When it comes to extravagantly luxurious waterfront villas, Italy has you well and truly covered.
From a prestigious cliffside palace on the Amalfi Coast to a magnificent villa with sensational views over Lake Como, there are plenty of knock-your-socks-off properties available to rent – if money is no object.
Scroll down for our pick of a mouthwatering bunch…
Villa Besana, Bellagio, Lake Como, from €4,572 (£4,170) per night
Villa Besana is a ten-minute walk from the town of Bellagio – but you might struggle to muster up the enthusiasm to explore it, because this property has it all, from a private cook and a cellar stocked with hand-selected wines to a gorgeous heated outdoor swimming pool and access to a lake beach
The magnificent villa sits within a large botanical park characterized by old trees and flowering shrubs
Italy Sotheby’s says: ‘To arrive on the private docks of the estate and to walk up the steps to enjoy the marvellous panorama of the majestic Lake Como are the recipe for a dream-like and well-deserved retreat’
The villa is only around 40 miles from Milan Malpensa Airport, so reaching the villa and its charms is a cinch
Expensive taste: All of this luxury doesn’t come cheap – renting the villa costs from €4,572 (£4,170) per night
The villa can host up to 20 guests and has 10 bedrooms, all with private bathrooms and either views of Lake Como or the beautiful grounds that surround the property
In terms of interior, think hallways decorated with marble from Genoa, Venetian silk wallpaper and oak bookcases
The good life: When aperitivo hour strikes, guests can enjoy an Aperol Spritz while looking out over Lake Como
This stunning bathroom features a free-standing bath, double sinks and the most spectacular views of Lake Como
This magnificent villa can host up to 20 guests and has 10 bedrooms, all with private bathrooms and either views of Lake Como or the beautiful grounds that surround the property.
The town of Bellagio is a 10-minute walk away – but mustering up the enthusiasm to pay it a visit may be a struggle, given the villa’s opulent charms and knock-out features.
It has it all, from a private cook and a cellar stocked with hand-selected wines to a gorgeous heated outdoor swimming pool and access to a lake beach.
In terms of interior, think hallways decorated with marble from Genoa, Venetian silk wallpaper and oak bookcases. While the outdoor areas are characterised by balconies, terraces and a classical Italian garden.
Villa Prima, Lake Como, from €11,315 (£10,321) per night
Villa Prima, pictured above, is located in the shadow of the Rhaetian Alps in Lake Como and is surrounded on both sides by verdant hillsides
Standout features include a heated infinity pool adorned with 22-carat gold reflective tiles, a floodlit tennis court and 30,000 square meters of garden
The views? Well, as this image shows, they are quite simply magnificent (once the sunloungers have been moved away from the trees)
The estate consists of three houses that blend modern comforts with Italian antique furniture and artwork from all over Europe
‘Each of the 17 possible guests,’ says Italy Sotheby’s International Realty, ‘will enjoy unsurpassed levels of style and comfort’
Within the main house, guests are greeted by a great foyer featuring marble floors and an elegant wrought iron railing
The main villa has an elegant dining area with ample seating and working fireplaces, which is connected to a pantry and professional kitchen
If you fancy living the high-life then look no further than Villa Prima, which is located in the shadow of the Rhaetian Alps, on the romantic western shores of Lake Como.
The estate consists of three houses that blend modern comforts with Italian antique furniture and artwork from all over Europe. The main villa sleeps up to 13 people and features a master suite with a king-size bed and balcony offering lake views. The other two ancillary houses each have a double bedroom with lake or mountain views and en-suite bathrooms, bringing total capacity to 17.
Additional standout features include a heated infinity pool adorned with 22-carat gold reflective tiles, a floodlit tennis court and 30,000 square meters of garden.
Villa delle Sirene, Positano, Amalfi Coast, from €1,143 (£1,042) per night
The lower terrace of the Villa delle Sirene garden features a heated infinity swimming pool with two sun decks adorned with umbrellas
A path from Villa delle Sirene winds down to the charming village of Saint Elia – and it’s less than 10 kilometres (six miles) to Sorrento
The house, with 240 square meters, has several balconies and terraces, which allow ample natural light to enter the villa
Cook up a storm: There’s a spacious and fully-equipped kitchen that opens onto the patio
The villa is spread out over two floors and can host up to eight guests. Pictured is one of the elegant bedrooms
Simplicity: The house features classical and modern paintings and antiques – and hardwood flooring is laid throughout
Views galore are guaranteed at Villa delle Sirene, as this spacious home is perched high on a cliff along the Amalfi Coast facing an archipelago of little islands known as The Sirenuse.
The villa, which can sleep up to 10 people, is light and airy and harmonises indoor and outdoor living spaces with its terraces, balconies and a fully-equipped kitchen that opens up onto the patio.
Sun-seekers will love the heated infinity pool, which is surrounded by two decking areas overlooking the sea. While the pretty grounds with fruit and olive trees, a gazebo and hammock provide an equally delightful space for daytime lounging.
Villa dei Sonetti, Sorrento, Amalfi Coast, price on application
Prestigious: The estate has hosted famous actors and royalty, and within its walls governments have been made
Suspended gracefully over the cliffs of the Sorrentine Peninsula, this extraordinary villa sits upon the ruins of an ancient Roman villa built by Agrippa Postumus, grandson of Emperor Augustus
At the beginning of the 20th century, William Waldorf Astor, U.S. Ambassador to Italy and wealthiest man in the world at the time, acquired the property. Astor redesigned this cliffside palace and filled it with collections of classical and Renaissance antiquities that were among the greatest in the world
Spanning three floors, the uber-opulent villa has six double bedrooms and features a roof terrace with 360-degree views of the surrounding sea, a gym area, fully-equipped kitchen, two dining rooms, a piano room and three living rooms
The villa is situated upon two hectares of perfectly manicured grounds featuring fountains, palm trees, ancient statues, citrus trees and secret walking paths
The estate towers above the Mediterranean, overlooking the Marina Grande, Marina Piccola, and Mount Vesuvius
A path of 100 steps leads to a private boat dock where guests can enjoy sunbathing or taking a refreshing swim within the pristine waters of the Amalfi Coast
Suspended over the cliffs of the Sorrentine Peninsula, this ‘extraordinary’ villa sits upon the ruins of a first-century Roman villa built by Agrippa Postumus, grandson of Emperor Augustus.
Italy Sotheby’s International Realty says that at the beginning of the 20th century, William Waldorf Astor, U.S. Ambassador to Italy and the wealthiest man in the world at the time, acquired the property. Astor, we’re told, redesigned ‘this cliffside palace’ and filled it with classical and Renaissance antiquities that were among the greatest in the world. As a cherry on the cake, he rustled up a ‘magnificent’ garden where a 13th-century convent once sat.
The estate, says Sotheby’s, has hosted famous actors and royalty (and allegedly famous Roman poet Ovid), and within its walls ‘governments have been made’. The property, which can accommodate 12, is just a five-minute walk from the centre of Sorrento and getting there is a journey along old, narrow roads.
Once there, guests will see that the villa is situated upon two hectares of ‘perfectly manicured grounds, considered among the top ten most beautiful gardens in Europe’. There are fountains, there are palm trees, there are ancient statues – and there are secret paths throughout. A path of 100 steps leads to a private boat dock where guests can enjoy sunbathing or taking a refreshing swim within the pristine waters of the Amalfi Coast.
Stepping inside, guests will no doubt marvel at the handiwork of renowned designer Jacque Garcia, who recently redesigned the interior. The villa, spanning three floors, features a roof terrace with 360-degree views of the surrounding sea, a gym area, a fully-equipped kitchen, two dining rooms, a piano room, three living rooms and a powder room. The villa additionally features six spacious double bedrooms, four with king beds and two with double beds, all with luxurious en-suite bathrooms. All bedrooms come with stunning views. Mount Vesuvius looms in the distance.
Sotheby’s adds: ‘The villa is nestled in among the most beautiful bays known to man. With impeccable design, perfected over centuries, the villa is simply spectacular – suspended upon the Sorrentine cliffs between myth and truth.’
Villa Oleandro, Praiano, Amalfi Coast, from €1,215 (£1,108) per night
Villa Oleandro is all white lime, wrought iron, wood and living stone, restored on ancient walls of fascinating Arab architecture
Guests can enjoy a glass of Champagne on a sunlounger while soaking up the views over the sea from the stone terrace
Villa Oleandro is an elegant pad that provides a unique and exclusive place to stay on the Amalfi Coast for a group of up to eight people
The old kitchen with Neapolitan tiles from the 18th century where guests can enjoy traditional Mediterranean cooking
The property overlooks the village of Praiano, Capri Island, Faraglioni, the Peninsula Sorrento, Positano, and the Archipelago Li Galli
Authentic: The rooms are all elegantly furnished with period furniture that dates back centuries
Every architectural element and every piece of furniture marries perfectly with the surrounding environment
For a real taste of Italy, there’s a wood-burning oven where guests can spend an evening learning how to prepare proper Neapolitan pizza
Villa Oleandro is an elegant pad that provides a unique and exclusive place to stay on the Amalfi Coast for a group of up to eight people.
The decor is all white lime, wrought iron, wood and living stone and authentic Arab architecture – and it comes equipped with every imaginable comfort including a sauna, hot tub, solarium and a beautiful infinity pool.
For a real taste of Italy, there’s a wood-burning oven where guests can spend an evening learning how to prepare proper Neapolitan pizza.
- All of the above properties are available to rent through Italy Sotheby’s International Realty. For more information visit retreats.italy-sothebysrealty.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Other villa rental companies are available.