Three Italian Belmond properties staying open for winter for first time

The Splendido Mare in Portofino is one of the Belmond properties in Italy that will remain open through the winter. Photo Credit: Splendido Mare, A Belmond Hotel, Portofino
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Three Belmond properties in Italy will remain open through the winter for the first time this year.

The Grand Hotel Timeo in Taormina is marking the season with a series of Sweet December Weekends that comprise Saturday brunches on the Literary Terrace and Sicilian pastry-cooking classes on Sundays. 

T1122VILLASANMICHELLE_C_HR [Credit: Villa San Michele, A Belmond Hotel, Florence]
Belmond's Villa San Michele in Florence. Photo Credit: Villa San Michele, A Belmond Hotel, Florence

Visitors over the holidays can also tour the town of Taormina on the hotel's decorated Ape Calessino, a classic Italian vehicle -- think a cross between a Vespa and a minicar and you get the idea -- for a look at the hilltop town of Castelmola and the handmade nativity scenes along winding medieval roads, as well as stops at local food stalls.

At the Splendido Mare in Portofino, holiday festivities include learning to make Christmas wreaths using organic materials from Portofino's Natural Park, a Christmas Eve dinner, a Christmas day lunch and a New Year's feast.

At the Villa San Michele in Florence, guests can take part in "The Art of Making" tour, which includes a ride through the Tuscan hills into the city of Florence in a vintage Fiat 1100 Musone.

The tour includes learning about local artisans of jewelry, shoes, crystalware and perfume, as well as a private visit to the Louis Vuitton boutique.

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