The Hotel Il Pellicano is what everyone dreams to find when they vacation on the Italian coast. It’s a paradise enveloped in the pine trees, overlooking the sea from atop a cliff. For nearly 50 years it has been a retreat for international socialites and royalty alike. Even I was lucky enough to visit it once.
In "Hotel Il Pellicano", a new book published by Rizzoli, three photographers construct the hotel’s lifetime, from the black and white groundbreaking images by Slim Aarons, to the contemporary fêtes captured by Juergen Teller.
Funny thing is, most of the images are not of the hotel but of the occupants. The Graham family who constructed it, the Sció family who now own the home, and their guests. The images are stunning but they are family albums none the less.
Though the book covers over 4 decades, the images are very much consistent. Sunbathers recline by the water, men smoke cigars, meals are held al fresco, boats cut through the clear sea, children jump on trampolines and eat ice cream, and the ambitious play tennis and read books. It appears as if the Pellicano exists outside of time. As one-time visitor Bob Colacello explains in the introduction “The place has an aristocratic naturalness to it, as it if has always existed. You feel very secure, safe.”
More than anything, the book proves that vacations aren’t about price or extravagance, but spending time with family and friends. Colacello describes a typical day at Pellicano as “living in your bathing suit, reading a fat royal biography or slim avant-garde novella, breaking for dips in the warm clean, emerald sea or in the very civilized saltwater pool.” Sounds like the perfect summer day at any other beach.
1 Original proprietors Patricia and Michael Graham. "Hotel Il Pellicano", Rizzoli
2 Title page of the album of photographs created by John Swope. I love the font on the sign. "Hotel Il Pellicano", Rizzoli
3 Pan of Porto Ercole. "Hotel Il Pellicano", Rizzoli
4 Michael Graham. "Hotel Il Pellicano", Rizzoli
5 July, 1967. "Hotel Il Pellicano", Rizzoli
6 John Good and Ginny Bell. The design on her shirt sends my mind spinning. "Hotel Il Pellicano", Rizzoli
7 "Hotel Il Pellicano", Rizzoli
8 August 1967. La Rocca Spagnola, the fortress on the hill in the distance, was built by Philip II of Spain in the 16th century. "Hotel Il Pellicano", Rizzoli
9 "Hotel Il Pellicano", Rizzoli
10 What a color palette in this family portrait. August 1967. A young family is pictured in the shade of the bougainvillea; Prince Allesandro 'Tinti' Borghese with his wife, Contessa Fabrizia Citterio, and their two children, Alessandra and Fabio Borghese, at Il Pellicano. Borghese, owner of the Monto Argentario estate, sold the land to the Grahams on which the hotel was established, after first building a house nearby as a gift to Queen Juliana of the Netherlands (1909-2004). "Hotel Il Pellicano", Rizzoli
11 August 1973. Guests enjoy relaxing by the heated seawater pool, or lounging around the jetty by Il Pellicano's shore -- taking out a small craft or dangling their feet in the water. 'Hotel Il Pellicano", Rizzoli
12 Keeping everything ship-shape and harmonius on deck, topping up a tan ... Elisabetta Catalano, August 1969. "Hotel Il Pellicano", Rizzoli
13 I'm seeing a beach towel design. "Hotel Il Pellicano", Rizzoli
14 If you've seen my story in Boundless Beauty you'll know I love pattern on the ceiling. Contessa Rattazzi, at home in Santa Liberata, Porto Ercole, August 1980. "Hotel Il Pellicano", Rizzoli
15 These two rooms are beyond fab. Contessa Giuppi Pietromarchi in her garden room at La Ferriera, her family's Capalbio Villa, September 1986 (top). Contess Lili Gerini at the Gerini villa, Santa Liberata, Porto Ercole, August 1973 (bottom). "Hotel Il Pellicano", Rizzoli
16 An 80kg tuna caught by local fisherman and prepared as sashimi for the Hotel Il Pellicano Globetrotters' Party on 13 June. "Hotel Il Pellicano", Rizzoli