Ever since I lived in Nashville, going back has felt like going home. What I didn’t expect when I visited The Joseph Nashville, a Luxury Collection Hotel that opened downtown last August, was that going home could feel so refined.
The Joseph is owned by the Pizzutis, a family known worldwide for their contemporary art collection. They believe that art should be integrated with everyday life rather than hidden away in galleries, an ethos I can get behind. This philosophy was apparent at The Joseph from the second I pulled up.
Even valet parking was an invitation to immerse myself in art. As my husband pulled bags from the car, I was captivated by living green walls, which display 7,000 plants around the building in the country’s largest plant-wall system, and a digital art installation by Patricia Dominquez in the porte-cochère. Wandering into the lobby, my eyes darted to a larger-than-life painting by Jackie Saccoccio that seemed to transform with each day’s light.
After traveling through Italy in 2017 and 2019, smitten with the country, I joked that I must’ve been Italian in a past life. Maybe that’s why I was so delighted by the shakeratos and spritzes available at the bar, where I could lose myself in The Joseph’s aesthetic—think mid-century Italian design meets hand-cut marble meets contemporary art. But Nashville is known for a style all its own, so The Joseph blends its Italian touches with distinctly local flair. The front desk is wrapped in hand-tooled leather by bootmaker Lucchese; its design features the path of the monarch butterfly and calls attention to Nashville’s famous footwear. The rugs are a nod to nudie suits worn by Dolly Parton herself, and repurposed guitar picks are there if you know where to look.
Our first evening was spent in the hands of James Beard Award–winner and Michelin-starred chef Tony Mantuano and his wife, Cathy, at Yolan, The Joseph’s signature restaurant. Widely adored for their work at Chicago’s Spiaggia, the Mantuanos are determined to bring high-end Italian cuisine to Nashville—and in my opinion, they are succeeding.
At Yolan, I was taken with each course, but particularly enchanted by Chef Mantuano’s linguine fra diavolo and risotto with uni, crab, and chive. Our meal was punctuated by Italian wines from Cathy’s beverage program, and when I asked for a digestivo after the meal, my request was met with a stunning list of amari.
When rain drenched the city on Saturday, I tucked myself away at Rose, a luxury spa on The Joseph’s 21st floor. It felt like a refuge in the sky and melted a year’s worth of pandemic tension away. After settling into a level of relaxation I’d nearly forgotten, my husband and I visited Denim, the hotel’s rooftop bar. From there we enjoyed quiet, sophisticated views of the Cumberland River paired with a wood-fired pizza and Carciofi Negroni, my new favorite drink.
Nashville and Italy are two of the friendliest places I’ve been, so it makes sense that the warm and bolstering welcome I received at The Joseph brought both cultures to life. Every touch—and bite—reminded me that if we pay attention, art pulses through the fabric of our existence. Here, I didn’t have to seek it out.
The Joseph, 401 Korean Veterans Blvd, Nashville. (615) 248-1990, thejosephnashville.com
Explore Nashville’s Art Scene
Begin your day at The Frist Art Museum, a cultural hub bringing major exhibitions to town. Located in a striking art deco building from 1934, The Frist should not be missed. Purchase timed tickets in advance. 919 Broadway. (615) 244-3340, fristartmuseum.org
Hop over to Wedgewood-Houston, a neighborhood five minutes away that’s known for its monthly art crawl. First things first: Refuel at Dozen Bakery. Have a sandwich––or pie––for lunch and take a box of cookies to go. 516 Hagan St. (615) 712-8150, dozen-nashville.com
Venture further into Nashville’s art scene at Zeitgeist, a contemporary gallery right next door. Book your appointment ahead to enjoy excellent curation of emerging and established artists. 516 Hagan St. (615) 256-4805, zeitgeist-art.com
Conclude your tour at David Lusk Gallery, a leading regional venue whose collections never disappoint. 516 Hagan St. (615) 780-9990, davidluskgallery.com
Enjoy a pre-dinner refreshment at nearby Diskin Cider or Flamingo Cocktail Club, depending on your mood. 1235 Martin St. (615) 248-8000, diskincider.com; 509 Houston St. (786) 942-8279, flamingococktailclub.com