When you dream of an Italian villa vacation, it probably goes something like this:
You wake up in the morning in your homey but spacious villa with picture-perfect views of the Italian countryside. After a few minutes of gazing at the rolling hills and flowering gardens while the kids take a quick dip in the pool, you grab a wicker basket, walk into town, head to the outdoor market for fresh vegetables and bread, browse the local craft shops, enjoy a cappuccino (or gelato), and then head back to your manse to prepare a delicious dinner that you’ll enjoy with friends and family al fresco on your terrace. All without getting into a car.
But this could never happen right? Finding a villa that meets the needs of every member of your family is challenge enough. Finding one within walking distance of a charming village where you can accomplish all of the above—that’s the holy grail. We’ve got news for you: We’ve found it.
With the help of Mara Solomon, our Trusted Travel Expert for Large-Group Villa Vacations in Italy (read her Insider’s Guide to Italian Villa Vacations), we’ve rounded up a few villas that are within walking distance to a village. For more info on any of these—and even more options—contact Mara using this form to be marked as a VIP. (Smaller families or groups needing smaller homes and less elaborate arrangements should Ask Wendy instead.)
Castello di Panzano, Chianti, Tuscany
The Chianti hill town of Panzano is just ten minutes away from this five-suite castle. Stroll in for the Sunday morning market and several good restaurants run by local man-about-town Dario the Butcher. (Shop for his seasoned salts, house-made condiments and jarred Mostarda too.) Back at home, explore the garden and olive grove, exercise on the tennis court, cool off in the heated pool, or just relax and let the onsite staff take care of you.
La Pinciana, Maremma, Tuscany
Turn left out of your gate, stroll along a little-used road, and you’ll emerge in the charming medieval village of Capalbio, where you can climb the ramparts for 360-degree views of the Maremma scenery, or take in one of the chamber music concerts the town hosts during the summer. Another short walk from the villa takes you to the beach. Though to be fair, you might not want to leave the house at all: there’s an on-site winery and you can arrange a guided tasting.
Villa Sola Cabiati, near Bellagio, Lake Como
The villa itself is a historic mansion with history dating back to the 1600s, when it was purchased by a descendant of Charles II, King of Naples. Today all the regal detail remains—six bedrooms, six and a half bathrooms, silk-draped beds, a priceless porcelain collection, frescoes—and a staff will treat you like royalty. The waterfront village of Tremezzo is five minutes away on foot, or you can hop in a boat (from your own private dock) and be in Bellagio in 15 minutes.
Villa Licosa, near Paestum, Amalfi
The whole family (or two or three) can fit in this seven-bedroom villa, which has plenty of activities to keep everyone busy outside: kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, a bocce court, a ping-pong table, and nearby tennis, snorkeling, scuba diving, and more. The house itself is steps from the Tyrrhenian Sea, and a seaside path takes you into the village of Ogliastro for restaurants, bars, and beach clubs. You can also bike there on an accessible, flat road—or ride your two wheels a bit farther to San Marco.