There is something indescribably romantic about Italy – whether it’s the lazy, hazy days spent soaking up the sunshine, or the long, leisurely strolls before sitting down to an alfresco dinner, time seems to move more slowly here.
If you’re looking to experience la dolce vita in Italy, our friends at SLH have handpicked some amazing villas in Italy that put the quintessential Italian escape at your feet.
1. Villa Franca, Positano
With an enviable spot amid Positano’s old streets, yet moments from the shore, Villa Franca is a peaceful haven overlooking the enchanting Amalfi Coast. Once a private home created to celebrate its sublime setting, Villa Franca is still run by the same family who have filled its whitewashed walls with contemporary works of art and unique pieces by designer names. This hilltop retreat offers a ‘Dolce Vita Driving Experience’ for guests looking to relive the region’s Hollywood heyday by getting behind the wheel of a vintage car and taking one of the world’s most scenic routes.
Learn more about Villa Franca
2. Villa La Madonna, Piedmont
Verdant hills, vineyards, and terracotta roofs – the Bormida Valley in Piedmont is a timeless spot where life slows down, and overlooking this sleepy valley is Villa La Madonna. Each aspect of the hotel makes the most of its oil painting-worthy location, from the market-fresh ingredients in the kitchen to the swimming pool, fringed by vines. The 18 restful rooms are flooded with natural light and brimming with hand-picked furniture infused with the owners’ Scandinavian background.
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3. Castello di Reschio, Umbria
Huddled amidst rolling green hills lined with cypress trees, Castello di Reschio is a 1,000-year-old castle which has been meticulously restored and stylishly reimagined by architect Count Benedikt Bolza and his B.B. for Reschio team into several bespoke farmhouses across a beautiful 1,500-hectare landscape. Renaissance artist-approved views filter through shuttered windows providing plenty of natural inspiration for creatives, while sun seekers can lie beside a rustic outdoor pool overlooked by Il Torrino, the castle’s original watchtower turned trendy pool bar.
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4. La Villa del Re, Sardinia
Striking the perfect balance between an exclusive adults-only resort and a welcoming Sardinian home, the atmosphere at La Villa del Re is intimate and laid-back. The 48 rooms are housed within terracotta orange walls, framed by palms and fragrant cacti – all except the converted 1950s boathouse, which is set apart from the main building on the sea front. Outside, an infinity pool merges with the horizon, while down on the private beach, refreshments are brought straight to stylish sun loungers to be sipped to the sound of waves lapping the sugar-white shore.
Learn more about La Villa del Re
5. Vista Palazzo Lago di Como, Lake Como
The Italian Lakes are home to some of Italy’s most beloved scenery, and have long drawn an A-List crowd to their head-over-heels romantic landscape. With the city at its back and Lake Como at its door, Vista Palazzo Lago di Como is the perfect anchor point to explore the area. The apricot-coloured façade with romantic balustrades gives way to the kind of marble bathrooms you only find in Italy. The clue’s in the name here, this ritzy retreat lets the views do the talking, particularly from its two outdoor rooftop terraces.
Learn more at Vista Palazzo Lago di Como
6. Hotel Vilòn, Rome
A tucked-away oasis in the heart of Rome, Hotel Vilòn offers the best of both worlds – a few streets away from world-famous sights, including the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps. The original mansion house windows flood the rooms with light, some of which come with private balconies overlooking the celebrated Borghese ‘secret gardens’. It always seems to be coffee or cocktail hour out on the sun-soaked courtyard, with views over the palazzo’s landscaped lawns, classical columns and majestic statues.
Learn more about Hotel Vilòn
7. Ca’ Sagredo Hotel, Venice
Amore is in the air at Ca’ Sagredo, a heart-throbbingly beautiful 15th-century palace which sits proudly between Ca’ d’Oro and the Rialto Bridge on the spectacular Grand Canal. There are alluring artworks at every turn within the hotel walls, from 18th-century stuccoed ceilings, and breath-taking bas reliefs to elaborately painted wall friezes. Ca’ Sagredo’s vintage yacht experience takes guests on a full-day tour around Venice’s most fascinating islands, including Sant’Erasmo, Burano, and Poveglia for off-shore swimming and sunbathing.
Learn more at Ca’ Sagredo
The full version of this article first appeared on Small Luxury Hotels of the World™ (SLH) and has been republished with permission on LUXE City Guides.