All hail Palazzo Vilòn: a reimagined Roman residence for the ages

Words from Luke Abrahams

TThere’s no place like Rome, especially when you have one of the three keys to the recently (and carefully) restored Palazzo Vilòn suites – which thankfully still retain their palatial proportions and the splendor of days gone by. Luke Abrahams checks in for a vacation like no other in Rome – with all the trimmings of Hotel Vilòn, a luxury stay just a courtyard away.passeggiata away.

The facts…

Rome is having a moment and Palazzo Vilòn is an essential part of it. In rabbinic Hebrew the word vilon literally translated as “hidden veil” and in the context of this sprawling mini-Versailles, a veil that is blown aside to reveal the first of the seven heavens. And what a heaven it is. Literally palatial, the historic palazzo is a unique jewel in the Italian capital’s already glittering crown, offering a unique hotel experience that is second to none.


Say it big ciao to the magnificent Palazzo Vilòn. The vibe is “living like the Roman aristocracy” for a few nights in the very building built by the noble Borghese family (the same family that founded Villa Borghese and Galleria Borghese). Until recently, this chic property remained the elusive home of a famous film producer until he moved out and sold his semi-palace to the Shedir Collection, a luxury hotel collective that also manages the neighboring Hotel Vilòn and another glitzy Amalfi Coast retreat.

Palazzo Vilon

Palazzo Vilon

Style points?

It’s Donatella Versace meets Michelangelo. There’s a lot of pressure; lots of gold; lots of marble; many statues; and many dizzying frescoes. In short, Palazzo Vilòn is one of those rarities for Roman holidays: an exclusively private and exceptionally well-preserved palace residence that is refreshingly interesting. Until its completion in 1678, the Palazzo Borghese (his fancy hereditary family name) was considered one of Rome’s finest gems and remains an honor today.

In short, Palazzo Vilòn is one of those rarities for Roman holidays: an exclusively private and exceptionally well-preserved palace residence that is refreshingly interesting.

Tell us about the rooms…

There are 1,000 square meters to play on three floors in these royal boudoirs. Despite its gigantic size, you will only find three rooms here, all of which are unique in their character and peculiarities. There’s one on the first floor, crowned with dazzling motifs; a second hidden in the former chapel; and a mammoth third apartment overlooking the Palazzo Borghese courtyard (including views of the ornate fountain and citrus blossoms).

Palazzo Vilon

All exquisitely decorated interiors were redesigned by Milanese architect and contemporary dandy genius Giampiero Panepinto. The result is supremely versatile, if a bit fancy (pack a pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes from all the polished treasures). Think ceilings adorned with stunning 24-karat gold leaf lettering, ornate museum-quality mirrors, lots of vintage mid-century furniture (all Italian, of course), small avenues of busts and the odd piece of history-filled portraiture , topped by a fresco or two.

The food and drink?

Since staying overnight here is quite expensive, butler service is a given. All food is prepared in the kitchens of the neighboring Palazzo Hotel Vilòn, courtesy of the trendy Adelaide restaurant and bar. The menu is inspired by Italian and Roman classics (Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe, Spaghetti carbonara, Rigatoni all’amatriciana and more) as well as regional classics. All food is served in the Palazzo’s magnificent Galleria degli Specchi. Expect 40 seats and a mirrored surface that ensures you don’t get gawking whiplash after drooling over the room’s wonderful Renaissance ceiling.

Palazzo Vilon

Is there anything else to consider?

The location is excellent. You are just a few minutes from the Spanish Steps, Via del Corso, the Roman Forum and the Trevi Fountain. Cross the bridge and you’ll be at the foot of the Vatican in less than 10 minutes and all the little streets in between are wonderfully photogenic.

Luke Abrahams is a London-based freelance journalist specializing in news, luxury lifestyle and travel writing. Luke was previously features social media editor at the London Evening Standard. His work has appeared in more than 25 British and US publications, including British Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, The Times, Town & Country, The Telegraph, Condé Nast Traveller, Time Out, House & Garden, Suitcase, Elite Traveler, Insiders, and more. So far, Luke has visited 83 countries. His favorite is Italy and it will always be that way.

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The post “All hail Palazzo Vilòn: a reimagined Roman residence for the ages” first appeared in Small Luxury Hotels of the World Journal.

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