Italy

Italy is Europe’s greatest masterpiece. A perfect blend of culture, cuisine and captivating landscapes, this elegant destination is the perfect choice for a luxury villa holiday. Italy is divided into 20 regions, each of which is a unique and stunning destination by itself.

Starting at the north where Italy meets Switzerland and Austria, we have a spectacular landscape of jagged mountains and azure lakes. Lake Como is perhaps the most refined of Italy’s great lakes, home to villas owned by the rich and famous and a scattering of authentic lakeside villages.

Southwards we have the small but spectacular region of Liguria – one of Italy’s most famous coastlines and home to sandy beaches and majestic clifftops. Look out for the bustling port city of Genoa, the five hilltop towns of the Cinque Terre, and the glamorous seaside resort of Portofino, where a pretty jumble of pastel-coloured houses shelter designer shops and fine-dining restaurants.

Below this is Tuscany – arguably Italy’s most beautiful and renowned region. Home to Renaissance gem Florence, the cultural cities of Pisa and Siena and countless medieval hilltop towns surrounded by rolling vineyard-clad hills, this is Italy at its best. Many of the cities and towns can be reached within an easy drive of Florence, making the city a perfect location for an Italian villa holiday.

Tuscany borders Umbria – the heart of Italy, known for its olive oil and wine-producing farmsteads. Much like Tuscany, Umbria boasts medieval hilltop towns surrounded by green hills, huge swathes of unspoilt countryside, and the remarkable city of Perugia. Umbria makes a great choice for those who have already been to Tuscany and want something new but similar.

Further south is Lazio – Italy’s capital region and home to the Eternal City of Rome. There are also sandy beaches, huge unspoilt landscapes of forest and grasslands, and beautiful lakes to rival those in the north, but Rome is the real draw. With unparalleled Roman architecture, the grand Trevi Fountain and Vatican City, it’s a world-famous destination that’s sure to impress.

Another stand-out region is Campania – a coast like no other. With ancient history in world-famous Pompeii, upscale shopping and dining in Naples and Sorrento and the breath-taking scenery of the Amalfi Coast, Campania is perfect for a luxe villa escape. Don’t miss incredible Capri – just an hour by hydrofoil from Naples. This petite island offers designer shopping in Via Camerelle, magnificent views from the Monte Solaro chairlift and spectacular fine dining.

East of Campania is Puglia, another popular region of Italy. Similar to Tuscany, Puglia boasts ancient hilltop towns rising amid gently hilly countryside, but it’s less explored and the capital Lecce is often considered one of Italy’s most historically important. Below Puglia is Basilicata, an even more undiscovered slice of Italy. Here dramatic hillsides give way to ancient forests, and hilltop city Matera attracts the biggest crowds.

Right at the bottom of Italy’s boot is Sicily – an island that’s just a few miles from the mainland region of Calabria. Offering offers a heady mix of rugged mountains, azure waters, and stunning ancient history, Sicily is a region like no other. Hilltop Taormina, with its Roman amphitheatre and view to Mt Etna, is the most popular spot, but Palermo, Ragusa, and Agrigento are well worth visiting. This island of natural beauty is great for hiking and is often considered Italy ‘as it was’.

Last up is Sardinia – one of the Mediterranean’s largest islands and a destination of unrivalled beauty. The south coast of Sardinia is closer to Africa than the Italian mainland, and the beaches show it – with bright white sand and endless blue waters. In this under-populated slice of Sardinia, Cagliari is the main hub, and the southerly beaches around Chia and Pula are some of the best in Europe. Head to the island’s north and there’s a decided change. Small but glitzy resort appear, including famous Porto Cervo, Santa Teresa Gallura, and Olbia. The north is more popular thanks to these glamorous hideouts but still offers great beaches and countryside.

Capital: Rome
Flying time: 2 hours 30 (Rome)
Language: Italian
Country Size: 116,347 mi²
Time difference: Winter + 1 hour / Summer 0 hours
Currency: Euros
Driving: Right hand side of the road
Entry requirements: British citizens do not require a visa. You will require a valid passport with 6 months validity.