The Best in Italy
Many of the 80 gems offered by Florence-based Countess Simonetta Brandolini d’Adda are owned by her friends. She has visited all the properties and regularly spends the night, so you know they’re up to her very high standards.
Best For: Exclusives; local connections
What We Love: Want to taste wine with the owners of Antinori or Frescobaldi, or meet the jockeys behind the scenes at the palio in Siena? The countess can make it happen.
Properties From: $11,326 a week
Standout Rental: A 16th-century manor with five bedrooms built by the bishop of Fiesole ($20,000 a week). 39-055/223-064; thebestinitaly.com.
This group’s 93 listings are pure fantasy. Strict standards ensure that every villa is of the highest quality—with prices to match.
Best For: Exclusives; regional expertise; special excursions
What We Love: Unique outings, such as helicopter flights over Mount Etna, wine-tasting trips, and in-villa spa treatments. In 2009 the company launched Think Puglia, with a handful of properties on the fashionable Salentine Peninsula.
Properties From: $2,600 a week
Standout Rental: Don Arcangelo all’Olmo, a 12-bedroom manor in the countryside between the sea and Mount Etna (from $21,410 a week). 800/490-1107; thinksicily.com.
Suzanne B. Cohen & Associates
The firm’s specialists thoroughly interview all
potential clients before steering them to any of their
395 cottages and manor houses. Additional listings include Italian options.
Best For: Attentive service
What We Love: Every property is managed by the same exacting company, so you can expect consistency.
Properties From: $1,130 a week
Standout Rental: The Gates, a three-bedroom, stone-walled house in the village of Castle Combe, near the Cotswolds ($2,040 a week). 207/622-0743; villaeurope.com.