Italy: A pocket guide
It’s helpful to think of Italy not as one country but as a culturally diverse nation of distinct states and infinite possibilities. Whether you’re looking for a chic city break, an elegant stay by the lakes, the glamour of the Amalfi Coast, or the tranquility of the Tuscan hills, Italy cannot fail to inspire.
Starting in the north, the Italian Alps border Switzerland, France, Austria and Slovenia. Its snowy peaks and valleys offer some excellent skiing. Many skiers head to the resorts of the Aosta Valley like Courmayeur, Breuil-Cervinia, and Pila which have a total of 180 pistes and skiing above 2,500 meters.
In the pre-alpine valleys is the breathtaking Italian Lake District. Lake Como is a spectacular location for stylish breaks. The summer months are wonderful for boating and swimming, and a meal at Locanda dell’ Isola Comacina, a restaurant on a little island in the middle of the lake, is always a treat. Wine enthusiasts are also catered for, with a visit to Vini Affini in Como Town. Finally, why island hop when you can country hop? Take the ferry from Como Town over to Lugano, Switzerland, and spend a day taking in the sights.
Head west to the truffle region of Piedmonte. Check out the annual autumn truffle fair and auction in Alba. For more affordable delicacies, the Alba farmer’s market is held in the shadow of Il Duomo, the fifteenth-century cathedral of San Lorenzo. Brick-red or garnet in color, the “king of wines” is best sampled at the Michelin-starred Enoteca Castello di Grinzane, a “wine library” in a hilltop medieval castle just outside Alba, one of the most spectacular settings for a meal one can imagine.
Get a slice of island life in stylish Capri. During high season, Capri is the perfect base from which to discover the Amalfi Coast. Simply hire a boat or take the ferry to discover the wonders of the coast. For beaches, top up your tan on the celebrity-studded La Fontellina or escape the crowds and head to Il Faro. For a perfect evening, ask your concierge to arrange a meal at the excellent Alle Grotelle before catching a classical concert at Villa San Michele. Finish by soaking up the evening glamour from Bar Tiberio on the Piazzetta.
For the ultimate introduction to la dolce vita, a trip to the southern region of Tuscany is a must. It’s a perfect destination for tranquil retreats at all times of the year. During the summer months, hire a boat, pack a picnic, and discover Isola Giannutri—be sure to stay for the stunning sunset. Foodies will also enjoy a romantic evening at Il Pelicano hotel restaurant, with its exquisite food and breathtaking panoramic views. During autumn, explore the colorful Bolgheri vineyards and sample the excellent wintertime Tuscan game.
Italy is home to some of the most spectacular luxury villas, apartments, and private estates in the world, and our UltraVilla experts have handpicked the very best for you to enjoy.