Rural retreats in Italy

When most people think of Italy, they envisage the mighty monuments of Rome, the spectacular statues of Florence or the waterways of Venice. But there’s so much more to Italy than typical tourist attractions: its rural areas, both inland and along the coast, offer the perfect setting for a well-deserved break. There are magnificent vineyards to see (and delicious wines to sample!), as well as breathtaking landscapes fit for every level of activity. The adventurous amongst you might wish to paraglide over Italy’s agricultural heart, while those in need of rest and relaxation can enjoy lazing along the banks of a lake. One thing’s certain when considering a rural retreat in Italy: no two destinations are the same. Of course, that can also be said of HomeAway’s extensive range of Italian villas: with something to suit every kind of traveller, they’re the ideal choice when planning that incredible break away. Perhaps you’re travelling with a large group, and need a spacious villa for a fortnight of fun? Or maybe you’d rather book a cosy cottage for two, where you can escape those everyday stresses. Whatever you dream of when considering a holiday in Italy, you can guarantee HomeAway has the perfect property. So why wait? Simply read on for our favourite Italian destinations, and enjoy privacy, space and value for money like never before.

  1. Sicily

    Sicily’s the perfect destination when considering rural retreats in Italy. Its rolling hills and rugged cliffs appear to have remained unchanged for centuries, while its laid-back atmosphere and pretty villages are just what you to need to relax. Of course, the central gem of any rural retreat in Sicily has to be Mount Etna. One of Europe’s greatest natural landmarks, it overlooks olive trees, grapevines and citrus orchards, where you can really take life at your own pace. If you’re feeling adventurous, why not take a hike to the top? You can always spend time on the beaches of Palermo after, or visit the Greek ruins outside of Agrigento.

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  2. Tuscany

    Tuscany is best-known for its iconic Italian monuments, from the leaning tower of Pisa to the world-famous art of Florence. But there are dozens of areas in Tuscany where you can avoid the throngs of tourists, and simply enjoy everyday life in this beautiful, rural region. There are hundreds of traditional villas found throughout the fields and hills, from which you can explore the surrounding area and learn all about local fare. After all, Tuscany’s renowned as a paradise for gourmets and wine connoisseurs. Sampling everything from sausages to sweets, you could even take a cookery class if you want to bring Tuscany home with you!

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  3. Umbria

    Regarded as Italy’s ‘Green Heart’, there are few destinations which can compete with wonderful Umbria. Its rugged, dramatic mountains and beautiful, hilltop towns offer everything you need for that much needed rural retreat. Visit local markets and buy truffles, salami and wine, or simply dine out each evening to enjoy some well-deserved indulgence! By day, you can spend hours simply cycling along its quiet, winding roads, discovering ancient ruins and sparkling streams as you go. With hiking, walking and fishing just a small selection of the activities you can enjoy, Umbria is a winning spot for lovers of the great outdoors.

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  4. Puglia

    Located in Italy’s ‘heel’, Puglia provides the best of both countryside and coast. A gastronomic heaven, it’s where most of the country’s pasta, olive oil and fish comes from, and small, authentic trattorias can be found around each and every corner. Of course, the landscapes of Puglia are the greatest attraction for tourists. A largely flat region, there’s an extensive network of cycling trails so you can explore at your own pace, and discover the region’s trulli - small, whitewashed houses with cone-shaped roofs - along the way. If you have enough time to explore outside the area, take a day trip to Gargano National Park, on the islands of Tremiti.

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  5. Liguria

    As one of Italy’s smallest regions, Liguria is often overlooked in favour of the better known areas mentioned above. But this beautiful strip runs along the coast from France to La Spezia, and offers a hugely diverse range of holiday activities for those who can’t make up their mind! Its has spectacular beaches and vast forests, as well as rugged cave networks and towering mountains: whatever you dream of when considering rural retreats in Italy, Liguria is guaranteed to deliver. You can enjoy swimming and water sports along the coast or on inland lakes, or simply spend your days cycling through luscious woodland.

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