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Best Villa Rental Agencies 2010

Merv Griffin estate, Palm Springs, CA

Photo: Courtesy of Palm Springs Rental Agency

Italy

The Best in Italy

Best For: Exclusives; local connections

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.

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.

Standout: A 16th-century manor with five bedrooms built by the bishop of Fiesole ($20,000 a week). 39-055/233-064; thebestinitaly.com.

Think Sicily

Best For: Exclusives; regional expertise; special excursions

The group’s 80 listings are pure fantasy, and Think Sicily’s strict standards ensure every villa is up to snuff.

What We Love: Unique outings, such as helicopter flights over Mount Etna, wine-tasting trips, and in-villa spa treatments.

Standout: Don Arcangelo all’Olmo, a 12-bedroom manor in the countryside between the sea and Mount Etna ($50,850 a week).

What’s Next: January saw the launch of Think Puglia, from the same company, with a handful of properties on the fashionable Salento Peninsula. 44-20/7377-8518; thinksicily.com.

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