Villa Emi in Positano gets booked up very early - not surprising when you consider the view from the balcony of each of the five ensuite bedrooms or from one of the sofas or armchairs on the large outdoor terrace. The private pool and jacuzzi have the same spectacular view and when you factor in the convenience of being able to wander down a private path directly on to a sandy beach, stroll into Positano and gorge on a daily delivery of fresh pastries for breakfast, you can see why it remains a firm favourite.
Nearby, there is the equally scenic Sentiero degli Dei (Footpath of the Gods) to explore and boat trips around the Sorrento coastline and to Capri. One week at Villa Emi in April starts at £5100, rising to £6750 in August (sleeps 10) with www.ExpertoItaly.com. Flights:
Soak up the tranquillity of the Tuscan countryside at Casa Mira (sleeps 6), a pretty hilltop rural house with views over the Gargonza castle. Outside, there is a stunning 14m pool amidst a spacious terraced and lawned garden, whilst inside, antique furnishings, earthy colours and terracotta floors sit side by side with contemporary luxuries.
The surroundings are classic Tuscany: stroll into nearby Monte San Savino, a charming town with an attractive medieval centre, or visit the nearby towns of Arezzo and Siena. One week at Casa Mira in June starts at £2380 (sleeps 6) rising to £3080 in August with www.ExpertoItaly.com. Fly Stansted-Perugia with Ryanair.
Uber-chic design villa - Sicily
Villa Archimede (sleeps 14) is an ultra-modern villa overlooking a stunning outdoor pool with a huge decked sunbathing area. This is a great villa for large groups - six ensuite bedrooms, a very striking and equally spacious lounge, dining-room, kitchen and cinema room means ample space for everyone. Start your rental on any day of the week and get €300 worth of food shopping delivered to the villa before your arrival.
Just a short drive from the centre of Syracuse, the villa is in an excellent location for exploring the baroque towns of south east Sicily and the quiet sandy coves of the Plemmirio nature reserve. One week at Villa Archimede in April starts at £3900 (sleeps 14), rising to £6650 in August, with www.ExpertoItaly.com. Fly Gatwick-Catania with Easyjet.
ExpertoItaly offers tailor made holidays to a selection of small independent boutique hotels and villas in Sardinia, Sicily, Tuscany, the Amalfi coast and in the Italian Lakes. Further information is available from www.ExpertoItaly.com, tel. 020 7520 3100.