What is it about Italy that makes us dream? There’s a part of all of us that wishes we were eating pasta and gelato and drinking wine on a balcony in Rome every night, but for most of us, that can only happen on vacation. While you count down the days until the next time you get to visit Italy, we’d like to bring you on a journey through five different regions, and to make life even easier, we’ve chose the perfect vacation villa in each location.
Villa Dorata, Amalfi Coast
Wellness and indulgence collide at a classy and colorful villa off the Amalfi Coast in Positano. Take care and be taken care of with so many different feel-good options. If you’re looking for an effortless sweat, that can be had in the sauna or private spa with Turkish steam bath. For one of the best exercises you can ask for, swim ‘laps’ in the indoor pool with resistance swimming so you stay in place but simulate the effect of laps. And to simply relax, ease into the hot tub or lay out on the massage table and drift off to your happy place, even if physically, you’re already there. You’ll be taken care of immediately upon arrival, with a three-course welcome dinner for the ages, daily continental breakfast, and eight-hour-a-day chef on demand. Request an old-style Italian pie out of one of two pizza ovens, or pick fruit off the surrounding lemon and orange trees for a healthy snack. If you have the itch, each stay at Dorata includes a complimentary Italian cooking class. There are certainly a few pinch-me moments to be had here; just remember they’re real!
See Villa Dorata
Villa Concetta, Lake Como
Originally built in 1911 (and reportedly once a vacation home for Winston Churchill), the owners of Concetta found it in a state of disrepair in the early 1990s, and proceeded to buy it and turn it into the palace it is today. There’s a fun game to be played at Concetta – where you take in the view from each of the villa’s sides, and try (we repeat: try) to determine which is your favorite. On one side, it’s the historic S. Sisinnio church depicted in one of Churchill’s paintings. To another side, it’s the beautiful Lago di Como. Another side features a view of the Swiss Alps just over the border to Como’s northwest. Villa Concetta has old-world charm brought about by a library, wine cellar, and the all-important pizza oven. Plus the original marble and terracotta floors, doors, ironworks, and decorations survived the 2011 restoration. And the large stone that welcomes you out front of the main gate? That has a story behind it too. The perfect Italian lakeside villa can be found at Lake Como.
See Villa Concetta
Borgo Santo Pietro, Tuscany
Borgo Santo Pietro is more of a way of life than an actual place. Once a resting place for pilgrims heading to Rome, the award-winning home is situated on a 100-acre estate that includes a farm and culinary gardens, which inspire its farm-to-table dining philosophy; Meo Modo by Andrea Mattei is the estate’s very own Michelin-star restaurant with a commitment to using fresh vegetables and produce. Though the pilgrims wouldn’t recognize it today, the result of its 2001 acquisition and restoration is a Tuscan sanctuary with everything you’d ever need right there in front of you. At the heart of the estate is a 13th century countryside castle-esque villa where one could never grow tired. A playground for the kids, tennis and basketball courts, bocce with the locals, a ping pong table, and a trampoline – it’s all in a day’s fun. But wait, there’s more. Activities that can be booked include art lessons with the artist in residence, wine tastings with the in-house sommelier, cooking classes with the chef, and horseback excursions through the stunning surrounding scenery.
See Borgo Santo Pietro
Villa Fashion, Sardinia
On the northeast coast of Sardinia, this one-of-a-kind seaside retreat has royal roots. Porto Cervo is the summer outpost of the region of Arzachena. The region was created by Prince Karim Aga Khan along with investors in the late 1950s, and today its resident population is a not-so-whopping 421. Among the most expensive regions in Europe, PC was built for luxury tourism, and among its finest properties is Villa Fashion. From the rooftop terrace of this low-rise villa, you’ll be soaking in the island sun and oceanfront views. After being served at the outdoor bar and taking advantage of chef service, you can steal away into one of the property’s secluded nooks, shielded by lush vegetation, and enjoy privacy and ocean views. At Villa Fashion, there’s no such thing as an ‘average’ vacation.
See Villa Fashion
Torre Bisenzio, Umbria
If you’re looking for gorgeous countryside views, you’ve come to the right place. As Umbria is the only region of Italy that doesn’t sit along the coastline, fields, hills, and valleys constitute your views in Tuscany’s less renowned but equally beautiful neighbor. Experience rural Italian life on a 440-acre farm at Torre Bisenzio; with few other homes in sight, laid-back privacy is all yours. Several options for entertainment are at your disposal to keep you occupied, like a billiards room and home theater, while families are easily accommodated with a baby crib and high chair. To top your Italian vacation the right way, you’ll need to arrange a game of bocce followed by a sit-down meal cooked in the pizza oven. Not only is it one of our most Instagrammable villas, history buffs will appreciate that the property’s tower dates to the 13th century, and was a customs post on the Tuscany-Umbria border. Not to be left out, the rest of the buildings on the site date as far back as the 17th century.
See Torre Bisenzio