Beaches, lakes, countryside and mountains. Italy offers some of the most spectacular landscapes for the perfect luxury villa holiday.
Secluded spot in Umbria
Surrounded by rich countryside atop a valley in La Bruna, Chiesa del Carmine is a restored 11th century church and farmhouse with seven bedrooms spread over two floors, making it an ideal getaway for a family or a group of friends. It has all the charms of a rustic Italian property – exposed beams and stone brick walls are complemented with modern vintage furnishings. Guests can take in the landscaped gardens filled with olive trees, umbrella pines, lavender and rosemary from the two outdoor dining terraces. Below, the valley has a number of wonderful walks through farms and countryside but if you don’t feel like using your energy you can gaze at the vantage point on Monte Tezio from the comfort of the villa’s pool. Nearby is the city of Perugia with an ancient centre full of Roman and medieval monuments and for a fun-filled day, Lake Trasimeno offers sailing, wind-surfing and water-skiing.
Grandeur living on the lake
Brought to you by the Wow House Company, Villa Lucia certainly lives up to the company name. It has everything you will need for a special occasion, from a concierge service and private boat charter to massage treatments and an open bar. The Lake Como mansion, which is only accessible by boat, has an infinity pool, tennis courts, pool house with home cinema and gym as well as stunning alfresco dining areas. The property, close to the sleepy town of Cadenabbia di Griante, was built in the 19th century and was renovated in 2008 with attention paid to keeping the authenticity of the past while combining it with modern comfort and ultimate luxury. The alfresco areas make this a very beautiful environment in which to totally rest and rejuvenate yet there is much to explore in the area, and the best way is by bicycle or on foot to really take in the stunning backdrop. You can sample local foods in Cadenabbia and Tremezzo or take trips to the picturesque harbour at Menaggio or a ferry ride to Bellagio La Perla del Lago, which is the pearl of the lake and one of Europe’s most stunning areas.
Rural retreat in the hills
If the hillsides and olive groves of beautiful Tuscany are a draw for you, La Limonaia in the historic town of Lucca has an amazing setting. It is one of many large properties in the portfolio of Big Domain, which specialises in huge luxury holiday properties ideal for events as well as groups. This villa has the advantage of being secluded in its rural location yet close to Pisa, which is just 30 minutes away, for a day out at the beach and sightseeing. You can go off horse riding, cycling, visiting museums and galleries in Lucca or get away from it all in the tiny village of Aquileia, which has a bar and restaurant. You could do all of this but then the pull of Limonaia’s delicious-looking infinity pool and a good book may be all you need.
Off the tourist track
You can discover the untouched town of Bernaldo courtesy of the man that wrote The Godfather when you stay at Palazzo Margherita. The creation of the boutique hotel was a labour of love for Francis Ford Coppola after he bought it following a visit to his family’s hometown 10 years ago. He enlisted legendary French interior designer Jacques Grange – Coppola loved the work the Frenchman did on Yves Saint Laurent’s Moroccan home – and went about painstakingly creating the palatial feel it has today, and the whole Coppola family can be thanked for that as their creativity and ideas were very much a part of the process too. For the film director, the palazzo – complete with marble floors, Moroccan and baroque-style ceiling frescos – is a dream come true. Part of the vision was to introduce the world to Bernaldo, as the small hilltop town is relatively unknown to tourists. Situated in the province of Matera, which is famous for its ancient cave dwellings, historic houses and unspoiled villages, it is as charming as it is welcoming and just 20 minutes from numerous pristine, white-sand beaches.