Italian Expresso cup on terrazzo | Casa al Sole | Design Boutique Hotel in Val Gardena, Italy

Sweet Rationalist

Casa al Sole | Beautiful Historic Boutique Hotel in Val Gardena, Italy
Built in the 1930s, the structure adheres to the principles of Rationalism architecture – where precedence is given to the coherence of geometric forms

Intro

Cuboid, measured and precise, Casa Al Sole is emblematic of the Italian Rationalism architectural style of Italy in the 20s and 30s. Renovated with precision and scrupulous attention to detail, the house is a meticulous restoration of purity and simplicity. 

Classic Tyrolean scenes greet Casa Al Sole, found in the traditional charm-laden surrounds of lush Val Gardena and guarded by the glacial-grey of the mighty Dolomites. Onion-turreted churches, authentic gabled houses and in the distance, the folds of the green valleys create a curved hold on Casa Al Sole, standing proudly in the village of Ortisei, vibrant in crimson red with neat, white-framed windows. 

Built in the 1930s, the structure adheres to the principles of Rationalism architecture – where precedence is given to the coherence of geometric forms, so owners Manuel and Alexandra were determined to let the original ethos of the house stay true to its foundation. To that end, Casa Al Sole conforms with vigour and the archetypal features of the house shine through, hence the exterior patina of traditional windows, balconies and gabled overhanging roof are set to a traditional form. 

Borne out of a deep respect for the area, Manuel was in fact brought up in the house, so for him every thought, material, door or floor was carefully considered. By salvaging and preserving as much as possible, the next step was to layer a modern concept which would not be at odds with the existing heritage aesthetic. Using the feel-good mantra of serenity was a guiding hand in the house and helped navigate design decisions, for example Casa Al Sole has very little colour, instead using materials that with their own unique natural properties lend an elemental palette. 

Naturally, using steel, larch wood, natural stone, clay and felts create a very minimalist effect which allows both past and present space to coexist. A balanced simplicity is achieved by keeping to a 30s ideology of wooden floors, the original doors, and windows now renovated but with storm sash still in place. 

Furnishings are sparse, with nothing unnecessary while at the same time creating the perfect template for contemporary living. Padded mid-century armchairs, modern lighting where needed and elegant stained wood tables make up the requisite interior design, and the dramatic Dolomites give elemental majesty to framed windows. At Casa Al Sole, simplicity reigns – and you won’t want for anything more.

Rooms

Casa al Sole | Beautiful Historic Boutique Hotel in Val Gardena, Italy

Casa al Sole’s bedrooms have a harmonious composure that comes from smooth larch wood floors, whiter-than-white walls, crisp bedding and the use of thick lodens and linens for curtains. Tactile materials sweep up the minimalist aesthetic with use of smooth polished concrete in grey swirling the bathrooms as well as chrome, steel and untreated wood. The 12 rooms are set over two floors, with views over the valley and in-room water, fresh from the Dolomites.

Foodie

A small hotel, Casa al Sole has the perfect set-up for travellers visiting Val Gardena with a breakfast of local treats served to your table, fresh coffee from the Torrefazione GiamaicaCaffè in Verona, breads and pastries from the local bakery, butter, yoghurts and cold meats from the farmer, combining into a thoroughly wholesome start to the day. 

At other times, enjoy Al Sole’s Housebar for a glass of natural wine, beer or coffee and from 4pm, the hotel provides tasty snacks to keep you going until dinner such as rye bread with speck and anchovies from the Cantabrian Sea with farmer’s butter. There are some local dining hotspot secrets that owners Manuel and Alexandra will be happy to let you in to.

Location

Casa al Sole is found in the small town of Ortisei, within the Val Gardena valley of the Dolomites in northern Italy. Traditional at heart with Ladin roots and a history of woodcarving, there are three churches here – the church of Saint Jacob has 15th-century frescoes to admire. The wider Val Gardena area is known for altitudinous pleasure – locals and visitors are awed by the austere beauty of the encircling mountains and like to spend time in nature at all times of the year, whether that’s skiing in winter, hiking through wildflowers in spring, lake swimming in summer or biking the golden hues of autumn.

Owners

Owners Manuel and Alexandra are making a name for themselves as the kindest hosts, creating that personal touch that can really elevate your stay with their tendrils that stretch into the locale. Discovering the region is easy with Manuel and Alexandra providing a natural connection to the area. 

Manuel is natural, passionate host, self-confessed dreamer, mushroom forager, telemarkerand also an experienced maître D, having worked in famed Dolomite hotels as well as gleaning vital knowledge from France to New Zealand. Full of fun Alexandra loves to be playful, and she is your go-to for intel on the nearby mountain pathways where you will often find her. Equally she keeps the hotel running smoothly and en point with her laser focus for detail.

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