If you’ve been fantasizing about stealing away to the Italian countryside for a sybaritic taste of la dolce vita, but don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place. From Lake Como to Sicily, we rounded up nine of the peninsula’s most stunning hotel villas fit for royalty—in some cases, literally.
Villa Padronale at Borgo Egnazia, Puglia
When fashionable Romans and Milanese decamp to the seaside for summer, they often go to Puglia, Italy’s laid-back beach destination on the Adriatic coast. Their hotel of choice? The eye-popping Borgo Egnazia, whose series of sandstone buildings blend in perfectly with Puglia’s historic whitewashed villages. Of the resort’s 29 standalone villas, the Villa Padronale is the standout. The three-story building comes with a living room, dining room, kitchen, and seven bedrooms, each with its own bathroom made from local Ostuni stone. Take a dip in the pool, then relax in your private garden, which is planted with olive trees, jasmine, prickly pear, and lemon trees.
Acacia Villa at Verdura Resort, a Rocco Forte Hotel, Sicily
A peaceful haven on Sicily’s western coast, Verdura is all about the over-the-top amenities, from a 196-foot infinity pool and three golf courses to six tennis courts, a world-class spa, four restaurants, and five bars—not to mention a fully equipped kitchen should you decide to cook (or hire a Sicilian chef) for your villa. The slick 3,000-square-foot Acacia Villa designed by Olga Polizzi is the largest accommodation, with three spacious terraces, a Jacuzzi, private pool, large dining area, and space to sleep up to nine people. Bonus: villa guests get access to a local guide who can arrange exclusive experiences, like a private vineyard tour or special access to a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Villa Agresto at Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco, Tuscany
Live like fashion royalty at this Tuscan estate owned by the Ferragamo family. The newest accommodation, the five-bedroom Villa Agresto, was designed by Ferragamo's wife Chiara and her interior decorator friend Teresa Bürgisser Sancristoforo. The place is the epitome of farmhouse chic, with bookcases from Florence’s archeological museum, 19th-century desks in the library and master bedroom, and ancient stone fireplaces. On sunny days, go for a walk through the surrounding olive trees and vineyard or take in panoramic views of the Tuscan hills from the infinity pool.
Hotel Pitrizza, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Sardinia
Join Italy’s jet set on Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast in Italian), a Mediterranean oasis that has long lured well-to-do Italians for long summer vacations. The Hotel Pitrizza offers all the comforts of home (including lots of cushy sofas and armchairs, spacious patios, and free WiFi) in addition to a few special perks, like butler service and access to private beaches. There are 14 villas to choose from, each with a private pool and views of the sea.
Castello di Casole, a Timbers Resort, Tuscany
Guests follow a cypress-lined alley as they approach this award-winning hotel, a restored 10th-century castle halfway between Florence and Siena. Its wealth of villas and farmhouses feature original stone walls and a wood-burning oven or fireplace, while others have an infinity pool. Whichever one you choose, you can’t go wrong. Take advantage of the surroundings by participating in activities like horseback riding, visiting an organic farm, or participating in a lavender workshop or olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting.
Villa Sola Cabiati at Grand Hotel Tremezzo, Lake Como
As if this opulent grand dame wasn’t luxurious enough, the lakefront resort has just made its Villa Sola Cabiati available to rent for the first time. Originally the 18th-century summer home of Milan’s noble Serbelloni family, the six-bedroom lakeside villa is awash with museum-worthy treasures, from frescoes and tapestries to majolica and even the bed Napoleon once slept in. After zipping around the lake in the hotel’s plush private speedboat à la George Clooney, savor a leisurely lunch or romantic dinner in the gardens.
Casa dell’Unicorno at Relais Borgo Santo Pietro, Tuscany
It's all about slowing down at this charming resort, which occupies a 13th-century stone villa in the hills of Tuscany. The Casa dell’Unicorno is the ultimate indulgence—a luxurious private villa with thick velvet curtains and dripping chandeliers. If the neutral tones of beige and pale blue don’t lull you into a state of relaxation, a bath in the clawfoot tub surely will. There's also a working fireplace that keeps the villa cozy in the winter months; in warmer weather, you can enjoy a stroll through the Mediterranean gardens with a glass of Prosecco in hand.
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Casale i Bianchi at Toscana Resort Castelfalfi, Tuscany
One look at the view from the top of this massive hilltop resort in rural Tuscany and you might never want to leave. The term "resort" is actually a bit of a misnomer—more of a community, the area comprises a new five-star hotel called Il Castelfalfi, a 30-room boutique hotel (la Tabaccaia), a nature preserve, olive grove, vineyards, 27-hole golf course, swimming pools, restaurants, shops, and new and renovated villas spread out over 2,500 acres of countryside. Casale i Bianchi is the villa to request: the centuries-old farmhouse is the epitome of Tuscan country living, with five bedrooms fit to house the whole family. After a dip in the pool, cook up a big meal in your kitchen and dine alfresco at the farmhouse table—then work off all that pasta in the gym.
Villa Cima at Villa d'Este, Lake Como
A member of Leading Hotels of the World, this Renaissance palace is steeped in history, which is palpable from the moment you step foot on the grounds. The resort is made up of two historic villas—one dating back to the 16th century, the other built for a queen of England. Rooms and suites are decked out in silk brocades with oil paintings, sculptures, and other period décor, but the crowning jewel is the Villa Cima. The 7,000-square-foot standalone villa overlooks Lake Como, with four bedrooms, marble bathrooms, a living room with a terrace, dining room, kitchen, and laundry room spread out over three floors.