Villa holidays in Italy are a tempting mix of culture, cuisine, and charm that is sure to leave you with some special memories. Entice your senses with mouth-watering pizzas and pastas; world-class wines; fascinating historical sites; and swathes of golden beaches. With such a varied backdrop, there’s a unique magic to be unlocked in every corner of this boot-shaped nation. Embrace the sun, sea and sand at a scenic cliffside town on the Amalfi Coast, escape to a quaint hidden village nuzzled in the vineyard-clad Tuscan countryside or relax on a glittering white-sand beach lapped by emerald-green waves in Sardinia.
Whether you’re a foodie, a sun-seeker or a history buff, Italy opens up a world of sights and experiences that will take your breath away. Venture out to the vibrant cities of Rome and Florence to uncover incredible man-made wonders. Gaze over Michelangelo’s works of art, visit world-class museums, splurge in the finest shopping streets, or discover captivating ruins and cathedrals. Sample the food capital of Southern Italy with a visit to Naples, noted to be the birthplace of pizza. Walk in the footsteps of the ancient Romans at the incredible ruined cities of Pompeii or Herculaneum. Witness Italy’s rural charm in the Tuscan countryside or Amalfi Coast, meandering through picturesque pastel-hued villages overlooking rolling vineyards or the glistening shoreline.
Nature’s paintbrush works its magic here too, with rows of heavenly beaches and turquoise-coloured coves lining its shores. The outdoor beauty competes for attention with the extraordinary architecture, with a blanket of soaring mountainscapes and incredible glacial lakes to discover. Take out the hiking boots and explore Gennargentu or Abruzzo National Park, with paths twisting through the verdant woodland, rolling hills and luscious lakes. If you’re after a dose of adrenaline, try some kitesurfing or windsurfing in Sardinia’s sheltered bays.
Beaches in Italy
Trying to pick your favourite beach in Italy is like trying to choose your favourite gelato flavour – there are just too many to choose one. With a 4,000-mile-long coastline, Italy’s a playground for beach lovers, with endless stretches of golden sand and rugged rocky coves to splash around in. The alluring cliffs overlooking the Amalfi Coast are sprinkled with secret swimming spots around Sorrento and Positano. From secluded hidden coves tucked beneath pastel-coloured fishing villages, to wide golden sands backed by towering pine-clad hills, all flanking turquoise waters. Head to the long stretch of coast at Mairori and delve into its calm waters, or try some water sports if you’re after some action.
Paradise can be found in Sardinia, with swathes of picture-postcard beaches that rival those of the Caribbean and regularly top the polls of the world’s best. The stunning six-mile swathe of sand of Poetta is the perfect respite, lined with kiosks offering locally caught seafood and freshly baked pizza. In the north-east, delve into the emerald-coloured waters at Costa Esmerelda or sink your toes into the white-sands of Le Pelosa.
Nightlife in Italy
Italy is renowned for its vibrant social energy, with its cities and towns coming to life during the night. The bustling cities have their own "it" places to go if you’re after cocktails, wine, and parties way into the early hours. Take your pick from the clubs and bars in Florence, where a delicious dinner leads to dancing the night away. For a different type of evening, Naples is home to the oldest continually running opera house in the country, where you can dress up and watch a show. Cheers to a sensational sunset glittering off of the waves, with wine bars and traditional tavernas lining the quaint towns of the Amalfi Coast. It doesn’t get more idyllic than under the Tuscan sun, where you can clink glasses in loaded wine cellars and atmospheric bars tucked away in the rustic, rolling countryside.
Food and Drink in Italy
One of the best things about a holiday to Italy is undoubtedly the food and drink. They host the soul of the country. Each region puts pride in their own recipes and twists on the classics, using locally grown ingredients. Pizza plays a leading role on all of the menus, but feasting on a thick-rimmed pizza Napoletana within Campania should be obligatory, freshly baked in a traditional wood-burning oven. We can’t forget about the pasta, with every one of Italy's twenty regions having a traditional pasta delicacy to call their own.
Blow your taste buds away with the fresh seafood on offer at the picturesque villages that line the Amalfi Coast’s craggy coastline. If you fancy a tipple, try their speciality aperitif, the Limoncello, locally made from the region’s fruity Amalfi lemons. Food is a way of life in Tuscany and has remained in touch with its agricultural roots, making it the home of the very finest home-grown dishes. With a famous reputation for incredible wines, sample world-class reds and whites at wineries and vineyards burrowed within its rustic countryside. Sardinia is another seafood haven, with slants of grilled seafood paired with antipasti, bread and pastas. When it comes to desserts, tuck into sweet treats like tiramisu, cannoli, panna cotta, and, of course, creamy gelato. Bellissimo!
History and Culture in Italy
Home to the largest number of UNESCO world heritage sites in the world, Italy is a colourful explosion of history and culture. Its bustling city streets tell stories to its visitors of the country’s ever-changing past, echoing its antiquity, renaissance and modernity. Step back in time in Pompeii, a 2,000-year-old Roman town that was covered in ash following the eruption of Vesuvius and has become a remarkably preserved archaeological site. For an iconic photo opportunity and a taste of Roman architecture, visit Pisa and gaze in awe at its famous leaning tower.
Striking buildings, world-class galleries, and treasure-crammed cathedrals make Tuscany Italy’s cultural beating heart. This rich trove of art and architecture is home to vibrant cities that each celebrate their unique place in history, from the Renaissance lure of Florence to the medieval charm of Siena. Staying true to its roots, join the Tuscan atmosphere at one of its traditional festivals of music, dance, arts, or film throughout the year. Italy’s vibrant past spreads out to its islands, with Sardinia being a sponge for ancient Carthaginian and Roman history. Take a glimpse into the ancient world with a visit to the fascinating archaeological Nuraghlic settlement in Su Nuraxi, dating back to 3,000 years ago. Walk around the old walls of Alghero and wander around the tangle of cobbled lanes until you reach the towering cathedral.
Family-friendly is the basis of the Italian lifestyle, so families can easily slot into the relaxed rhythm of everyday life whilst absorbing the local history at every corner. The Amalfi Coast is packed with activities for families, with pristine sandy beaches to splash around on and scenic boat trips that let you easily see the picturesque beauty of the region. Spend a day filled with adventure and adrenaline crossing daring rope bridges and zip lines at Valle dell'Irno Adventure Park,or jump for joy at the inflatable and trampoline park at Parco degli Ulivi.
Tuscany is perfect for families with inquisitive minds, with Florence teeming with interactive museums and awe-inspiring galleries. If you’ve got kids who can’t stay still, the region is a cyclist and hiker’s paradise with an abundance of trails and routes which wind through the verdant landscape. Animals never fail to raise a smile; stalk big cats at the Zoological Garden of Pistoia or feed ponies and donkeys at the European Fauna Park. For some fun in the sun, Sardinia’s pristine beaches are perfect for splashing, snorkelling and sunbathing. Across this sun-soaked isle, there are plenty of theme parks to keep the whole family entertained. Glide down water slides at Aquafantasy, zip line amongst the trees in Le Ragnatele Adventure Park, or get lost at Sardinia Miniatures Park with its aquarium, planetarium, and dinosaur park.
Facts about Italy
Currency: Euro €
Flight Time: 2hrs
Time Difference: +1 hour
Capital City: Rome
Nearest Airport: Naples International Airport (NAP)