Unmissable summer destinations for connoisseurs of luxury
1. Luxury Italian holidays on Lake Como
At the foot of the Alps, vast clear lakes lie beneath the hills; coves cradle picturesque towns rich in history and extraordinary architecture. We are in Lombardy, and here lies one of Italy's most sophisticated and luxurious summer destinations: Lake Como.
Take the funicular from Como to Brunate, admire the 15th-century Duomo di Como or hop on a boat to see historic mansions from the calm surface of the lake.
Perched on the hills above Lake Como, and poised at its edge, are grand villas surrounded by enchanting gardens perfect for romantic walks.
The more adventurous can follow beautiful mountain trails and admire breathtaking views, while those in search of relaxation can be lulled by the breeze of the Breva and Tivano, the two winds that blow here.
For a dream holiday, stay at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo, a historic residence and luxury hotel right on Lake Como, with a swimming pool and beautiful gardens.
2. Luxury Italian holidays in Val d'Orcia
The Val d'Orcia is one of Italy's most beautiful landscapes and for many is the highlight of any self-respecting tour of Tuscany.
The Val d'Orcia is most famous for its fascinating landscapes. Endless fields, fantastic viewpoints, picturesque cypress avenues, beautiful panoramic roads and enchanting villages with Renaissance buildings: here you will find the classic Tuscany, well-known from all the famous photos and magazines, leaving its visitors speechless. Since 2004, it has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List for its special attributes, and with good reason.
On a road trip along the scenic route, you will visit charming mediaeval villages, such as Pienza, Montepulciano and Montalcino, and sample some of the best red wines in the world; and then there are thick forests, hot springs, cypress avenues and some of the best agritourisms, making your holiday a unique experience.
The icing on the cake is a stay at the Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco, the idyllic Tuscan resort that took first place in the ranking of the authoritative American travel magazine Travel + Leisure.
3. Luxury Italian holidays, on the Amalfi Coast and Capri
The Amalfi Coast blurs the boundaries between reality and utopia. There is something paradoxical about this stretch of coastline: its winding roads plummet into the sea on one side, and circle steep cliffs on the other; its towns tumble down hills; the heights that line this stretch of coastline are frightening, yet somehow there is a gentle charm that is so enchanting. Perhaps it is the colour of the towns or the warmth of the welcome, but beauty is a characteristic of everyday life.
Positano is the still image of a bygone era: bright pink, orange and yellow houses cascade down the mountainside to frame the town's two beaches. From above, the beach is lined with rows of colourful parasols. At night, the town is lit up with the warm glow of streetlamps and lanterns.
Follow the winding Strada Statale 163 through picture-postcard villages, from Positano to Ravello. Savour the local cuisine; and in Positano, try the freshest fish in a seaside restaurant.
For a luxurious stay, head to Hotel Santa Caterina, with its sea-view terrace, swimming pool and truly unique hospitality.
Venture across the Tyrrhenian Sea from the Sorrento Peninsula for a day exploring the natural wonders of Capri. The rugged landscape is home to many thrills, including the famous Blue Grotto, where sunlight filters through a submerged entrance, casting an iridescent blue glow over the cavern.
4. Luxury Italian holidays in Costa Smeralda
Lying on the white sands of the Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast), with the zephyr ruffling your hair, one cannot help but be enraptured by the inimitable and picturesque north-eastern coast of Sardinia.
The fact that the Costa Smeralda is one of the best summer holiday destinations in Italy is no coincidence. Here you will find idyllic beaches nestled between rugged landscapes and lively towns where you can spend your holidays and enjoy unforgettable experiences in relaxation, taking in the culture and entertainment.
Stroll through the fascinating authentic town of Porto Cervo, where glitz and glamour abound in the form of boutiques and restaurants. Or, discover the island's past in the historic city of Olbia.
For an unforgettable holiday, you can stay at the Grand Hotel Poltu Quatu, an exclusive hidden harbour, as the name suggests in Gallura dialect, with five-star service.