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Sitting around the table on the terrace as the sun sets; drinking deep, dark reds produced just miles away; watching the kids play in your orange grove – these aren’t just ideas dreamed up by travel writers (though admittedly I did just utter them – but bear with me). Italian holidays offer a slice of La Dolce Vita – and a few slices of pizza, besides – alongside treasures of natural, historical, gastronomical and cultural importance. And let’s face it – that’s a whole lot of importance.
If you’re looking for a large villa in Italy, it’s likely you have a group of friends or extended family members in mind (and where better to take that count-to-ten breath when your mother-in-law’s in tow?). You could soon be visiting tombs on the outskirts of Rome, snapping selfies leaning on Pisa's tower, or drinking your weight in Sicilian Limoncello. All you have to do is choose your villa – and we’ve got plenty. Here are just a few of our favourites.
Our pick of the best large Italian villas
Large villas in Tuscany
First, to the birthplace of the Renaissance, home to leaning towers and world-famous horse races. Oh, and you know those deep, dark reds I spoke of? Here they are, at Casa San Vito. Set in Tuscany’s hilltop town of San Casciano in Val di Pesa, this restored villa sits in a working vineyard, offering impressive views over Chianti’s lush hills. With a nearby farmers’ market (bag some pecorino), you’ll find plenty of tasty fare for your dinner on the terrace come evening. Then pour, sip and savour – Hannibal Lecter impression optional.
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Large villas in Rome
Next to the capital, Vatican City and the Pantheon. Thought large villas in Rome were hard to come by? Well, they are – but we’ve plenty of large apartments to make up for it. CasalFattoria is just eight miles from the Colosseum, and the subway is only a short drive or bus ride away. Inside the apartment itself, you’ll find room for nine and a library – perfect for those times when you need to relax (and you will – walking around Rome ain’t easy!). Outside, there’s a children’s playground, so the little ones can (thankfully) burn off steam.
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Large villas in Sicily
If Florence and Rome sound a little too hectic, take a break by the seaside – they don’t come much better than in Sicily. Just to hear its name brings the scent of lemons, the chill of ice-cream and the sweetness of Marsala wine to mind. In Trapani, you’ll find Villa Santa Maria – a gargantuan castellated building (well, why not?) just three kilometres from the beach. It’s got four-poster beds; it’s got fountains; it’s got a tennis court, orange grove and pool – it’s got everything you’d ever want in, well, a 17th-century Sicilian farmhouse.
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Large villas in Verona
If you liked the sound of that, how about a 14-bedroom villa in Valli Grandi Veronesi (for those who know the lingo)? Ok, so it’s not exactly in Verona – but the city’s easily seen in a day trip (as is Venice and Lake Garda). At this property, guests won’t be stuck for any activity: snooker, ping-pong and swimming are all covered, and there are bikes to take down the cycle paths of the Adige River. If you’re not languishing in the yellow or grey room (yes, the list goes on, and yes, they all have names), head into town for gelato. Yum.
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Large villas in Lombardy
Last on our list is Lombardy, and the little town of Montichiari: set by Lake Garda, it’s home to museums and a 12th-century abbey, but best of all? It’s connected to London via low-fares airlines. All the better when you want to visit Lake Iseo, known for producing the most expensive wines in the world. Also here is Villa San Pietro, owned by the same family since 1657 (to say they know what they’re doing is somewhat of an understatement). Frescoed ceilings, winery tours and cheese tastings come as standard – this is luxury, and then some.
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Large Holiday Rentals in Italy
The b & b Jet Lag is located in the Rome central area, just 10 meters from the metro and bus station and very close to the Colosseum.
The b & b, just completely renovated, has four modern rooms with a unique design, each dedicated to a different c...
Villa Sonia is for sure, a really special property tucked away on the sleepy hillside of Cortona and, just a short distance form the enchanting Franciscan monastery of Le Celle. Villa Sonia is perfect for four to 10 guests. The main villa has thre...
A super apartment now made even better! Carefully renovated in 2012 to bring it bang up to date in both looks and facilities – a popular choice on the first floor of a pretty house just off the Campo Sant’ Agnese in the Dorsoduro district. Seconds...
This lovely apartment just off Campo Santo Stefano and Palazzo Grassi is a top floor 'mansarda' with beamed ceilings. This apartment is composed of a large spacious living room high ceilings and with a small 'altana' (a roof terrace), a fully equi...
It has high ceilings and an attractive living/dining room with a double sofa bed, dining furniture, traditional 'terrazzo' flooring and a wall almost entirely composed of floor-to-ceiling glazed doors flooding the room with light and opening direc...
An ultra-convenient and relaxing second floor apartment, part of an antique palazzo in upmarket San Samuele - a calm and cultured neighbourhood of galleries and antique shops, well clear of the hustle and bustle yet close to Campo Santo Stefano wi...
A terrific penthouse perfect for six, up 'in the gods' of the impressive 15th Century Gothic 'Palazzo Loredan Dell’ Ambasciatore' on the Grand Canal in the Dorsoduro area of the city. Enjoying breathtaking views from its two amazing terraces and s...
It comprises a living/dining room with a sofa and extra sofa bed providing plenty of comfortable seating plus a dining table and chairs, a completely furnished kitchenette just off this main room, a double bedroom at the back with king size bed an...
This is a lovely and cosy two floors apartment with original features, beamed ceilings, parquet and marble flooring in the Dorsoduro area with a private garden.
The house is composed of two living areas (one per floor), two bathrooms (one with sho...
On strolling through Venice have you ever wondered what secret gardens lie beyond those tall Palazzo walls where trees and shrubs peek tantalisingly over the ancient terracotta brickwork? Well now you can find out!
Ca’ Cerchieri 1 is a quiet and ...