There really is no other destination quite like Italy. Delicious food, rich history, celebrated culture, legendary ambiance, beautiful landscapes…there are just so many reasons to visit. And like every other part of this gorgeous country, luxury villa rentals in Italy also have their own distinct charm, inescapable beauty, and fascinating history.
That said, Italy is also home to many diverse landscapes, history, and even dialects, so the first step to renting a villa in Italy is choosing where you want to visit. For example, if you love mountain views and picturesque lakes, then it's hard to beat Lake Como. If you dream of admiring Medieval and Renaissance architecture and masterpieces by day and retreating to a quant countryside by night, then Tuscany is a great choice. And if you prefer to be seaside, then the Amalfi Coast, Sicily, and Puglia are all beautiful and full of rich history as well.
No matter where you choose, though, you'll be able to find an Italian luxury villa rental that can accommodate groups of all sizes, and that usually has its own fascinating history and beautiful works of art.
Hotels in Italy tend to be smaller affairs, and while they may work for a couple traveling around the country, they're often too small and cramped for groups.
Instead, an Italian villa gives you the space you need, but that's just the start. They're also often located in the countryside or by the sea in authentic areas away from the tourist zones. Italian villas are also often architecturally stunning, with rich, elaborate facades, as well as interior designs and décors befitting a modern palazzo. They also often feature private pools and stunning views, making them the perfect haven if you're visiting a tourist-heavy destination, as well as a great way to experience an Italy that is more off the beaten path.
In short, Italian luxury villas allow you to create the most memorable, authentic Italian experience possible, especially if you're traveling with a group.
From restored farmhouses to former palaces, luxury villas in Italy can be found in all sizes. And while the size of your party will make a big impact on what you decide to rent, other considerations should include how close you want to be to a neighboring city, whether you prefer a more modern or rustic feel, and your travel dates.
If you want to book for high season, then it's suggested that you book at a year or so in advance, while shoulder season bookings should also be done at least 3-6 months in advance (though you can always try your luck if you're past this window).
From there, choosing which villa is right for you will depend on if you're traveling with children (and, if so, their ages), if you prefer a more modern or historic villa, and if you'd like the villa to be staffed or not.
With its rich history and culture, amazing food, and a surprising number of outdoor activities, Italy is one of the world's top destinations for family vacations. From piazzas where the kids can run around to beautiful beaches that the whole family can enjoy, this country has so much variety that there's sure to be a spot and a villa that your family will love. Many luxuries Italian villas are perfectly suited for families, with bedrooms that have two twin beds, large dining areas, private pools, and so much more. Here are a few of our guests' favorites:
Leila: Just 25 minutes from Florence, this beautiful Tuscan villa has the right mix of elegance, space, and activities that make it perfect for families, especially with young children. While some Italian villas can have a bit too many antiques for the kids to play, Leila strikes the right balance between beauty and livability. Families are also sure to love the large private pool, lush garden, and the bocce ball and tennis courts. Babysitting services can also be arranged by the villa, allowing the adults to explore Florence's famous museums a little more, or even experience its great nightlife.
Villa Lennox: With a typical Caprese style, Villa Lennox is a breathtaking 18th Century villa that was itself a family home, albeit one richly and ornately decorated with a wealth of period art. The garden is especially magnificent and features well over a century's worth of hard work and passion. It's the largest garden in Capri and features a neo -Greek temple and even a Napoleonic Fort at its top. Between that and the large private pool, families will absolutely adore discovering the history and features of this grand estate. The interior evokes a similar sense of wonder, with timeless paintings, rich tilework, and magnificent frescos all throughout. It truly is one of Capri's best rental properties.
Vista Lago: Like Leila, Vista Lago, set within Lake Como, has a great blend of practicality and opulence that makes it perfect for families. It includes the historic paintings and antique furnishings you want to see in an Italian villa, as well as all the modern amenities needed to ensure that your family is comfortable throughout their stay. Its location on the westside of Lake Como is also perfect for enjoying the lake and the surrounding town, while kids and adults alike are sure to love its large pool and its views of nearby Bellagio and Nesso.
Many villas in Italy include a full staff, which often includes housekeeping, butler service, and chef service. As you can imagine, the chef service is often second to none, made all the better by the personalized menu that your chef can deliver. You can then have your meals served in the terrace or in the dining room based on your preference; all you do is relax and enjoy the splendor of your surroundings, making for a true luxury villa experience. A few of our favorites include:
Amarika: Located just north of Siena, one of the most beautiful medieval towns in Italy, lies this beautiful, ivy-adorned Tuscan mansion. Set in one of the most charming towns in Chianti, Amarika evokes the kind of elegant-yet-rustic splendor that befits a patrician countryside manor. It features modern amenities, beautiful antiques, and luxury accoutrements like chandeliered ceilings, elaborate floor tiles, and a large pool. Staff include on-site housekeeping, gardening, and pool maintenance, and on-site chef service can also be arranged.
Aurora: One of the few remaining villas that have maintained the Neapolitan Caprisian style of the 17th Century, Aurora has been painstakingly restored by its attentive and dedicated owner. The centuries of passion and care that went into this place can be seen all throughout, from the multitude of antiques and rich textures that adorn the interior, to the themed bedrooms with their own individual themed bathrooms, through to the stunningly lush outdoor pool and garden area, replete with a breathtaking assortment of local flowers and plants. Staff includes cooks, cook assistants, and waiter, as well as maid service and daily garden and pool maintenance. This is truly one of the best ways to experience the magic of Capri.
Serena: With its gorgeous lakefront location along the stunning Lake Como, Serena is a perfect choice for groups that want a balance of historic charm and lakeside exuberance. Its interior is carefully outfitted with beautiful antiques and artwork, while its exterior features a lovely pool and lounging area facing the majestic Alpine foothills. The villa also has its own private dock and includes access to a complementary speedboat to really get the best of the lake. Staff includes housekeeping, garden and pool maintenance, butler, and chef service.
The etymology of the word villa dates to the Italian (and before that, Latin) word for country house. When you also consider Italy's celebrated reputation for beautiful art and architecture throughout the ages, then it's no surprise that Italy is home to some of the most cherished and lovingly preserved historic villas in the world. Here are a few great examples:
Galeazzo: Galeazzo is a 17th century palazzo set on the shores of Lake Como that is simply magnificent. The exterior was constructed in a rich Classical style and features an ornate façade surrounded by lush gardens, as well as a pool area with lovely alpine views. The interior of the main body, meanwhile, is a living testament to art and beauty, with amazing frescos, detailed sculptures and engravings, and breathtaking paintings all throughout. It really is like staying in a museum, in the best possible way.
Machiavelli: As the name implies, this historic 15th century Italian villa just outside Florence in the Chianti region was once owned by famed politician and author Niccolò Machiavelli. It is earnestly opulent, with luxuriant textures and splendid artwork all throughout, as well as a massive wine cellar underneath. This villa is also particularly well-suited for special events like weddings, as the neighboring villa can also be rented, while its rich history will be sure to get the guests talking.
Altera: A Sicilian noble house dating back to the year 1200, Altera is a lovingly restored Italian historic villa that maintains much of its ancient magnificence, while also offering many modern amenities. The façade is particularly historic and evokes scenes of medieval Sicily, and it is surrounded by what has been recognized as one of the most beautiful gardens in Italy. Just look at the pictures – they are simply breathtaking.
Italy is a member of the European Union and falls within the Schengen Area, so you'll only need to show your passport once as you enter the zone if you're coming in from outside. Visitors from the US and Canada only need an up-to-date passport to enter if their trips are less than 90 days.
Italy has several major international airports, including the Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport in Rome, the Malpensa International Airport in Milan, and Marco Polo Airport in Venice.
The country itself is also connected by high-speed rail, with one line connecting Turin to Salerno and running through Milan, Bologna, Florence, Rome, and Naples, and the second running from Turin to Venice through Milan. The trains are operated by Trenitalia and are very easy and comfortable to use.
Many travellers also choose to rent a car in Italy. While navigating certain cities by car can be tricky due to the narrow roads and wealth of pedestrians, driving from city to city is relatively straightforward and, for many, an experience all on its own.
If you're renting a villa with Rental Escapes, then your concierge will be happy to help with airport transfers, train tickets, private drivers, rental cars, and more.
Choosing the best time to visit Italy really depends on your travel preferences.
High season in Italy runs from June-September, which is when you'll see the driest, sunniest weather. Everything will be open and running at full capacity, but there will also be large crowds of tourists.
For this reason, shoulder season, from April-June and September-November, is a favorite of many, as it still features great temperatures, with less crowds and lower prices.
That said, those looking for rich cultural experiences and the chance to experience Italy like a local will also appreciate traveling during the low season in the winter. While the weather may be colder, it is still quite temperate, especially in the south, while the north sees the opening of ski slopes in the Dolomites and the Alps.
Visit the museums: Italy is home to some of the best museums in the world. Whether it's large, world-renowned affairs like the Vatican Museum in Rome or smaller local offerings, be prepared to experience much of Italy's celebrated history and culture firsthand. From Roman relics to Renaissance paintings and sculptures, there is no shortage of fascinating beauty to appreciate. To save on time and line ups, be sure to book your tickets online whenever possible.
Admire the architecture: Italy's towns are sights to behold, with rich facades and ornate décor being the norm. While the more famous piazzas of cities like Florence and Venice are always must-sees, what's even more impressive is the way this beautiful architecture can be found tucked away even behind some of the country's most quiet streets. It gives these towns a sense of magic that is uniquely Italian, and which must be experienced.
Go on a gastronomic tour: Italy is home to some of the best wines, cheeses, and meats in the world, all of which are made in its famed countryside. Depending on where you're staying, you likely won't be too far from a vineyard, olive oil mill, ham producer, or cheese maker that has been honing a craft passed down through generations. Visiting these sites is always a rewarding – and delicious – experience.
Italy has one of the most celebrated food cultures in the world, and with good reason. There is a big focus on using fresh, in-season ingredients here, prepared with care and respect. Considering Italian chefs have access to some of the best ingredients in the world, this often yields world-class cuisine. This is especially true at dinner time - whether it's traditional fare or elevated and innovative takes on these classics, dinner is a big deal in Italy and where you'll see many chefs flex their culinary muscles. Bring an appetite and enjoy.
While the weather varies significantly by region, in general Italy enjoys a warm Mediterranean climate characterized by short, cool winters and long, hot summers. The further south you go, the warmer it becomes, though coastal towns benefit from a cooling breeze. Similarly, elevated regions in the north, especially by the Alpine foothills, tend to have a cooler climate. Average winter temperatures vary from 0°C (32°F) in the Alps to 12°C (54°F) in Sicily, while summer temperatures range from 20°C-30°C (68°F-86°F) in north and central Italy to 23°C-35°C (74°F-95°F) in the south.
If you're planning a trip to Italy, Rental Escapes can elevate your Italian villa rental into a true luxury experience. Our portfolio includes the finest properties in Italy, including staffed, historic, and family options, and our reservation experts work directly with you to find the best villa for your group. Your concierge then personalizes the trip to create the ultimate Italian villa experience. Contact us today to learn more about our luxury villa rentals in Italy and to start planning your next dream holiday!