A trip to the Holy See is about to get a lot more comfortable. Veteran luxury hotel group Four Seasons will be moving into a 15th-century palazzo bordering Vatican City—an independent, 109-acre city-state in Rome that’s the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church.
It’s rare to find modern lodgings of this caliber so close to the Vatican. The hotel will be the first Four Seasons in the Eternal City, and another one is in the works by the same developer, Miami-based Fort Partners, at the 17th-century Palazzo Marini near the Spanish Steps (slated open in 2026). We’ll have to wait until 2025 to check into the new Four Seasons at the Vatican, but here’s what you need to know in the meantime.
The official name will be Palazzo della Rovere, a Four Seasons Hotel
The Renaissance-era building that will house the Four Seasons is called Palazzo della Rovere, the Renaissance-era home to Domenico della Rovere, a noted cardinal from Italy’s northern Piedmont region. Today, the owners are the Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a lay institution protected by the Holy See dating back to 1336, with 30,000 members in close to 40 countries. Fort Partners signed a 30-year lease with the order and brought in hospitality partner Four Seasons to run the hotel.
“Working on a project in Rome has been a dream of mine for many years,” Fort Partners founder and CEO Nadim Ashi told AFAR. “As a Catholic, I have visited the Vatican more than 10 times. About five years ago, when I was in Rome scouting locations for a different Four Seasons, I learned that the Order was interested in bringing a hotel back to the Palazzo della Rovere.”
The hotel is a three-minute walk to St. Peter’s Basilica
The address is Palazzo della Rovere on 33 Via della Conciliazione—technically, in the city of Rome. But the hotel will be a literal stone’s throw from Vatican City, which means you can expect views of St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in the world. There are plans for a restaurant in the large courtyard that’s shaded by trees, and it’s easy to imagine a meal there on a sunny spring or fall day in Rome with a soundtrack of tolling basilica bells.
Other notable original details of the property, whose architecture takes its inspiration from Rome’s Palazzo Venezia next to the Capitoline Hill, include a turret and frescoes on the main floor by early Renaissance artist Pinturicchio, whose work features in six rooms in the Borgia Apartments in the Vatican.
A stay here will feel like an immersion in the Italian Renaissance
The renovation will double as a restoration project of the crumbling building, which once housed the modest Hotel Columbus that shut in 2018. Fort Partners is footing the bill for the $58 million renovation, allowing the order to continue donating its member contributions to the Holy Land. It will include a restoration of the property’s most historic details, including damaged 15th- and 16th-century frescoes.
The Italian architect behind the project is Fabrizio Casiraghi, whose work includes stores for the Kenzo fashion brand and Drouant, a celebrated restaurant in Paris where Casiraghi is now based. “Recognizing the historical importance of this 15th-century structure, we have engaged renowned Italian architect Fabrizio Casiraghi to share in our commitment to respect the site’s provenance and enhance its beauty thoughtfully while preserving its unique spirit,” Ashi said.
The hotel will open in 2025, in time for next Catholic Jubilee
The Catholic Church’s next Holy Year for the forgiving of sins occurs in 2025. (The event, which happens every 25 years, brought 25 million pilgrims to Vatican City in 2000.) And the hotel is planning to debut in time for it. According to the order, the style of hospitality at Palazzo della Rovere will pay homage to its next-door neighbors with its serene and monastic feel. Fort Partners confirmed the hotel will have only about 55 to 60 guest rooms, adding to the tranquility. And if the project is anything like the Four Seasons Hotel Firenze—a brilliantly restored palazzo and convent dating to the 15th and 16th centuries in Florence—then there’s promise for this hotel to become one of the city’s most enticing new escapes.
Heading to the Eternal City earlier than 2025? Check out AFAR’s hotel guide to Rome for your next trip.