Italy Villa Holidays

Italy Villa Holidays

Welcome to the Villa Holidays guide to Italy villa holidays and planning your villa holiday to Italy.

Introduction to Italy

Italy is a republic in southern Europe and has been one of the most awe-inspiring destinations that has been appealing to tourists for centuries. It comprises a long mainland surrounded on three sides by the Mediterranean, and two islands – Sicily off the southern-most point and Sardinia to the west. It has land links with France to the northwest, Switzerland to the north, Austria to the northeast and a small coastal link to Slovenia in the east.

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Overview of Italy

Italian holiday villas were probably invented by the Romans. There has certainly been tourism in Italy for centuries. As well as the obvious beauty of the country there is a wealth of history and culture to explore.

It is comparatively recently that Italy became a single, unified country. The many states and principalities which comprised the country have left a legacy of a wide range of cultural and ethnic differences.

A result of the ancient states has been a large number of beautiful, large cities. Rome, the capital, is the biggest; there is also Milan, Turin, Naples, Venice, Bologna, Genoa, Palermo and many more, which have a great deal to offer during Italy villa holidays.

The north of Italy is very continental, with a strong European influence and is dominated by the Alpine and Dolomite mountains. The far south is much more agrarian and Mediterranean.

Climate of Italy

All of Italy has a generally temperate climate, although there is a slight south/north divide. The very north, dominated by mountains, has a definite continental climate. It has warm summers (30ºC) but cold winters. The mountain regions of Piedmont and Lombardy provide good winter skiing.

Travelling south to Tuscany and Umbria, the weather is much milder with warm summers (30º) and relatively gentle winters (8º). It is an ideal holiday region and many of the Italian villas are found here.

Further south still, beyond Rome to Naples and Salerno, the weather becomes decidedly Mediterranean, with hot summers (32º+) and warm winters (10º).

Best Areas for Villa Holidays in Italy

Many Italian holiday villas are found in the northern regions, both inland and on the coast. Tuscany is particularly popular, covering both options.

The towns of Santa Luce and Monteverdi offer a wide selection of villas. Further inland Santa Lucia, in the Chianti region, is perfect for wine buffs.

The northern lakes offer a slightly different holiday package. The Italian villas available at Lake Maggiore in Piedmont or the Gardone Riviera in Lombardy are adjacent to both mountains and water. The Italian Lakes offer a wide range of activities and sightseeing.

For warmth and beaches, there is a wide choice of Italian holiday villas in Sicily. Marsa Sicla is a popular resort, with all the necessary facilities for a relaxing holiday. But one can also choose Siracusa, Licata and many other sites throughout the island.

Transport

Flying to your Italian holiday villas is splendidly simple. With some thirty airports to choose from, there is sure to be one near the region of your stay that will offer cheap flights to Italy.

British Airways, Air France and Alitalia all provide regular schedule flights to the main airports – Rome, Milan, Palermo (Sicily), Florence. Then there is the no-frills option provided by Easyjet, which serves Rome, Milan, Pisa, Naples, Palermo, Venice and Florence.

During the summer months, the best value is often to travel by charter flight, of which there is a wide selection. Jet2.com for example provides a service to Pisa in the summer.

Once in Italy, probably the bus services provide the easiest and cheapest means of getting around. Between the major cities there is a good high-speed rail network, which is not too expensive.

For those who prefer to drive themselves on their Italian villa holidays, the road network is excellent. There are a number of major highways throughout the country, although you should bear in mind that many of them are toll roads.

Things to do in Italy

  • Visit the nearest site of special interest. There are 44 World Heritage sites throughout Italy and innumerable churches, palazzos, museums, etc.
  • Buy a Palladio card and visit the Palladian buildings in your area for free (or at greatly reduced prices)
  • Cycle one of the many country cycle tracks.

Most northern holiday towns are picturesque but have very little beach. Rimini and Pesaro have most to offer for beach-lovers. Further down the coast, just south of Rome, there are good beaches at Sperlonga and Terracina.

Festivals and events in Italy

Many of the annual festivals in Italy follow the Christian calendar. Easter, Christmas and Epiphany (in January) are particularly enjoyed. There are large celebrations in the major cities, but almost everywhere will have a procession or other celebration.

Lent is heralded by carnivals, particularly in Venice. It is well worth a trip to enjoy the costumes, dancing and processions.

July in Sienna means the Palio – one of the most exciting horse races and festivals, anywhere. A must-see if possible.

Typical cost of living in Italy

NB. Prices in tourist areas are considerably more than elsewhere and cities are more expensive than the countryside.

  • A meal in a city restaurant: €50-100. Off the beaten track: €15-20
  • Cappuccino €2-5
  • Car hire: around €50 a day
  • Bus fare in most areas €2

Approximate exchange rate: £1: €1.1

Useful tips when visiting Italy

Lunch hour can last all afternoon. Many businesses close from around 13.00 to 17.00 and then open again in the evening.

All towns and cities have great street markets. Check out the days for your Italian villa holidays area.

Italian food and drink

Even if you stick to pizza or pasta, there will be a wide variety to choose from. Ask for the local version, it is likely to be different.

Ice cream is fantastic everywhere.

Cold meats and sausages are many and varied. A dish of local meats is often used as a starter – well worth a try.

Risotto uses local delicacies and will provide many varieties.