In Conversation With
Marie-Louise Scio at the Il Pellicano pool. Photo by Juergen Teller.
Marie-Louise Scio is CEO and creative director of the world's chicest hotel group: Pellicano Hotels. Each of Pellicano's three venues has a rich history of its own. Mezzatorre, a 16th century watchtower that looks over a private bay in the Gulf of Naples, was once the home of film director Luchino Visconti. La Posta Vecchia was once a seaside resort favoured by Roman imperators, and was later home to the billionaire John Paul Getty who filled it with Italian art treasures.
Il Pellicano, a cliff-side resort on the coastline of Porto Ercole in Italy whose guest-book contains the names of legends like Sophia Loren and Jackie Onassis, is arguably the most renowned of the three, immortalised by Jeurgen Teller for his oft-referenced photo book Eating at Hotel Il Pellicano in 2013. Scio is responsible for the vision of each of these landmarks, and has become an icon of style herself. We spoke with her about an enviable life by the sea.
Words: Zac Bayly.
Do you have a favourite memory growing up at Il Pellicano?
Together with my brothers we tried to save some lobsters — we took them from the tank and threw them in the pool, just before the beginning of a night party at Il Pellicano. We were extremely proud, but our parents were not so happy!
What aspect of your job brings you the most happiness or stimulation, and why?
Anything that feeds my curiosity and stimulates my creativity. Travel is one of them.
'Speedboat Landing' at Il Pellicano, 1973 by Slim Aarons.
'Hotel Il Pellicano', 2015 by Stephen Ringer.
What does your position as CEO and creative director look like day-to-day?
There is never a day like the other and never a dull moment. I am very busy and go from micro to macro tasks a lot.
What are the perks of your position?
I just feel very grateful and lucky in general.
And what are the less glamorous day-to-day things that people might not be aware of?
All the hard work that goes behind making everything seem easy.
Marie-Louise Scio on the steps of Il Pellicano. Photo by Dylan Don.
Il Pellicano has been immortalised by the photography of legends such as Juergen Teller, Slim Aarons and John Swope. If you could pick a 4th photographer to document the hotel in a book, who would you choose?
Why do you think Il Pellicano attracts photographers in the way that it does?
It is a highly photogenic hotel. And it’s magic.
Marie-Louise's Father, Roberto Scio. Photo by Dylan Don.
You’ve lived in many idyllic oceanside locations. How do you think this has shaped your personality?
Living in Italy in general has shaped my personality and most importantly, it has shaped my eye. We are surrounded by beauty in this country — the architecture, shapes, colours — and it is very formative living here. We all have certain senses that are more heightened than others, but I think my eye really developed because of my surroundings.
What importance does the sea play in your life?
It's very important. I spend a lot of time by the sea. It makes me happy. Coastal environments have been shown to improve our health in both body and mind!
La Mezzatorre's ocean-view in Ischia.
What is the key is to a great vacation?
You are with friends and the sun is setting over the ocean, what is your drink of choice?
Without naming any names, what is the worst hotel experience you have had, as a guest?
Staying in a luxury hotel and finding the same products in the minibar as the ones you find at the Autogrill!
La Posta Vecchia is renowned for its incredible art collection. If price was no object, what would be the next piece you would add to the collection?
A Bernini sculpture.
The indoor pool at La Posta Vecchia. Photo by Marina Cacciapuoti.
What is one hidden gem someone holidaying in your hometown of Rome must visit?
Anything Bernini! The Borghese Gallery is probably the best place to appreciate Bernini's talent and genius and has one of the greatest collection of the artist.
The Room of the Emperors at the Borghese Gallery. Photo by Hen Magonza.
Do you have a style icon?
Marie-Louise's style icon Katharine Hepburn photographed the 1950s.
Past or present, what three guests would you have at your dream dinner party?
Amelia Earhart, Albert Einstein and Syd Barrett.