Impassioned chef Antonello Colonna is no newcomer to the Italian hospitality scene and his museum piece in Rome is already a classic. Now, almost 35 years after embarking on a vulcanic career when he took over the family tavern in Labico, a hill village just south-east of the city, he’s back there with an ultramodern, minimalist, luxury resortimmersed in nature. This is his place: his distinctive concept, his individual tastes, created from scratch. Notorious for breaking all the rules in and out of the kitchen, Antonello Colonna is chef-patron, entrepreneur, events organiser, writer and patron of the arts. And his resort is a home, a restaurant, a hotel and spa, an art gallery and the nucleus of a 20-hectare biodynamic farm. Larger than life, just like the man himself.
The AntonelloColonna Vallefredda Resort certainly makes an impact, low-slung and futuristic in bare, essential concrete, iron and glass. It has a gallery, a library and several exhibition/events/meeting spaces including an auditorium, as well as the two dining areas with cellar, and 12 fabulous suites with amazing views and furnishings by some of the grand masters of 20th century design.
Then there’s the cavernous spa offering the whole works with waters from the springs of Vallefredda and natural treatment products, while the outdoor pool is located on an immense terrace with a pastoral panorama. And finally, intrinsic to the holistic experience of well-being, food. Regional traditions are upheld and their peasant origins manifest, with the majority of meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables and herbs garnered from the home farm. But Colonna has been described as an anarchist in the kitchen, and every dish betrays some revolutionary tendency along with his legendary manic professionalism. Check out the menu. This is no classic restaurant: the setting is informal and diners are guests.