LADISPOLI, iTALY, October 7, 2017 — On the outskirts of Rome, just a short drive from Fiumucino International Airport, sits a magnificent 17th century villa that was once part of the ancient port city of Alsium. Originally the port was Etruscan but later became Roman.
Overlooking the azure waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea, this grand seaside palace known as La Posta Vecchia (the old post house), was sold in 1693 and devastated by fire in 1918 before industrialist John Paul Getty renovated it into his private resort residence in the 1960s.
The former carriage house for mail stages traveling along the coast north of Rome, is much more than the contemporary, elegant 5-star hotel it has become since Getty’s death, however.
When the eccentric billionaire took ownership, he discovered beneath the floors of his new home, the ruins of two 2nd century Roman villas.
Intrigued by his discovery, Getty began excavating the property under the supervision of the Archaeological Authority only to unearth remains of colorful mosaics and a stunning array of African and Greek marble including a vast collection of plates and vases.
Further research showed that La Posta Vecchia had been built over the ruins of an ancient Roman City in the town of Palo Laziale.
Rather than give his priceless discovery to a museum, Getty converted the basement of his villa into a private museum which is now an intricate feature to be enjoyed by guests and visitors to La Posta Vecchia.
Given the size of the ruins and the type of artifacts that were uncovered, it is believed that the original structure once belonged to a wealthy and influential Roman nobleman. As such, that part of La Posta Vecchia’s legacy continues into the 21st century.
By the 17th century, the outbuildings of Odescalchi Castle had been built over the original villa and the two Roman estates disappeared until Getty unearthed his buried treasure.
In essence, this story is uniquely Italian, for much like the country itself, La Posta Vecchia has undergone its own Renaissance.
Getty, along with art historian Federico Zeri, lovingly appointed the living spaces of the villa with a mixture of contemporary and classical furnishings. Each guest room is unique with a full complement of 16th and 17th-century furniture. Rooms are bright and spacious with magnificent views of the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Much of the charm of La Posta Vecchia however, lies in its lack of pretense. Though elegant and sophisticated with its state-of-the-art facilities, it is not ostentatious or pompous in its character. Here is a place where comfort is of the essence, amid a casual atmosphere that blends harmoniously with virtually every century of La Posta Vecchia’s history.
The hotel today is mostly as Getty left it, with few of the trappings of the modern hotel industry other than the necessities required for comfortable contemporary living. La Posta Vecchia thrives within its own authenticity.
Amenities include a private beach, a stunning indoor pool where you can watch the sunrise if you like, horseback riding in the surf and boat services along the picturesque coastline.
Tennis courts are available on the grounds and golf can be arranged at a nearby course. The spa is also a top-notch facility for those interested in participating in wellness as only Italy can offer it.
Rome is only 40 minutes away by car which makes La Posta Vecchia an ideal escape from the madding crowds yet accessible to all the sightseeing and artistic wonders of the Eternal City.
Keep in mind that you are not isolated from culinary delights at the villa, however. The Cesar Restaurant has a Michelin-rated kitchen that will satisfy the most discriminating of palates.
Here’s a tip, even if you prefer a closer proximity to Rome’s vibrancy and amenities, consider treating yourself to a gala farewell adventure before departing for home the next day.
The traffic will probably be lighter and so will your heart because La Posta Vecchia is one of those lifetime memories you will never forget.
About the Author: Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor was an award winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.
He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
His goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.
Editors Note: Support Bob’s GoFundMe to give him a hand up