The Enduring Allure of Europe's Villas

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Western Europe is a brilliant kaleidoscope of intertwining yet distinct cultures, all imbued in history, culture, gastronomy, art, and architecture – always a pleasure to visit, even more satisfying to call home. Imagine waking up in Capri to the sound of crashing Mediterranean waves or taking in the incredible Catalonian designs of Gaudí over lunch, or poring over paintings by Vermeer and Rembrandt in Holland. With spectacular settings and contemporary designs that seamlessly integrate a touch of antiquity, there is a vibrant, timeless allure to European villas.

 
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ITALY | VILLA BISMARK, CAPRI

Sitting pretty on the ruins of a Roman Palace,Villa Bismarck has been home to generations of painters, musicians, and composers as far back as the 18th century. Look out onto the Bay of Naples and the Sorrento peninsula from pristine gardens that extend all the way to the sea below. Take a dip in the pool on the outdoor terrace, or lounge on your own private dock with its beachside Jacuzzi. Inside, panoramic views are framed by six-meter vaulted ceilings. The historic circular library and adjacent lounge provide an ideal place to read—though you may prefer to take your book to the master suite and curl up by its vast windows, looking out over the majestic port.

 
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FRANCE | "LA FAVORITE", COTE D'AZUR

This exclusive French villa, built in 1880, leaves no question that the Belle-Époque was aptly named. Its pristine white exterior has been expertly persevered from its original construction, and speaks to a lavish, old-world opulence—yet through its stately entrance way you’ll find an open, airy living space that’s as comfortable as it is contemporary. With two large terraces, two swimming pools, and landscaped parklands with all-encompassing views of the bay and Lérins Islands, this home exemplifies villa living on the Côte d’Azur. It comes complete with two extra houses—one for guests, and another for your own gym and studio.

 
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HOLLAND | VILLA PRUNUSHOEVE, LOOSDRECHT

Architect Menno Ongering’s secluded villa on the “Silent Lake” in Loosdrecht combines a classic cottage style with a tasteful minimalist aesthetic. Across four hectares, two small islands, and a private boathouse, you’ll have plenty of time for your favorite Netherlands pastime: biking leisurely through the grounds. In fact, this home was made for an active lifestyle, with its air-conditioned gym, indoor swimming pool, and two underground garages that can accommodate 20 cars. The modern-classical interior is characteristic of designer Piet Boon, whose style seeks cohesion among warm woods, and natural stone, and stainless steel.

 
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ITALY | CAMIGLIANO, CAPANNORI, LUCCA

Nothing says “European villa” quite like this historic Italian estate, located in tranquil, verdant Lucca. Living in such a majestic home, with its Romanesque architecture and magnificent framed paintings, you’ll feel like a patron of the Renaissance era. The house includes five fully renovated apartments, as well as four hectares of land. A large limonaia adds a charming accent to this country home’s air of antiquity, and 2,000 olive trees grow on the grounds. Ensconced in its vivid green paradise, this private villa provides all the history, nature, and culture you could ask for.

 
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CROATIA | PALAZZO RESIDENCE, ZAGREB

Tucked away just far enough from urban crowds, the location of this exclusive villa is unlike any other: it offers easy access to the Croatian capital of Zagreb, the town of Samobor, and the Adriatic Sea, as well as the borders with Slovenia, Italy, and Austria. The home truly is a food-lover’s dream: the 35,000 square meter property includes vineyards, orchards and seasonal vegetable gardens—as well as staff to tend them. There is an apiary where homemade honeys and marmalades are prepared, a free-range hen house, a chef-grade kitchen that comes complete with cheese and prosciutto drying spaces, and a 300 square meter wine cellar. There’s no shortage of after dinner entertainment either: you can catch a movie in the home theatre, enjoy a Turkish bath, or head out to the two-hole driving range.

 
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ITALY | FIRENZE, FLORENCE

Set in a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its fascinating history and unique landscape, this hilltop villa overlooks the city of Florence and the surrounding Arno Valley. Altogether, the property encompasses seven hectares of rich parklands and six buildings that epitomize the area’s rustic beauty. The main house is a masterpiece, with three storeys, nine living rooms, and 10 bedrooms across 1,400 square meters. The wooden beams of the sky-high ceilings are complemented by the warmly-colored floors and the charming traditional design of the doors and windows throughout.