There's a riviera or island just right for your luxury Italy Holiday
In just over two and a half hours, you can start your luxurious holiday to Italy, staying in scenic rivieras or on classy islands.
Some of the finest beaches in the world are found in Italy, with Sardinia nabbing quite a few. To the south of Olbia are long wide bays that have a tropical feel and north are longer stretches as well as secluded coves at Costa Smeralda. Divers will love Tavolara and Coda Cavallo marine reserves and you can hop on a boat to sightsee on the classy French island of Corsica.
A look around Sorrento‘s 15th-century cathedral will leave you in awe. Or head for Centro Storico to ooh and aah at the shops selling linens, ceramics and handmade leather goods, and modern art galleries. A short boat hop to Ischia and you can soak in the natural spas that are fuelled by volcanic thermal springs. Or stay on the island to immerse yourself in the views, vineyards and history, especially Castello Aragonese on its own little islet.
Living the high life in Italy
Olbia perches on the northeast shores of the island of Sardinia, where expensive yachts moor as they explore the beautiful Costa Smeralda shores. Its historic centre contrasts with VIP beach bars down by the water.
The Neapolitan Riviera offers both mainland and island delights, including hillside Sorrento. Its Centro Storico old quarter is the place to head for trattorias,
cafe-lined piazzas and both souvenir and upmarket shops. The
seaside views are staggering, with Marina Grande and Marina Piccolo beaches close by as well as tiny inlets all along the coast. And from Sorrento you can glimpse the bijou island of Ischia, a place of natural thermal spas and away-from-it-all coves.
Another Riviera, this time in the east, the Venetian Riviera’s beach resort of Lido di Jesolo offers vast golden sandy beaches and some of the liveliest nightlife in Italy, with upbeat and elegant options. Varied shopping can be found in the centre and Venice is just a boat ride away for many more boutiques, plus grand architecture over the canals.
Other luxury holidays to take a look at
Aside from Italy, taking a luxury holiday on arguably Greece‘s classiest island of Santorini involves postcard-perfect white buildings set off by the dazzling blue sea, with the unusual addition of volcanic calderas and red sand beaches. Or go glitzy in Las Vegas, where everything is done big and luxury entertainment is on tap.
But if Italy is calling, take a look at our travel guide to find out more and read on for high-end hotels you can stay in on your luxury holiday to Italy.
Malta | Spain | Portugal | Croatia | Santorini
Tuscany is considered to be one of the most beautiful places on earth. Amid the cypress trees, and with a backdrop of the Apennines Mountains, are stunning vineyards located in luxury ancient palaces and castles. They add a touch of glamour to this serene experience.
Even if you’re not a wine connoisseur, visiting the heart of the wine-making region, Classico Chianti, is a must. Not only will you discover superior wines but many of the vineyards, with their beautifully-lined fields that look like pieces of artwork, are housed in the most spectacularly regal buildings.
Some open up their doors to discerning visitors for some wine tasting, including the remarkable Castello Di Brolio, the oldest winery in the region. It was in fact former owner and Italian Prime Minister, Baron Bettino Ricasoli, who came up with the Chianti formula in 1872.
Then there’s Badia a Coltibuono – this former 11th century abbey also has a restaurant, and you can enjoy a stroll through the formal Renaissance garden. As you take a sip of Chianti, you’ll feel transported into the period novel A Room With a View, which depicts the region aptly.
Florence, the centre of Italian Renaissance
Florence, the capital of the Tuscany region, is considered by many to be the most beautiful city in the world. It’s home to palaces, churches and museums that house some of the finest and most important art treasures ever produced.
It saw the development of the Renaissance movement, thanks to Filippo Brunelleschi, Giotto, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Rafael. Nowadays many talented artists still flock to the area seeking inspiration, so if you’re in the market for some modern art head to Art Gallery Studio Iguarnieri, or Galleria360.
Experience the sweet life in Taormina, Sicily
Taormina perches on the side of Monte Tauro, with breathtaking views across the Bay of Naxos to Mount Etna. The town dates back to the 4th century BCE and saw a revival in the 18th century when northern Europeans discovered it on the Grand Tour – a rite of passage for the upper classes who sought further education in the cultural hubs of Europe.
This is Sicily’s most luxurious resort, with its glamorous heyday in the 50s and 60s. Elizabeth Taylor, Greta Garbo, Italian-born Sophia Loren, and film director of La Dolce Vita, Federico Fellini, all stayed here. D H Lawrence also lived here from 1920-1923, a time that inspired his most famous work, Lady Chatterley’s Lover.
At the heart of the area is the Greek Amphitheatre Teatro Antico di Taormina, where the annual film festival is held every June, still attracting some of the big names in showbiz such as Colin Firth and Tom Cruise. Many notable oldies have also been seen strutting up the red carpet including the wonderful Audrey Hepburn.
The glittering gem that is Lake Maggiore, Italian Lakes
Many people have heard of luxurious Lake Como, but a short distance from here sits Lake Maggiore, which some consider to be the most stunning and exclusive of all the Lakes.
In the active lakeside town of Stresa you’ll find luxury villas and Art Nouveau hotels lining the shoreline, while charming streets are filled with interesting local shops selling Murano glass. This fine glassware originates from the island of Murano in Venice and the designs, which can be pieces of art, beautiful figurines and light fittings, are highly sought after. Shopping here is a great opportunity to take a bit of luxury home with you.
A ride on the Stresa to Mottarone cable car up Mottarone Mountain will offer some of the most stunning views in Italy. At the midway stop you can stroll around the Alpine gardens and view the three beautiful Borromean Islands, Isola Bella, Isola dei Pescatori and Isola Madre. Then at the summit you can experience 360-degree views to the Alps on one side and all seven glimmering lakes on the other.
An adults-only hotel, the 4* superior TUI Sensimar Nastro Azzuro provides winning views over the bays of Naples and Salerno from its a la carte restaurant terrace and rooftop bar with weekly live music. A 15-minute walk to the charming village of Colli di Fontanalle, the hotel lays on a courtesy bus to get you to Sorrento and the beach. You may not need to go far though as this All Inclusive hotel includes buffet meals and drinks. The pool and whirlpools sit beside a bar and gardens with gazebos. When you're not relaxing there, take part in tennis, boules or board games. Superior rooms come with coffee machines and some with four-poster beds.
TUI Sensimar Matta Village is a 4* beachfront boutique hotel just for adults. The place for a peaceful retreat, it's a 10-minute drive to Budoni, 40 minutes south of Olbia. The gorgeous white sand cove, complete with a hotel beach bar, and a local pizzeria are the only things you'll need close by as the All Inclusive hotel has you covered. The buffet restaurant has an al fresco terrace close to the pool and there's a pool bar right by the water. Activities include reclining in the whirlpool or sauna, playing boules or table tennis and enjoying evening dance performances.
The thoroughly modern 5* Almar Jesolo provides big doses of luxury with its high-end spa and private sandy beach. A classy decked walkway connects the spacious pool areas, while furnished sundecks provide secluded sunbathing. A 10-minute walk to Lido di Jesolo, you can rent bikes for a small fee and cycle along the promenade for restaurants and amenities. And this Bed and Breakfast hotel provides sustenance at its Mediterra buffet restaurant and lounge bar. The crowning glory here is undoubtedly the two-storey Almablu Spa with Turkish bath, ice room, salt cabins, water paradise, panoramic fitness room and numerous treatments. Not just for adults, the hotel has a kids' club for four to 10-year-olds.