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Top 12 Luxury Vacations in Italy

Italy offers many opportunities to experience the ultimate in La Dolce Vita as a country renowned for its mouthwatering cuisine, fine wine, beautiful works of art, rich history, and stunning natural history. While there are budget-friendly destinations, for those looking for a luxurious Italian vacation, you’ll find plenty of exclusive spots for tailor-made experiences, fine dining, and unforgettable stays in high-end hotels and resorts. From well-known places like Venice and Lake Como to some that you probably haven’t thought about, these are some of the best for a getaway of a lifetime.

Portofino Portofino, Italy
Credit: Portofino, Italy by © Monticelllo - Dreamstime.com

Portofino

Nestled along the Italian Riviera between the Ligurian Sea and the Maritime Alps, the picturesque fishing village of Portofino attracts plenty of celebrities looking to enjoy the good life, as a destination that’s been a favorite among the rich and famous for more than two centuries. “The pearl of the Tigullio,” it offers indescribable beauty and glamour, overlooked by a hilltop castle while pastel-painted homes, upscale shops, cafes, restaurants, and luxe hotels line the yacht-filled harbor. Visitors can immerse themselves in the social scene that revolves around La Piazzetta, the main square, enjoying celebrity spotting while sipping a strawberry cocktail. Or perhaps experience the thrill of speed on a Ferrari test drive. The lush pathways at the open-air sculpture park, Museo del Parco, are lovely to stroll with works by more than 100 contemporary artists.

Positano Amalfi Coast, Positano, Italy
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Positano

While the entire Amalfi Coast is a fantastic luxury destination for travelers, Positano is the most visually breathtaking main town. It’s also the most luxurious, complete with 5-star hotels that have private beaches. It’s renowned for its colorful homes and buildings that are beautifully contrasted against the brilliant blue of the sea while the vibrant green of the Monti Lattari Mountains provides the backdrop. It offers plenty of chic boutiques that sell trendy fashions and ceramics, along with handmade leather sandal shops where they can make you a custom pair while you go exploring. After dark, Positano is the best place to be, home to Music on the Rocks, tucked into a cave-like cliff offering dancing to top DJs and a stunning sea view.

Lake Como Menaggio, Lake Como
Credit: Menaggio, Lake Como by © Stefano Valeri - Dreamstime.com

Lake Como

Enchanting Lake Como famously attracts big-name celebrities like George Clooney, Richard Branson, and Julia Roberts, who all own villas here. It’s an internationally renowned spot that’s been described as Eden for the paradisiacal beauty that surrounds the lake. Just viewing the mansions is a treat but for the ultimate stay, why not rent one? They aren’t only for celebs and many come with private pools along with jaw-dropping lake and mountain views. There are a wealth of exciting activities to enjoy too, like private boat trips that provide views of the most beautiful towns like Menaggio, Bellagio, Tremezzo, Como, and Varenna. If you want to do some shopping, you’ll find plenty of venues, including A Picci, one of the few remaining to sell silk scarves and ties made and designed right in Como.

Isle of Capri Capri
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Isle of Capri

Capri is often referred to as the most luxurious island in all of Italy. A popular vacation destination since Roman times, it boasts a glitzy international scene that attracts celebrities and the paparazzi that follow them. You’ll see lots of mega-yachts in the harbor, while the streets are jam-packed with high-end fashion boutiques selling designer brands. There are also lots of museum-quality jewelry shops and fine-dining restaurants. One of the top activities is a private boat excursion around the island that will bring you to the stunning Blue Grotto. A natural sea cave, it’s flooded with water that’s illuminated by sunlight that filters in through a hole at the bottom, creating an electric blue glow. There are countless secluded sandy coves and postcard-perfect beaches for sunbathing and swimming too.

Venice Venice, Italy
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Venice

Venice is one of the world’s most romantic cities and it also offers plenty of luxuries. There are many exquisite palazzos that attract lots of A-listers and exclusive experiences designed for those with money to spend like a private gondola ride with a photo shoot included. Afterward, you might attend a glamorous gala dinner in one of the palazzos on the Grand Canal. Private wine tastings, cooking classes, and tours led by locals that will bring you to the city’s hidden gems are just a few of the other possibilities in the “Floating City.”

Cortina d'Ampezzo Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy
Credit: Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy by © Emicristea - Dreamstime.com

Cortina d'Ampezzo

Cortina d’Ampezzo is tucked into the Italian Alps, known as the “Queen of the Dolomites.” While it’s renowned for skiing as one of the most luxurious ski resorts on the planet, it offers plenty all year round. Its idyllic blend of rich history and unique beauty has earned it a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage list, with its origins dating back to Roman times. The lush landscapes and dramatic mountain peaks make it popular for hiking during the warmer months and you’ll find lavish spas for pampering afterward. There are many fine dining restaurants and when it comes to where to stay, you might rent an exclusive multi-story villa with your own indoor pool or stay in one of the luxury hotels.

Courmayeur Skyway Monte Blanco, Courmayeur, Italy
Credit: Skyway Monte Blanco, Courmayeur, Italy by © Dmytro Surkov - Dreamstime.com

Courmayeur

Courmayeur sits at the foot of Mont Blanc, one of the most famous alpine destinations in Italy. It’s dazzling in any season, but in the winter, it looks like a painting come to life. One of the top things to do is ride the Skyway, a cable car that will bring you up to over 11,371 feet, with many different things to do at stations along the way. The large terrace at The Pavillon The Mountain offers 180-degree views of Val Veny and Mont Blanc, along with a restaurant, bar, and boutique. At Cave Mont Blanc, you can sip the wine that’s made at high altitude, while the last station, Punta Helbronner The Sky, has a 360-degree-view panoramic terrace and a high-adrenaline attraction called Sky Vertigo, where you’ll experience the sensation of walking on air. After a day of play, you’ll find lavish hotels with stunning mountain vistas, indoor pools, and Turkish baths.

Rome Rome, Italy
Credit: Rome, Italy by Sorin Colac via Dreamstime

Rome

There are plenty of luxurious experiences to enjoy in Rome aka the Eternal City, from the usual Michelin-star dining and 5-star hotels to more unique offerings like an after-hours tour of the Vatican Museum, including an exclusive, private viewing of the Sistine Chapel and its famous ceiling painted by Michelangelo. After tossing a coin or two into Trevi Fountain and climbing the Spanish Steps, head to the Tridente area nearby, formed by three streets branching out from Piazza del Popolo, where you’ll find most of the city’s designer shops. You’ll have to enjoy an aperitivo as it’s one of the most popular traditions here, but for the best, head to The Court in Palazzo Manfredi, where you can sip creative libations and enjoy gourmet bites with an unparalleled view of the Roman Colosseum.

Florence Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence, Italy
Credit: Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence, Italy by © Noppasin Wongchum | Dreamstime.com

Florence

The capital of Tuscany and the cradle of Renaissance art, Florence is a popular destination for those with a luxury budget. You’ll find plenty of 5-star hotels and 5-star villas complete with pools and rooftop terraces, along with lots of high-end experiences. As a famous shopping destination, your options are endless, but you might want to head to the Gucci Museum in the heart of magnificent Piazza della Signoria. Dedicated to the Florentine fashion house, it hosts a permanent display of some of the most iconic Gucci designs, temporary art exhibitions, and the Icon Store. This is where you can really give your wallet a workout as the only place on Earth where certain limited edition Gucci items like silk scarves, handbags, watches, and shoes can be purchased. Afterward, you mind show off your finds while on a classic self-guided tour through the awe-inspiring landscapes of Tuscany in a restored vintage Fiat 500.

Milan Louis Vuitton boutique, Milan, Italy
Credit: Louis Vuitton boutique, Milan, Italy by © Piero Cruciatti - Dreamstime.com

Milan

Milan is renowned as Italy’s shopping capital and the international capital of fashion with residents who are dressed to impress. There is a long list of high-end designer stores, including venues at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. This is no ordinary mall, built in 1877, it’s formed by two arcades and covered by an iron and glass dome, while the walls and shopfronts are decorated with ornate paneling and stucco artwork. The incredible mosaic on the central dome represents the European, Asian, African, and American continents. In addition to the shops, there are fine dining restaurants, some helmed by celebrity chefs.

Vernazza, Cinque Terre Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy
Credit: Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy by © Olgacov - Dreamstime.com

Vernazza, Cinque Terre

Vernazza is arguably the most photogenic of the five famous Cinque Terre villages. Its desirability means accommodation is more expensive than the others and you’ll find plenty that cater to those seeking luxury. It’s also home to two beaches, providing the opportunity for time spent soaking up the sun. When it comes to exclusivity, the top thing to do is to explore Cinque Terre with your own private guide. You won’t have to worry about navigation or train schedules, your guide will do all the work while you experience the Ligurian lifestyle while traveling by train, boat, and on foot.

Porto Cervo, Costa Smeralda, Sardinia Porto Cervo, Sardinia, Italy
Credit: Porto Cervo, Sardinia, Italy by © Bernard Bialorucki - Dreamstime.com

Porto Cervo, Costa Smeralda, Sardinia

The famous resort town of Porto Cervo lies on the Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast), Sardinia’s luxury hotspot. Filled with glitz and glamour, it attracts plenty of the rich and famous with designer boutiques, upscale restaurants, and exclusive clubs. Transformed into a high-end vacation destination by Prince Karim Aga Khan, who fell in love with the area in the 1960s, in the summertime today yachts are stretched as far as the eye can see. It’s a place to enjoy world-class golfing at the prestigious Pevero Golf Club as well as spend time on gorgeous beaches, sail, dive, and snorkel, or simply relax with a cocktail while gazing at the stunning natural surroundings.

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