Luxury: which image do you picture? Something unmissable, timeless, precious, like these 7 ideas for luxury vacations to spend in Italy.
Luxury is a multi-faceted idea, even when it comes to travel. Luxury can be as much about a lavish evening in an aristocratic palace as it can be about a week on a millionaire's yacht. For some, luxury is still different, and translates into the richness of a view or an experience.
In this article, we will reconcile all these opinions, selecting 7 places in Italy where you can experience vacations that represent, without a shadow of a doubt, the quintessence of luxury.
7. Timeless history and beautiful sea, in the beautiful Taormina, Sicily
Mt Etna and Taormina as seen from the Ancient Theatre of Taormina (photo taken by John Menard from Phoenix, USA)
What best describes the charm of this city, nestled on the north-eastern coast of Sicily?
Perhaps we could start by saying that it is a place steeped in two timeless cultures, first Greek and then Roman, which left behind one of their most enduring symbols: the Ancient Theater of Taormina. A symbol of the town and of Sicily as a whole, it is a favorite location for shows and theatrical events that reach their peak of splendor in the summer evenings. The background of the theater is another of Italy's magnificent symbols: Mount Etna, which has been looking down on Taormina and its bay from time immemorial.
And if your eyes demand peace from the succession of wonderful views of the sea, perhaps a walk and a dip in the crystal-clear waters of Giardini Naxos will be a new and inebriating refreshment.
6. Cortina d'Ampezzo, the Queen of Luxury in the Dolomites
And from Sicily's highest peak, to the UNESCO World Heritage peaks of the Dolomites.
The beautiful Cortina d'Ampezzo, almost on the border with Trentino Alto Adige, is the symbol of fashionable clubs, fancy restaurants, luxurious hotels and designer shops that line the streets one after the other. A very small town, nestled in a valley protected by peaks of a beauty that can leave you stunned.
Cortina is marvelous at any time of year, but even more during winter, when the snow gives tourists and expert skiers a fairy-tale look.
Certainly a good calling card for the 2026 Winter Olympics.
5. Versilia: the symbol of luxury travels in Tuscany
Cited in D'Annunzio's poems, the sylvan atmosphere of Versilia's pine forests shone with charm.
Decades later, this part of Tuscany has changed a great deal and the towns from Viareggio to Forte dei Marmi are the symbol of luxury vacations in Italy. Long sandy beaches fading into clear waters, the discos and trendy clubs that chronicled the glittering life of the VIPs of the 1970s.
But this is also the place of the famous International Festival of Satire, held every year in Forte dei Marmi, and of the colorful Viareggio Carnival, whose allegorical floats are among the largest in the world.
If, however, we are looking for more intimate luxury, then a little further inland, Pietrasanta, the capital of marble working since the Renaissance, is the right place for us.
4. The Emerald Coast in Sardinia: luxury vacations that need no introduction
Once in Olbia, you'll be spoilt for choice. The resorts of the Costa Smeralda are iconic and well-known in every corner of the globe: from the paradise of elite tourism, Porto Cervo, to Cala di Volpe, set of some scenes in 007, The Spy Who Loved Me.
Until a few decades ago, the area was wild and rugged, but over time it became a shining example of tourism respecting the territory. The best architects dedicated themselves to building buildings that were in harmony with the Mediterranean maquis. In no time at all, the island became a glamorous destination for movie and Hollywood stars, entrepreneurs and celebrities.
And who knows whether the aptly-named Costa Smeralda refers to the splendor of its waters or to the glitz of the hotels and clubs that have found their raison d'être here.
3. The Amalfi Coast: the panorama that becomes an incredible experience
The city that gives its name to one of the places that have made Italian excellence known throughout the world, is Amalfi, one of the former maritime republics.
So beautiful that it has been called 'The Divine', this natural paradise has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997. And certainly not without reasons.
Along the scenic Strada Statale 163 Amalfitana, a series of small villages unravel, perched on one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, where the scent of lemons and salt will be the perfect backdrop to start discovering this land.
Whether you want to explore the Coast from land or sea, don't forget its most famous jewels: Amalfi and Positano, where the luxury of hotels and restaurants will provide the perfect backdrop for trips into Italy's most breathtaking nature.
And how could we forget that not far from here, the beautiful and glamorous Capri shines over the sea?
2. Como Lake: luxury vacations for VIPs
Among the most popular Italian destinations for VIPs, Lake Como is one of the best, now as in the past.
Whether it is to enjoy the peace and quiet in the recesses of centuries-old villas, or to spend a few days in elegant hotels, the green beauty of the Italian lake tells of luxury escapes in the name of privacy.
About 150 kilometers of worth-visiting coastline are ready to be discovered. From Laglio, which magnificent villas are designated as residences for overseas stars or as sets for Hollywood movies, to world-wide known towns, like Bellagio and Cernobbio.
Lake Como is not only a destination for elite tourists, but it is also the perfect place for first-class art exhibitions, villa gardens open to the public and enchanting villages.
And while the Lecco area will be preferred for quick excursions, the Como area is chosen for more permanent stays. In any case, whichever place you visit, it will be easy to see why luxury travel in Italy always passes through there, through 'that branch of the Como Lake', like the incipit of 'The Betrothed' by Manzoni so well explains.
1. In Liguria, Portofino is the best symbol of luxury vacations
The arrival in the Ligurian Riviera is already a magnificent journey in itself. Nestled between the mountains and the sea, Portofino and Santa Margherita Ligure welcome visitors with their beautiful beaches and seductive villas.
Castles, abbeys and wrecks are wrapped in a lush, exuberant yet harmonious nature. The peace of these places is cadenced by the lapping of the waves, the passing of the boats and the cheerful vitality that characterizes every seaside town.
And when everything seems to be understood and that there is nothing else left to discover...
Here, all of a sudden, a hidden cove of olive and chestnut trees is discovered.
And, in fact, when you reach the extreme point of the promontory and leave Santa Margherita Ligure behind, your gaze can finally embrace the small bay of Portofino. So quiet and peaceful, this elegant town with its beautiful pastel colors is the symbol of the Dolce Vita.
Right there, between those waters and those gentle slopes, our idea of luxury travel will certainly be regenerated.