Europe, Holiday packages, Hotels and resorts, Travel features

If you’re looking for the perfect destination for a luxury holiday, Italy is the first country that springs to mind. This ancient and idyllically located landscape is rich in World Heritage Sites and has truly magical lake, mountains and coastlines. It’s also home to high fashion and the choicest cuisines and wines in the world. People head here for romantic breaks in luxury surroundings, with regions like the Amalfi Coast and cities like Rome and Naples offering the very best in quality relaxation and fine dining.

With a wealth of artistic treasures, epicurean experiences unequaled anywhere else and a wide range of higher-end outdoor pursuits from yachting round the islands to scuba diving off the Golden Coast of Sardinia, Italy packs a real luxury punch. Here we offer a few suggestions for the perfect break in this fabled land.

The Neapolitan Riviera

If you plan to find a holiday villa in Italy and use this as the base for your luxury break, there’s no better place to look than the amazing Bay of Naples. This is the heartland of Classical Italy, where emperors came for their holidays and generals retired from their interminable wars for a bit of richly deserved decadence. There are cliff-top villas here surrounded by luxuriant gardens and with outdoor swimming pools, with views to die for. The villas and world-class hotels further along on the Amalfi Coast play host to movie stars and top celebs from around the world, or you could choose a villa next to a lemon grove for a taste of the real Italy, with a panorama that includes Mount Vesuvius.

The Corso Italia in Sorrento is lined with designer shops and boutiques where you can pick up everything from Fendi handbags to Gucci kitten heels and then spend the afternoon sipping mouth-watering espressos in a pavement cafe before heading down to the bay for evening cocktails. Take a daytrip to nearby Capri, where the emperor Tiberius threw the original rave parties, and enjoy hot thermal spars on the luxurious island of Ischia.

Sardinia

Sardinia is awash not only with tons of natural sundrenched beauty but also a vast range of boutiques, top hotels and designer restaurants. The island is a true fusion of environmental and cultural riches, and the beaches are absolutely fabulous for water sports and sunbathing. Alghero is one of the more cosmopolitan centres and a capital for the famous Sardinian wines, whilst resorts like Conca Verde and the traditional beachside resort of Isola Rossa are much more secluded and exclusive.

On your five star break here you can explore the island’s exotic history in the romantic remains of a famous Spanish invasion, such as huge towers in the ports and numerous Catholic churches. The whole ambience is pretty much low key so there’s much emphasis on simply relaxing over fine food and exquisite wines – no objections there, we trust.

Tuscan Riviera

When you mention Tuscany people tend to think of rustic cottages, flowery meadows covered in ripe vineyards, and usually rolling hills with a few old ruins scattered about the timeless, sleepy landscape. Think again! We’re talking more fabulously beautiful coastlines, glamorous resorts and heaps and towns and cities that positively ooze high Italian culture. Resorts like Lido Di Camaiore are more carefree, laid back and party-going, whilst if you’re looking for more stylish surroundings you could head for sophisticated Viareggio which is rather more formal but drips in restrained opulence.

You can use these resorts as a base for accessing great local beaches or for popping down to the cultural centres of nearby Florence and Pisa, although there are plenty of arts and crafts shops as well as posh boutiques on the Tuscan Riviera itself. An evening meal of beautifully cooked steak or fresh fish over a bottle of Chianti will round off the perfect day here in Italy’s capital of charm.