The landscape in Italy really is very hard to beat. When we think of Italy, we think of images of the beautiful blue sea with an array of colourful houses perched on the shores alongside it, the country's long and fascinating history, its delicious cuisine, unique culture and of incredible, famous architectural works such as the Colosseum and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Whether it's a romantic city break or a week at the beach with the kids you're after, there will definitely be holiday villas in Italy which suit your tastes. Located in southern Europe, the Italian peninsula stretches out into the Mediterranean Sea, giving the country on average a good climate, although it is much colder in regions around the Alps (especially during the winter!), whereas areas along the coastline tend to experience much higher temperatures. Average temperatures in Sardinia, Sicily, Rome and Venice during the summer are in the early to mid twenties, when the warmest months are July and August. It is usually warmer in the south, for example in Cantabria, and slightly cooler in the north of the country.
Head to the Ancient Capital of Rome
Rome, the capital city of Italy, is a city filled with history, as it is one of the oldest in Europe and was also the capital of the Roman Empire. Many famous artists, architects, painters and sculptors lived in Rome, and it is the country with the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the entire world. This means that there will be plenty of things to keep you occupied whilst staying in private Italy holiday rentals during your holidays in Rome. Some of the best points of interest in Rome include a trip to view the Colosseum, the great gladiatorial ampitheatre; St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, arguably the most impressive and famous church in the world, comparable only with other greats like the Cathedral in Seville; Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon, as well as many other incredible churches and religious buildings, museums and ruins, which, with a bit of imagination, will allow you to bring the Roman Empire back to life in all its former glory. Go to Vatican City, home to Saint Peter's Square (and the basilica), the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums, which hold collections of some of the most famous art, paintings, sculptures, frescos and mosaics. If you're on a family holiday in Rome, then many of these historical attractions will also provide entertainment for your children, but if you're worried the kids might get bored, make sure you break up the day with a wander through some of the city's piazzas like Piazza Navona and Piazza del Popolo and stop of for a gelato and of course a pizza for lunch! Also places such as Villa Borghese gardens offer lots to keep the kids interested. Once you've had a tiring day exploring the ancient sites of the city, take a dip in the swimming pool at your apartment, or if you don't have one, how about heading to the beach? You can take a train to most of the nearby seaside towns cheaply, and it only takes from 30-40 minutes to an hour, or if you book holiday rentals in Italy nearby in one of the provinces to the west of Rome, it will be even closer! Some of the best beaches near Rome are Santa Marinella, Anzio Maccarese and Sperlonga.
Travel to Italy's Islands – Beaches in Sardinia and Sicily
Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, just below the French island of Corsica is the Italian isle of Sardinia. If you're looking for an island getaway this summer, book one of the holiday villas in Italy in Sardinia, as this small isle is the perfect place to experience some really authentic Italian culture. Life here is mainly based around the island's crystal-clear water, as there are few big, urban cities and a lot of the coastline is fairly untouched. This means that there are plenty of watersports on offer for adults and children alike, such as sailing and snorkelling to discover the underwater world. An exciting activity is taking a visit to Neptune's Grotto near the town of Alghero. If you're into diving, there's also one of the Mediterranean's largest underwater caves very close by, Nereo's Cave. The island is inhabited by pink flamingos, so go to Molentargius Pond or Santa Gilla Lagoon to see them in their natural habitat. Given that this is an island, there are over 1000km of coastline, meaning that there are plenty of beaches for you to discover. Many of these are wilder, unknown stretches of sand which – if you're lucky - you can have all to yourself for total privacy. Make sure you cook some food in your self catering rental property and head to a quiet stretch of coast for a picnic and that extra luxury paradise-island feel! For another island vacation, head to Sicily, the slightly larger isle situated at the toe of Italy's boot. Visit the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento and the Church of Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio in Palermo, and of course don't miss out on the beautiful beaches here too!
Venice – the Floating City
The entire city of Venice is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and no wonder, with its canals, hundreds of bridges and stunning architecture, it is often considered as one of the most romantic cities in Europe. Venice is mainly famous for monuments such as Doge's Palace, Rialto Bridge over the Grand Canal and St. Mark's Square, which houses the incredible St. Mark's Basilica whose interior is covered with intricate golden-hued mosaics, as well as the gondolas which glide through the city's waterways. Some other attractions Venice has on offer include climbing to the top of the city's tallest building, the Campanile, for an (almost) bird's eye view of the Queen of the Adriatic, as well as several other churches and many museums such as the Penny Guggenheim Collection and the Ca' Rezzonico. If you book Italy holiday rentals in Venice, you're sure to be won over by its charm and beauty.
Italian Lakeside Getaways
If the kind of thing you're after this summer are Italy luxury holidays, head to the picturesque Italian lake district. Lake Garda is the largest in Italy, and with its beautiful blue waters, the green of its olive and lemon groves and a backdrop of the mountains, is also a favoured holiday destination for many visitors to self catering holiday villas in Italy. There are many towns and villages around the edge of this lake, some of the most popular being Bardonlino (famous for its wine), Desenzano, Riva, Malcesine and Limone. Sirmione is the peninsula which juts out into the south of Lake Garda and is also home to 2 spa complexes. Other stunning lakes in Italy include Lake Como (well known for being the location of George Clooney's lakeside villa), Maggiore, and Trasimeno, both of which have small inhabited islands such as Isola Maggiore on Trasimeno and Isola die Pescatori on Maggiore. The lakes in Italy are the perfect destination for family holidays, as there are plenty of activities avalable on the water (for exmaple sailing, snorkelling, kitesurfing and windsurfing) and alongside it, such as walking, mountain biking, climbing and paragliding. It is possible to swim in the lakes too, and most of them have shingle and some sand beaches scattered around their shores for you to have a lie down and relax, and there are many private beaches if you're looking for something more luxury.
Ski Holidays in Italy
Italy is not just a destination for those seeking sun, sea and sand, as the mountainous regions such as the Dolomites and the Alps which stretch over 8 countries including France, Switzerland and Slovenia provide the perfect slopes for winter sports. Italy has some great off-piste skiing in areas such as Alagna, which is a very picturesque small village, and is more suitable for those who are already advanced skiers, although there are some other nearby resorts which offer more intermediate pistes if you can't hack it! If you're here for a family ski holiday, then perhaps somewhere like Prato Nevoso, Passo Tonale or Cervinia would be better for you, where there are areas aimed at beginners as well as skiing and snowboarding schools so children (and adults) can take lessons if they're not yet confident.