When headed towards Lake Como for June, it’s hard not to make a quick pit stop in South Tyrol. Infinity pools by the ocean are nice, but have you ever seen an infinity pool perched on a hillside precipice overlooking an alpine valley? Spoiler alert: it looks like a screensaver. The views at Arua, a collection of private villas above the South Tyrolean town of Merano, must be seen to be believed.
EXPLORING THE SPACE
Described as “a panorama so wide it dissolves any borders,” the first thing that will strike you about Arua is the serenity and perspective achieved from its omniscient vantage point above Merano and the surrounding countryside. In contrast with the extremes of weather and temperature in the nearby Alpi dell’Ortles and Dolomite mountain ranges, life in the valley enjoys a mild climate that supports the cultivation of apples, olives, wine, and a plethora of artisan crafts from weaving to wood carving.
If that sounds quaint, prepare to be further charmed by the directions to the Arua Villas: you make the final turn of your approach after driving past Thurnstein Castle, an ancient stone edifice with squared-off parapets that has stood sentry on the slopes of Cima Muta since the 1200s, still in operation today as a restaurant and cultural destination. A solitary private road brings you up the hillside to Arua, a modernist, minimal retreat with accommodations for groups of 2-14 guests.
South Tyrol is a place where time moves slowly, traditions are honored, and the natural rhythms of the land provide inspiration for modern travelers and entrepreneurs alike. Each of the six villas at Arua bears the name of native herbs or plant-life, and the clean architectural lines of the structures cut a striking figure against a backdrop of jagged, free-flowing terrace-farmed vineyard rows cut into the sloping face of the mountain. Farmland, forests, and olive groves weave a vibrant patchwork through the town and countryside below.
The name Arua comes from a colloquialism in the South Tyrolean dialect, “A rua,” pertaining to feelings of absolute bliss, peace, and quiet. The experience of staying in the villas is certainly tailored to achieving these ends—each entirely private unit features either a heated mini-pool or personal rooftop spa, and the canopied loggias come furnished with yoga mats and meditation cushions for maximum zen.
The decor is as neutral and comfortable as you’d expect from the spa-like atmosphere, celebrating the natural textures of stone, concrete, wood, and textiles in a soothing palette of grey, beige and white. The spacious and elegant open-plan layouts of each villa are thoughtful and likewise geared for relaxation and reflection. Should you choose to leave the privacy of your personal retreat, the aforementioned infinity pool and inviting recliners await down on the communal ground floor level.
With roughly 6 acres of estate land to explore as well as hiking and biking trails nearby, there is much to do outside the walls of your Arua Villa, but in the true nature of a holiday, we recommend taking the time to slow your pace of life and soak in the sublime relaxation this space aims to inspire. And if you can’t get there in person just yet, the view from the pool makes a pretty excellent screensaver to inspire a brief moment of calm in your busy days.
Planning a trip? The best times to visit are late spring / early summer (June-July) or early fall (September-October), but the region is open year-round for tourism activities
Villas face south, providing panoramic light all day and stunning sunsets from your private terrace
Gourmet meals from acclaimed restaurateur Otto Mattivi’s nearby Hidalgo are available served directly to your villa, be sure to order at reception.
Personal massage and spa treatments are available on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, or upon request.