On the Amalfi coasts steep, rocky hillside south of the Sorrento peninsula, this smart, exclusive villa (near the home of Italian film director Franco Zeffirelli) overlooks a dizzying series of terraces which lead to a sunbathing deck with swimming ladder (a 10-minute walk from the house). From here you can swim off the rocks or hire.
Water taxis to visit the cliff-clinging town of Positano with its MoorishTstyle houses and maze of staircases and narrow alleys, a place you should visit in late spring or early autumn if you want to enjoy the town before the crowds descend. In July or August, you may prefer to view it from the villa's covered terrace that, by night, has superb views of the town lights, bay and distant headlands. This villa best suits a group of sophisticated adults looking for a week of indulgent living and gentle sightseeing (the steep drops are no good for small children and the lack of nightlife means older teenagers will get bored).
Photo Gallery Positano, Italy Map
Positano, Italy Map Images
The interior is plush and formal (chaise longues, antiques and deep sofas), and there is a full-time cook. Sleeps Nine.
Cost £6,160-£7, 700 per week, including full-time cook, daily maid service and a gardener Contact International Chapters (020 7722 0722; www.villa-rentals. Com)