Hotels in Tuscany

On the grounds of the 800-year-old estate you'll find Etruscan ruins dating to 600 B.C., a 12th-century fortress, a Gothic chapel, and an amazing Lorenzetti fresco in the Chiesa di San Michele Arcangelo. But the real focus is the food and wine, of course.

A 15-room estate with canopy beds, stone fireplaces, and pasta-making classes.

More than 700 acres of rolling hills, olive groves, and grape vines surround Castello del Nero, a Tuscan castle just outside of Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, a charming Italian village south of Florence.

Call it a kind of pastoral demonstration project: parts of the property are used to raise endangered breeds of livestock, while others yield sustainably harvested wood for heating.

With more than 500 listings, the Milan-based agency has a formidable presence in Greece, Italy, and Switzerland. Most villas have live-in managers to supervise staff and services. Dream & Charme doubles as a tour operator, so booking flights and rental cars is a seamless process.

The ancient Romans took to the thermal waters here, at Tuscany's mineral-rich Terme di Petriolo, not far from Siena, and today it's the cornerstone of a health-centered resort. The spa is a serious operation, staffed with a dozen-plus medical doctors, therapists, and dieticians.