The Italian countryside is best experienced from a medieval castle. The intricate passageways that lead through hidden gardens and historic stonework are matched only by the serene view of olive trees and idyllic vineyards. A castle hideaway harkens back to old-world luxury, yet you’ll find that most castellos these days are updated with modern, five-star amenities. Needless to say, the medieval landowners sure would’ve liked that heated outdoor jacuzzi on the terrace.
When you’re planning your next Italian vacation, consider renting one of these country castles:
Lush, luxurious, and offering views of the sea beyond the countryside, Castle Mago is a magical Italian castello experience. The Siena castle, once home to Leopold II, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, feels wildly secluded, hidden from plain sight by rows of pines and cypress trees. A 10-minute drive from the coast, you have the best of the Tuscan beaches and wineries at Castle Mago. The lavish interiors feature heirlooms and antiques, and the property has three double bedrooms, six suites, and one master suite. To rent: Oliver’s Travels; $2,400/night.
Castello di Montegiove
Castello di Montegiove is actually split into multiple rentals, so you can choose the part of the castle that best suits your vacation style and needs. The 12th-century Tuscan castle was restored in the 17th century by the noted Acciaioli family. Approximately 12 miles from Florence and 45 miles from Pisa, staying within the expansive castle means surrounding yourself by acres upon acres of vineyards and olive trees. It’s a true Tuscan castle escape with multiple courtyards, terraces, gardens, a belltower, and a pool. On VRBO, the Olive Mill (with three bedrooms) and the Villa Osbert (four bedrooms) are both available for rent within the castle. To rent: VRBO; price dependent on chosen accommodation.
A Sicilian castle with an enormous pool and views of the sea, visit the southern Italian town of Stazzo to stay at Castello Claves. Built toward the end of the 19th century, the castle has a distinctive Art Nouveau feel. The castle has five bedrooms, some with views of the sea or Mount Etna. On the castle grounds, guests will find a park that spans half a hectare and has a stunning lawn and a charming lemon orchard. While the castle rental is private—and the space can host 10 people—an elderly couple, descended from the castle’s original owners, still live on the property. To rent: Airbnb; $910/night.
If you saw the final season of Game of Thrones and thought to yourself, “I wish I could oven fire a pizza in the dungeon where they kept the dragons,” Villa Collina has you covered. Not only is this 11th-century Tuscan property surrounded by olive groves and vineyards, but there's also an outdoor brick pizza oven that will satiate your entire party of 18. An outdoor pool, open seasonally, has sweeping views of the Tuscan countryside. Plus, on-site staff will lay out your breakfast every morning. To rent: Inspirato; price upon request.
Available for rent on VRBO, Mugnana Castle can sleep 14 to 25 people between the main castle and the “medieval tower” in the castle courtyard. In the Chianti Classico region of Tuscany, the area offers easy access to Florence, which is just nine miles away. The authentic medieval castle dates back at least 1,000 years and has eight bedrooms, an expansive courtyard, a swimming pool, and even a chapel. You’ll want to spend time just roaming the grounds and exploring different passages within the castle. To rent: VRBO; $948/night.
Torre Saracena Di Maiori
There are few things more romantic than an Italian seaside castle. Torre Saracena di Maiori can host 12 guests in six bedrooms. The bedrooms all offer a separated, secluded feel—and each room has its own amenities. Some come with a private terrace or an outdoor shower, while others feature full views of the sea. One of the property’s best features is the multi-level pools. To rent: Ville In Italia, $13,150 to $21,000/week.