, but there is also a pool near the breakfast room. Above that is an expansive terrace and the restaurant Vicolo di Santa Lucia, with a view of the sea.
“Fresh seafood and local raw materials are essential to the menu, as we want to emphasize the value of the territory,” says Federica Ferretti. There are almost 150 wine labels available.
Obviously, guests from the fashion industry are patrons of the hotel, but Massimo Ferretti notes there are many returning guests — often couples — who have heard about Carducci 76 via word of mouth. And this suits him just fine — there is no indication that the hotel has any affiliation with the brands Aeffe produces.
Hospitality and food run in the family, as Massimo Ferretti’s nephew, Giacomo Badioli, son of the executive’s sister and designer Alberta, manages three restaurants in the area: A Pesci in Faccia and Gente di Mare in Cattolica, and Falco in nearby Vallugola.
But as chic as Carducci 76 is, the Ferrettis shy away from defining it as a design hotel.
“Relax, excellent service and food, and a warm welcome, that’s what we aim at,” concludes Federica Ferretti.