Villas in Italy for activity holidays
Self-catering accommodation for adventure, activity & special interest holidays in Italy

The focus of the Travel-Quest site is on activity and special interest holidays, our accommodation sections are there to help you find all types of accommodation to complete your activity holiday when it's not provided as part of a package or when you want to create your own DIY activity break. This section looks at self-catering villas in Italy for this sort of holiday.


Italy is a popular holiday destination with as much diversity in rental properties as in the landscape, culture, cities and activities of the country itself. From Alpine ski chalets in the mountains of the North, to modern villas on sun drenched Mediterranean beaches in the South. Stay in slick city apartments in fabulous vibrant cities like Rome, Venice, Naples, Florence and Milan; or in restored farmhouses, rustic Tuscan villas, ancient trusilli or medieval towers.


Cultural, activity and special interest holidays

Italy is a feast of a country packed with history, culture, art, fashion, mountains, lakes, coastlines and beautiful countryside; not to mention the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. With such diversity it offers opportunities for almost any creative, special interest or active holiday, from winter sports to water sports and from viewing ancient art to viewing the latest fashions; any or all of these can be done in a do-it-yourself fashion from a self-catered base.


Italian property types

There are many different options for self-catering rentals in Italy; what follows is a summary of the most common Italian property types you'll come across in your searches:

• Appartamento – an apartment or flat; sometimes also described by number of rooms: Monolocale – a studio; Bilocale – two roomed; and Trilocale – three roomed.

• Mansarda – a maisonette.
• Attico – an attic apartment or flat.
• Residence/ApartHotel – a self-catering apartment that's within a hotel.

• Casa – is the generic term for a house or home.

• Casa canonica – a house attached to a church, often the vicarage, minister or priests home.

• Casa bifamiliare – semi-detached property (duplex).

• Casa padronale – a large country house, manor or estate house.

• Casa colonica – a farmhouse.

• Casetta – a small house, sometimes a small farmhouse.

• Castello – a castle.

• Palazzo – originally a palace or mansion. This term is now used for any very large building, even for large apartment buildings or large town houses.



• Trullo – Trulli are the traditional huts of Puglia's Itria Valley, built with dry stone walls and distinctive conical roofs. They have become very popular in recent times and you will now find many restored and converted into holiday accommodation, see below.

• Villa – common usage in relation to holiday homes is a detached house with a garden or land. These may be old traditional-style buildings or modern new builds. The original villas were country estates built by the Romans, the term then went on to be used to describe any large luxurious house. The description is still often used to imply luxury accommodation, but you'll find almost any detached holiday home described as a villa these days!



• Tuscan villa – a villa in Tuscany! The archetypal Tuscan villa is a large country house, but these days the term refers to more modest houses and some use the description for any property in the Tuscan countryside. A traditional Tuscan villa will be an old building with characteristic features like stone walls, travertine arches and ceilings with exposed wooden beams.

• Villino – a cottage or small house with garden.


Unusual self-catering accommodation in Italy

Italy has its share of unusual places to stay from self-catering watermills to castles and cliff-edge tower-houses, some are listed on the accommodation search page», or try our unique accommodation guides» for ideas. A couple of special mentions go to trulli and towers, see below.


San Gimignano Towers, TuscanyRent an Italian tower: High in the lists of unusual Italian holiday accommodation are towers of many different types, ages and styles, often medieval and usually defensive. You'll find may of these in our towers section as well as on the general search pages. Of particular note are the tall thin medieval towers found in San Gimignano in Siena, Tuscany. This small city is famous for its medieval architecture, its towers in particular, 14 of its original 72 towers survive and it's possible to rent holiday accommodation in one or two of them.


Rent a trullo: In the Itria Valley in the region of Puglia in Southern Italy, you'll find some distinctive and unique holiday homes. Trulli are stone-built whitewashed, usually circular buildings, with conical stone roofs. The town of Alberobello has the highest concentration of these, but they can be found all over the Itria Valley. Alberobello is now designated a World Heritage Site and more information about the village and the trulli themselves can be found on the World Heritage website. Original trulli were constructed centuries ago, built as humble abodes for farm workers or for the storage of wine and grain. Today trulli have become very sought after and, in contrast to their humble beginnings, many have been transformed into luxurious holiday homes. As the stock of derelict buildings reduces, we also find new trulli being built in traditional style, using traditional building techniques. Find a trullo to rent on our search pages.


For a fast search try our booking engines for self-catering accommodation in Italy. But we've also got reviews and links to privately owned villas, apartments, cottages and holiday houses that can be booked direct with the owner.