I'm from Italy and trust me, instead of one Villa you would want to own three apartments: one in Rome, one in the alps, and one on the beach (I would probably pick Sicily or Sardinia).
Italy is so freaking diverse you would love a piece of everything.
I imagine the food is delicious too.:) Someone told me that Lake Garda is stunningly beautiful.
Sorry, off topic.:P
I loved driving around Lago di Garda.
Italy was the best part of my military service. Lived in Italy for three years. Lived out on the economy and had a $1500 car. Drove that thing from one end of the country to the other many times just wandering around.
I want to take my family back for a multi-week visit and visit with old friends someday. Want to rent a car of course so we can go the places that trains and buses don't usually go.
I looked the other day and the cost would be about $12K for the four of us to go.
That was paying full retail - staying in hotels, renting a fairly nice car, etc. Will price it again someday where we rent a tiny apartment and eat from grocery stores, and so forth to see how much I could shrink the cost. I want our kids to see a bit of the world in their time. I come from people too scared to leave the country.
I think seeing the world instead of seeing the TV version is a worthwhile thing. The view from the couch is very different than reality. There are scary things happening in the world but the TV version seems like condensed chaos all the time. Sort of like the evening murder report aka the local news in a big city.
"Last night 5 people were murdered..." (in five different rough parts of the city, murdered by rough people they probably knew all because the victim and the murderer all kept bad company... And so - the city is safer than the evening news implies...)