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Luxury holiday locations in Italy

Although to many, the whole of Italy feels like a luxury getaway, there are some unique places that make Italy stand out as one of the most stunning and exclusive places on earth. From the vineyards of Tuscany to the remarkable shores of Lake Maggiore, we're taking you on a little tour of the most luxurious retreats that Italy has to offer.

Vineyards in palaces - Tuscany

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.

The centre of Italian Renaissance – Florence

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 Iguarnieri Art Gallery Studio, 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.

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