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Five Priceless Italian Villas Worth Breaking the Bank For

Italy, with all its history and historical attendance to style, has produced some truly stunning properties over the years, but, sadly for dreamers, the prices of the most ravishing villas can usually only be obtained on request. We've gathered five of the finest "Price Upon Request" villas on the Italian market today, starting with this gorgeous cliffside mansion in Sorrento, south of Naples. The nine-bedroom property was built on the ruins of a Roman residence from the 1st century and the gardens are awash in Greek and Roman sculpture and intricate stonework, covered in a weathered patina that money can't buy. The chic interiors, with polished marble and daring color choices, are the product of a recent renovation.

? Chances are "the Royal Villa of Marlia," located in the Tuscan town of Lucca, isn't going to come cheap. First, there's the whole "royal" thing, then the massive size—118,400 square feet—and finally the two centuries of history. Classical gardens grace the 40 acre property and include a temple to the pagan "god of the forest." Inside, there are seemingly countless rooms full of old-world detailing and the regal aire of worn formality.

? When speaking of fading glory, Venice is the gold standard. The impressive palazzos that line the canal contrast with the rank waters below in unique fashion, and the whole Disney-esque tourist trade doesn't help. That said, the city is still remarkable for it's lack of autos and the breathtaking houses left behind from years as a prosperous trading hub. Dating from the 14th century, this palazzo apartment on the Grand Canal enjoys views of San Marco and fabulously detailed interiors that will likely never be properly replicated.

? Located north of Rome, the resort community of Porto Santo Stefano occupies a peninsula that juts out into the Mediterranean. This 18,000-square-foot villa boasts sweeping views of the sea and Elba Island, where Napoleon spent 300 days in exile. Plenty of world leaders would be happy being exiled to this remarkable villa, with its modern design, large swimming pool, grassy terraces, and 13 bedrooms.

? The jet set destination of Portofino is one of the crown jewels of the Italian Riviera, and this pastel sea-view villa would make a perfect celebrity getaway. Enshrouded in vines and bushes, with a peek at Praggi Bay below, the estate consists of five separate structures, a main house, an apartment house, and three guest houses for a total square footage of around 15,000 square feet.

· Sorrento [Sotheby's]
· Lucca [Sotheby's]
· Venice [Sotheby's]
· Porto Santo Stefano [Sotheby's]
· Portofino [Sotheby's]