Now, you can reap the detox and wellness benefits from the widely acclaimed The Ranch Malibu from a picturesque medieval Italian town. Need we say more?
Breathtaking hikes through the Apennine Mountains, a seemingly endless array of medical and wellness therapies, and locally sourced, plant-based cuisine make a perfect jumpstart to reclaiming your health and feeling better than you have in years.
THE PACKING EDIT
Infamous wellness retreat, The Ranch Malibu opened its international outpost in Fiuggi, Italy this spring. Just over an hour’s drive from Rome, this utterly charming 13th-century town has long-been a site of healing and restoration, thanks to its ancient mineral waters (Michelangelo himself is said to have sought recovery here). Today, it’s a bonafide modern wellness destination for celebrities, CEOs, and health obsessives alike, thanks to the five-star Palazzo Fiuggi medical wellness hotel, which has partnered with The Ranch to offer well-appointed accommodations and spa facilities. The combination of Palazzo Fiuggi’s extensive amenities and experts, The Ranch’s widely acclaimed week-long fitness regimen, and the town of Fiuggi as an idyllic backdrop have already established The Ranch Italy as a top wellness retreat to visit in 2022 and beyond. Just be warned: this program is not for the faint of heart.
Whether guests are willing to admit it or not, they come to The Ranch Italy for more than just clearer skin and stress relief: they want to shed weight and get leaner. This means that the wellness protocol is much more intensive for the “ranchers” as compared to the other guests staying at Palazzo Fiuggi, who you’ll often find lounging by the pool all afternoon or hopping from one spa appointment to the next after a lingering four-course lunch in Palazzo Fiuggi’s stunning dining room. The Ranch is for those who are serious about restoring their health and challenging themselves both mentally and physically.
Anyone who has been to The Ranch Malibu knows that the days start early (5:30AM to be exact) and feature jam-packed schedules that include hiking, fitness, plant-based meals, and yes, daily massages as well as other spa treatments. However, alums of The Ranch will be pleased to find that this outpost has an Italian sensibility that may feel more approachable to guests at various points of their health and fitness journeys. You can take the program at your own pace and will have plenty of friendly, encouraging staffers to help you make the most of your week (or more) in Fiuggi – not to mention incredible company in the 20-odd other guests enduring the regimen with you all week long. You spend pretty much every waking moment with these people, so come ready to make new friends because this is a team effort.
When you’re not hiking through the Apennines, taking a fitness class, or trying to be the first in line for snack time, there is some room in the daily schedule for unwinding and restoration if you’re savvy. Guests of The Ranch Italy will be treated to daily massages each afternoon in the spa’s comfortably elegant medical centre, but there’s also an entire bottom floor dedicated to massage, hot-cold therapies, and ancient wellness rituals to help you emerge from the program as radiant as ever. Trust us, that cold plunge is a whole lot easier when you’re staring out at a postcard-perfect Italian town.
The 6,000 meter spa floor features killer views of Fiuggi’s old town at every turn, a sleek yet indulgent design, and, of course, access to the area’s healing waters to sip on or float in. There are dozens of wellness treatments available at Palazzo Fiuggi for whatever your needs are, as Dr. Barbara Sturm is the hotel’s cosmetic consultant for the beauty clinic, while a slew of MDs are on-hand for those seeking the latest medical treatments and diagnostic blood work to better understand their health.
If you’re looking to keep additional costs down, the Roman Spa is a complimentary perk of being a guest at Palazzo Fiuggi and The Ranch Italy which offers an infrared sauna, cold plunge pool, relaxation rooms, and much more – perfect for post-hike recovery. Be sure to research through all the available spa treatments – from Hammam rituals to thalassotherapy to Fir Detoxes – to determine what your priorities are for the week before arriving. However, you can easily change or add on to your appointments throughout the week, as the hotel feels pretty quiet.
The signature aspects of The Ranch Italy are: fitness, food, medical testing, and restorative care. The program begins Sunday with a medical visit where vital parameters are tested and an electrocardiogram is given. There’s also an option to undergo a urine test and blood work the following morning to further take charge of your health. A doctor will meet with each guest later in the week to chat through their results and medical histories to help them move forward upon arriving home.
After four-hour hikes each morning, guests are treated to 50-minute massages that can be tailored to their preferences, whether they are looking for a sports-style massage for recovery or a gentler approach to relax. Stretch classes are available twice daily as well, along with an afternoon fitness class to strengthen the upper body and core, leaving you noticeably stronger after just one week here. The Ranch also makes time on the schedule for afternoon naps, which are a must in our opinion for getting the most out of the program.
Palazzo Fiuggi offers two types of rooms and five types of suites, but guests of The Ranch Italy have their choice of staying in the Charme Room, Prestige Room, or Junior Suite for the duration of their stay. Each accommodation offers gorgeous views of the countryside, pool, or old town, some of which offer balconies or terraces. Bathrooms are outfitted in a sleek marble and the fridges are always filled with bottles of Fiuggi water – still and ‘frizzante’.
The accommodations boast a Parisian-meets-Italian vibe that is understatedly elegant. These light-drenched spaces invite you to curl up by the window, pick up a book, and enjoy the views, breeze, and songs of the birds each afternoon. However, if you’re looking to do the program with your partner, a friend, or another person you feel comfortable sharing a room with, it’s worth splurging on the Junior Suite to enjoy a bit more space.
If you’re not used to vegan cuisine, then you’ll definitely want to abide by The Ranch Italy’s 30-day preparation plan to help get you ready for a full week of veggies, quinoa, nuts, and more veggies. Every meal is taken in The Ranch Italy’s private dining room that offers spectacular views of Fiuggi and an endless supply of herbal tea (no caffeine is allowed during your stay).
The chef at The Ranch Malibu has overseen the creation of The Ranch Italy’s culinary program, but it does have an Italian twist. While you won’t be enjoying the pizza, pasta, and prosecco most dream of when visiting Italy, you will get a few plant-based takes on traditional classics, such as eggplant parmesan (with macadamia nut ricotta, of course) and veggie Bolognese over zucchini noodles, as the program is also gluten-free.
Guests are offered three meals each day, plus a morning snack to bring on daily hikes and an afternoon snack to enjoy between fitness classes. Some of the meals are a bit hit or miss in terms of flavour as the program is still in its early stages of development, but you’ll likely be surprised by how nourished you feel on a vegan, 1,400-calorie meal plan. However, don’t be afraid to speak up if you need more food to power through the day’s activities, and the team can also work with any allergies or other dietary restrictions to ensure you’re properly nourished each day.
There are numerous extras for enthusiasts of all kinds to enjoy as part of The Ranch Italy and Palazzo Fiuggi. The hotel is home to spectacular tennis and padel courts if you haven’t worn yourself out for the day, an immaculate gym with everything from Pilates reformers to free weights, a gorgeous library to catch up on a good book or work emails (we won’t tell!), three swimming pools, a historic golf course, and close proximity to the city itself for an escapist afternoon of shopping or sight-seeing. Whether you’re joining The Ranch Italy for a week or a month, there’s always something to do in your spare time, no matter your energy level.
FEATURE IMAGE: Credit: Tyson Sadlo/Herdrepresented