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The grandest mansions in France and Italy to buy, rent or visit

Chateau de Chambord, in the Loire Valley in France.

DEA / C. SAPPA | De Agostini | Getty Images

France and Italy are home to some of the most famous castles, palaces and magnificent homes in the world, ranging from castles in the Loire Valley to Sicilian strongholds and mansions to the French Riviera. Many can be rented for weddings or parties, overnight stays or wine tastings. You can even buy one – if your budget reaches millions.

CNBC has selected a selection of some of the largest French and Italian castles and palaces you can find.


Godfather’s castle

Piazza Agostino Pennisi in Sicily, Italy

Piazza Agostino Pennisi / Sotheby’s International Reality

Want a piece of film history? The 22-bedroom neo-Gothic Piazza Agostino Pennisi, featured in “The Godfather Part III”, is for sale. The castle – on the Italian island of Sicily – has a bid price of $ 6.8 million and has 12 reception halls, a private park, cave and separate caretaker residence. It comes in at about 43,000 square feet and also has a chapel decorated with frescoes of 19thcentury artist Giuseppe Sciuti. Sotheby’s International Realty, which markets the property, describes it as a “single-family house”.

Slot and Chianti

If you fancy cultivating a wine-making hobby, consider this magnificent Italian castle in the Chianti region of Tuscany. It could be yours for 20 million euros ($ 22.3 million) and was built by Christie’s International Real Estate. It dates back more than 1,000 years and was restored in the 1980s by its current owner. The castle is surrounded by about 30 hectares of vineyards – which can produce up to 150,000 bottles of wine a year – as well as olive groves and countryside. It has plenty of space for guests with 25 bedrooms and 33 bathrooms, and there is plenty of sightseeing nearby as it is located between Florence and Siena.

A palace in Cannes

Yachts in the port of Cannes, France.

Alf | Moment | Getty Images

Cannes, the playground of the rich and famous in the south of France, is home to Le Palais Venitien, which is for sale for a staggering $ 136.9 million. The 32,300-square-foot home was built in 1990 and has nine “living suites” along with a movie theater, nightclub, hammam and wine cellar. Also built by Sotheby’s, it is set in six acres of land, including a forest, tennis court and lake, all overlooking the Mediterranean.

To rent:

Sleeping Beauty

Chateau des Joyaux in the Loire Valley of France

Courtesy: Oliver’s Travels

If it feels a little out of reach to buy a palace, why not rent a castle? Chateau Des Joyaux in France’s Loire Valley looks like a Disney movie with its spiers, lake and 22 bedrooms. That comes in at around 33,000 euros for a two-night midweek stay – for the whole place. Built in 1854, it is sometimes referred to as the “Petit Chambord” for its resemblance to the 16th.thcentury Chateau de Chambord in the same area and has an adjoining Catholic church with seating for 600 people for those holding weddings on site. The castle can be rented via Oliver’s Travels.

Lake Como luxury

View of Italy’s Lake Como from a luxury villa.

Courtesy: SopranoVillas

Exclusive rental site SopranoVillas rents out properties throughout Italy, including a luxury Art Nouveau villa
high above Lake Como, a region famous for celebrity homes. Formerly a medieval vantage point, it overlooks the lake and mountains and comes with a chef and concierge. Along with eight suites that can sleep 14, the rental has an entertainment floor with two roof terraces, an island bar, viewing platform and music system. Week-long stays start from 41,250 euros.

To become:

Hotel Chateau du Grand-Luce

Hotel Chateau du Grand-Luce and its grounds.

Adam Lynk, Hotel Chateau du Grand Luce.

About a two-hour drive from Paris is the Hotel Chateau du Grand-Luce, a palatial 18thcentury property in the Loire Valley, which the hotel claims is “possibly the most extravagant suite in Europe.” The gilded, 7,502 euro-per-night Baron’s Suite has 17-foot-high ceilings, garden views and two reception rooms including the Salon Chinois, with the walls hand-painted by 18.thCentury artist Jean-Baptiste Pillement.

Hotel de Crillon, Paris

The Crillon Hotel, Paris, seen from La Place de la Concorde.

Christophe Lehenaff | Moment | Getty Images

No list of chic buildings would be complete without mention of the Hotel de Crillon, known as the grande dame of hotels in Paris – some of which date back to the century. Renovations done by architect Richard Martinet in 2017 added an underground spa and two suites designed by the late designer Karl Lagerfeld, and each room has butler service. Prices start from 1,070 euros for a double room.

To visit:

Ama Slot

Siena is a short distance from Castello di Ama.

Peter Zelei pictures | Moment | Getty Images

If you do not have the rental budget for a castle, consider Italy’s many options for wine tasting and day trips. On the 18ththCentury Castello di Ama, close to Siena, mixes contemporary art with wine tours and includes works by Louise Bourgeois, Anish Kapoor and Roni Horn, with works both indoors and in the surrounding grounds. Tours start at 65 euros, which includes tasting of two Chianti Classico wines. Five suites are available.

The Papal Palace

Palais des Papes from the 14th century in Avignon, France.

Sylvain Sonnet | Image Bank | Getty Images

The huge 14thCentury Pope’s Palace in Avignon, southeastern France, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was described by medieval writer Jean Froissart as “the most fortified house in the world.” It is Europe’s largest Gothic palace and consists of two buildings – the Palais Neuf (new palace) and the Palais Vieux (old palace). The latter include private papal apartments, massive halls and the 52-meter-long Trouillas Tower, while the new palace houses the Great Chapel. Prices start at 12 euros for the day.

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