B&Bs and Villas in Italy: Our Favourites

B&Bs and Villas in Italy: Our Favourites

Our favourite places to stay in Italy, including a medieval castle, city B&Bs, island escapes and rural family villas from all around Italy. There are stunning locations in places you may not have heard of...

Beach, Palmaria island, Ligurian coast, Italy   
Beach life on Palmaria island, Liguria. Photograph: Alamy

La Casa del Pescatore B&B, Palmaria island, Liguria

The garden and terrace have stunning views day and night – you can gaze across the bay while you enjoy your generous breakfast. There’s a private beach and if you need to get back to the mainland, ferries are frequent and cheap – not that you’ll need to worry about timetables as Andrea the owner will run you back and forth in his dinghy (with his dog on the prow). The one restaurant on Palmaria, Locanda Lorena, is excellent – check out the wall of celebrities the chef has cooked for.
Doubles from €110 B&B, palmariaisland.com
More about Liguria


Castello di Potentino, near Montalcino, Tuscany

castello di potentino

This stunning medieval castle built on Etruscan foundations is now owned by English siblings. As well as hosting guests in regal rooms looking out over the surrounding hills, the castle is a functioning vineyard. Stay there in luxury, sampling the home-made wines and rich local food under the setting sun. Or do as I did and spend some time volunteering: helping with wine-making while still having time to enjoy the hill-top pool. If you’re lucky you might even catch an evening quartet on the terrace.
Doubles from €150 B&B, potentino.com
More about Tuscany


Casa Renata, near Viterbo, Lazio

Casa Renata, near Viterbo, Lazio

Our children still talk about our trip to northern Lazio as being the best holiday ever. Villa Renata on the outskirts of Soriano nel Cimino has views from the pool up to the floodlit castle of Soriano at night. Nearby are stunning hilltop villages such as Bagnoregio, chestnut forests and Renaissance gardens with a faded charm, and fountains that are real feats of engineering (Villa d’Este). The area feels unspoiled – just as beautiful as Tuscany or Umbria but quieter. Our favourite visit was to Parco dei Mostri – a fantasy world of sculptures and monsters in a wood; quirky and fascinating, it was like nothing we have seen before or since.
From €946 a week, sleeps 6, ownersdirect.co.uk
More about Lazio


Hotel du Lac, Bellagio, Lake Como

hote du lac

Start the day with breakfast on the first-floor veranda waiting for the sun to peep through the mountains and light up the lake. End it on the roof garden, sipping coffee and grappa and watching the necklaces of lights across the water. Opposite the ferry terminal from which boats connect the lake’s pretty towns, Hotel du Lac is a charming family-run three-star hotel with a calm atmosphere – a perfect retreat from which to enjoy beautiful Bellagio with its restaurants and bars.
Doubles from €130 B&B, bellagiohoteldulac.com

Albergo Bernini B&B, Siena

The view from Siena's Albergo Bernini
Siena’s Albergo Bernini

Arrive by train, take the escalator to the very top, enter hilltop Siena through the Porta Camollia, enjoy a short walk into the old town and, down a side street, a stone’s throw from Il Campo, is an unassuming door. Inside, Daniella or one of her daughters will welcome you to the Albergo Bernini, a family-run B&B. The rooms are cool, spotless, airy and traditional. The terrace, with views over the rooftops to the Duomo, is a delight, either for breakfast or with a glass of wine on a warm evening. No frills, just a great place for exploring Siena.
Doubles from €65 room-only, breakfast €9pp, albergobernini.com
More about Siena


Sei Camini villa, Marche

Sei Camini, Italy  

We had a fantastic family holiday at this charming renovated villa near Monte San Martino last year – huge gardens, amazing views, lovely pool. The owners were delightful and helpful. The villa is in the foothills of the Sibillini mountains but under an hour from great beaches, and is secluded and relaxing. There’s a fantastic pizza restaurant close by and lots of medieval hill villages to explore, but best of all it was amazing value for money compared with other places we have stayed in Italy.
From €1,400 a week, sleeps up to 13, marche-italy-villas.com

Hotel La Sommita, Ostuni, Puglia

Hotel La Sommita, Ostuni, Puglia  

Ostuni is a cluster of beautiful white buildings clinging to a hilltop overlooking the Adriatic and fields of olive trees. We stayed in Hotel La Sommita, at the top of a very narrow alley that can only be reached by foot or by the hotel’s auto-rickshaw. This boutique spa hotel has chic decor and a fine restaurant. We stayed in a suite spread over two levels, with views of the countryside and sea, and a huge hot tub bath.
Doubles from €127.50 B&B, lasommita.it
More about Puglia


B&B Epos, Acitrezza, Sicily

B&B Epos, Acitrezza (CT, Sicily)

This is an utterly charming B&B in a lovely small town on the coast at the foot of Etna with plenty of restaurants and bars nearby. It’s beautifully decorated, with a gorgeous little courtyard for breakfast, which includes cannoli and other homemade pastry-based deliciousness. The owner was helpful and had infinite patience with two English fools (us) who thought they could navigate the Catania ringroad without satnav. Excellent value, and a great place to stay particularly if you’re heading to Etna, but don’t fancy staying in busy Catania or Taormina.
Doubles from €45 B&B, bbepos.it
More about Sicily


Hotel Martello, Lampedusa, Pelagie Islands

Hotel Martello, Lampedusa

Lampedusa, currently at the centre of the Mediterranean migrant crisis, warrants our support. Hotel Martello, above the port, was restful, with pleasing rooms and excellent facilities. It proved a great base for diving and sailing trips and for exploring the fishing port and its beautiful boats. The starkly poignant Monument to Migrants Lost at Sea on a headland above Porto Vecchio, is worth a visit too. 

Half-board from €50pppn, hotelmartello.it


La Mammola B&B, Positano, Amalfi coast

La Mammola B&B, Positano, Amalfi Coast

We stayed in an immaculate, spacious suite here, just five minutes’ walk up the narrow winding street from the beach. Breakfast arrives on the large flower-decked terrace, with glorious views down over the bay and up over the hillside – and the coffee keeps coming. If you’ve braved the tortuous, narrow winding roads there’s private parking 100 metres away; otherwise there are buses to neighbouring towns and hillside walks. Or of course, you could just sit on the terrace.
Doubles from €60 B&B, lamammola.com


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