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From holidaying Roman emperors to the Grand Tours of the 19th-century British aristocracy, Italy has a rich, accommodating history that continues to this day. You can stay in the likes of Venetian palaces, Tuscan farmhouses and Belle Époque villas on the shores of the Italian lakes. And the following represent the best in Italian getaways, all handpicked by our destination experts.
Belmond Villa Sant'Andrea, Taormina, Sicily
5-night luxury holiday from £1,320 pp
A private swathe of beach, almost tropical gardens, laidback elegance, old-fashioned, fine Italian furnishings and cutting-edge art make the Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea the most glamorous stay in Taormina.
Baglioni Hotel Luna, Venice
Just off the Grand Canal, this Venetian palace is old-world luxury at its finest, complete with chandeliers, frescoes and gilded furnishings. Its private pier and fine-dining restaurant don’t hurt, either.
Baglioni Hotel Cala del Porto, Tuscan Coast
Most of the rooms at the delectable Hotel Cala Del Porto overlook the bay of Punta Ala, a glorious swathe of blue punctuated by the island of Elba. The Maremma, a less explored but most exciting corner of Tuscany provides the perfect counterpoint.
Relais Santa Croce, Florence
Set in an old palazzo, with original murals still gracing the walls, the Relais Santa Croce is as beautiful as the Florentine views it enjoys. Frescoed ceilings and fine art feature throughout, as do high standards and lashings of luxury.
Belmond Castello di Casole, Tuscany
4-night luxury holiday from £1,705 pp
Stay in a 10th-century castle ringed by vineyards, enjoying fine dining, spectacular views and superb spa treatments.
Grand Hotel Tremezzo, Lake Como
4-night luxury holiday from £1,405 pp
This century-old grand dame is the best-located hotel on Lake Como – a setting taken in by a superb array of facilities. Expect everything from private-balcony rooms to an infinity spa pool
Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo, Taormina
5-night luxury holiday from £1,315 pp
The Belmond Grand Hotel sits high on Sicilian cliffs, with glorious views of the sea and Mount Etna.
Belmond Hotel Splendido, Portofino
4-night luxury holiday from £2,085 pp
Choose between luxury stays in a 500-year-old convent or down by the waterfront at this opulent property, complete with spa, gourmet restaurants and stunning setting.
Belmond Hotel Cipriani, Venice
3-night luxury holiday from £1,975 pp
The Belmond Hotel Cipriani is true old-world Venice at its refined best. Expect complimentary rides to the splendours of the city, chandelier-adorned rooms, a gorgeous swimming pool and two exquisite restaurants offering superb authentic Italian dining.
Belmond Villa San Michele, Florence
4-night luxury holiday from £1,995 pp
A façade by Michelangelo, frescoes of The Last Supper and fine dining informed by Tuscan heritage – this is a truly unique proposition.
Il Borro, Tuscany
Nestled within a 700-hectare estate in the heart of rural Tuscany, this historic hotel combines fine food and wine, and indulgent spa treatments, with Relais & Châteaux’s signature brand of elegant luxury.
Casa Angelina, Amalfi Coast
4-night luxury holiday from £1,670 pp
Simply, this is the Amalfi Coast at its chic best. Expect everything from a private beach club to a rooftop fine dining restaurant.
Belmond Hotel Caruso, Ravello
4-night luxury holiday from £1,290 pp
Escape to a historic palace with spectacular views over the Amalfi Coast. Here, infinity-pool modernity is paired with classic fine dining and paintings by old masters.
Alberi Del Paradiso, Cefalù
Secluded above the beautiful town of Cefalù, this four-star hotel, with its pool, wellness centre and extensive gardens, is just 20 minutes' walk from the beach.
Villa Athena, Sicily
At the heart of Sicily’s Valley of the Temples, the deluxe Villa Athena is blissfully boutique, with just 27 rooms. The only five star property in this historic part of the island, with five-star views of the Temple of Concordia.
Borgo Santo Pietro, Tuscany
From Michelin-starred dining to exclusive spa treatments, this is your chance to stay in one of the Tuscany’s most luxurious properties.
Hotel Lungarno, Florence
3-night luxury holiday from £1,115 pp
Discover luxury amid Florence's myriad delights in this opulent hotel whose walls are adorned with more than 400 pieces of art, some dating back to the 900s. Evenings are spent in the Michelin-starred restaurant on the banks of the river – with the option to dine on your own private terrace.
Bauer Palazzo, Venice
3-night luxury holiday from £825 pp
Set in an 18th-century palazzo in Venice's cultural epicentre, the Bauer Palazzo blends traditional Venetian and art-deco design with Grand Canal views and Venice's highest roof terrace.
Palazzo Avino, Ravello
4-night luxury holiday from £1,520 pp
This exquisite five-star hotel was once a 12th-century private villa, perched above the dazzling coast of Amalfi in medieval Ravello. Opulent rooms are adorned with hand-made Vietri tiles and the highest-level suites feature private decks with hot tubs.
Hotel Danieli, Venice
Spread across three canal-side palaces, this landmark hotel offers rooftop fine dining, grand architecture and sweeping views across the Venetian Lagoon.
Grand Hotel Gardone, Lake Garda
Having welcomed the likes of Winston Churchill through its grand waterside doors, this elegant hotel was one of the first to grace Lake Garda’s picturesque shores.
Step back to the Golden Age of Travel aboard the world’s most iconic rail journey. And, as Europe’s great vistas sweep past, you’ll sit back to enjoy piano-accompanied cocktails, multi-course gourmet dining and that famous white-gloved service.
San Clemente Palace Kempinski, Venice
3-night luxury holiday from £1,085 pp
A private Venetian island, complete with spectacular lagoon views from pool bars, stylish rooms and fine-dining restaurants.
Due Torri, Verona
This esteemed Verona hotel lies just moments from the cobbled lanes and Shakespearean sights of Verona's ever-so-romantic streets, with handcrafted marble rooms, a Michelin-starred restaurant and a wonderful panoramic roof terrace.
Hotel de Russie, Rome
The historic but hip Hotel de Russie sits right at the heart of Rome, a five star setting for a five star hotel.
Grand Hotel Et Des Palmes
The grandest hotel in a grand city, 'The Palms' exudes glamour and history. Originally built as an aristocratic palazzo in 1856, there’s even a secret passage underground to the church across the street – a typical detail in this house of many stories.
Golden Eagle Danube Express
Travel in style aboard this elegant hotel on wheels, enjoying superb full-board dining, lounge and bar-car relaxation and beautifully appointed cabins and suites that provide home-from-home comforts on some of Europe's most spectacular rail routes.
Villa Igiea, Palermo
A luxurious palazzo languishing alongside Palermo and the Tyrrhenian Sea, Villa Igiea boasts scenic views, manicured grounds, elegant rooms and gourmet Sicilian cuisine.