As seasoned travellers, we like to think we’re familiar with the most popular holiday destinations. But even a well-known location can hide a few surprises. To make the best of your stay, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the more unique characteristics of an area.
The tourist hot spots of Italy are no exception. Should you choose the chic streets of Capri or the more laid-back village of Anacapri? The celeb-laden Lake Como or the family-friendly Lake Garda? A whitewashed village in Apulia's Valle d’Itria or its coastal area of Salento? Here are our tips for picking the ideal luxury holiday location to fit your travel style and tastes.
Valle D'Itria vs Salento
The image of olive groves on hillsides, peppered with dazzling white buildings and trulli cones, with the sea in the distance, is the stereotypical albeit authentic image of Valle d’Itria. Here you will find traditional properties with walls thick enough to keep the cool inside despite the sizzling summer outside, whilst the silence of the courtyard is interrupted only by chirping cicadas or the scuttling of a lizard.
Summertime in Valle d’Itria is a lazy, indulgent time spent divided between relaxing in the countryside, exploring charming white-washed towns like Ostuni or Locorotondo that offer a vast array of restaurants serving traditional food or fizzing aperitifs, and sunbathing on sandy beaches lined with the sunbeds of exclusive beach clubs.
For a complete immersion in a traditional summer of Valle d’Itria, the stunning six-bedroom Masseria Lamacoppa has everything needed for an indulgent luxury holiday. It offers a large swimming pool, inviting spaces to relax in the hottest hours, and the services of a chef that will transform the delicious local produce into sumptuous feasts.
Further south lies the Salento peninsula, which starts at the end of the ancient Appian Way. Lapped by two seas – the rockier shore of the Adriatic providing a dramatic contrast to the sandy Ionian one – this small piece of land packs in many attractions. The baroque architecture gracing the city of Lecce is a must-see, but so are the Moresque-style buildings in the old spa town of Santa Cesarea or the forbidding ancient walls of the castle of Otranto.
Beach life is very much a must in the summer, and a boat trip is the perfect way to enjoy the turquoise waters of Salento’s rockier side. The Natural Reserve of Porto Selvaggio is another unmissable highlight of the coast, and to enjoy it at its best, we recommend a stay at the nearby Villa Tafuri.
This former watchtower still boasts some of its original baroque features, and yet it’s been transformed into a stylish, contemporary four-bedroom home. Its cool interiors and charming outdoor areas, including a swimming pool and an organic garden, will provide the perfect base for a relaxing Salento break.
Capri vs Anacapri
Glitzy and glamorous, Capri has been the place to be – and to be seen – for decades. Nowadays, well-heeled tourists pack its streets lined with luxury shops and mix with day-trippers who come to soak up the magic, even if only for a few hours.
The undeniable charm of Capri lies not only in its fantastic scenery but also in its perennial holiday vibe that inspires indulging in another spot of sunbathing, another gelato, another glass of local white wine or more shopping.
As there are limits to the cars allowed on the island, it’s best to stay close to the action. The breathtaking Villa Castiglione sits atop a cliff above Marina Piccola, only a few minutes’ walk from the celebrated Piazzetta, combining spectacular views with easy access to Capri’s extravagant heart.
The more traditional village of Anacapri sits on top of the island. It is reached by road through many, many hairpin turns and – for those unfazed by heights – a chairlift reaches the top of Monte Solaro, offering spectacular views of the island and beyond.
Its quaint streets are not littered with international luxury brands but with artisans, traditional eateries, and picturesque historical attractions. Belonging to the boundaries of Anacapri is also the world-famous Blue Grotto, which entered the records as the private swimming hole of Emperor Tiberius.
Exploring the island‘s coastline and enjoying a refreshing swim under the celebrated Faraglioni is a must. Our stunning four-bedroom Villa Giada in Anacapri has a private boat for rent so that you can enjoy this unforgettable experience.
Lake Como vs Lake Garda
Peppered by historic luxury villas and quaint, upmarket towns, Lake Como has become one of the destinations of choice for celebrities and VIPs.
Its beautiful setting offers a flawless frame to enjoy an aperitif on a lovingly-tended, terraced garden or to cross the lake on a classic motorboat in perfect 60s Dolce Vita style. Only an hour and a half from Milan, Lake Como is an ideal destination for a holiday that is at the same time relaxed and glamorous.
Direct lake access, fabulous gardens and understated elegance make the seven-bedroom Villa Altrove the quintessential Lake Como property. It offers privacy, luxury facilities (including a heated pool, a private boat dock, and a cinema room) and an undeniable timeless charm.
Lake Garda has been a popular holiday destination since Roman times. To this day, the Grotte di Catullo complex – remains of a Roman villa – is one of its main attractions. Families choose the location for their luxury holiday thanks to its proximity to cities like Venice and Verona and its friendly vibes.
With a choice of lovely beaches and plenty of water sports opportunities, from kite-surfing to sailing, the largest lake in Italy provides entertaining activities for the whole family.
Villa Sphere Nord is a stunning example of contemporary architecture, providing the perfect base to explore the history and beauty of Lake Garda. It offers four bright bedrooms, a private pool, a sauna and steam room, and marvellous lake views, perfect for a memorable getaway with loved ones.