France and Italy are home to some of the most storied castles, palaces and grand homes in the world, ranging from Loire Valley chateaux to Sicilian strongholds and French Riviera mansions. Many are available to hire for weddings or parties, overnight stays or wine tastings. You can even buy one — if your budget stretches into the millions.
CNBC has picked a selection of some of the grandest French and Italian castles and palaces you can find.
The Godfather’s castle
Want a piece of movie history? The 22-bedroom neo-Gothic Piazza Agostino Pennisi, which was featured in “The Godfather Part III,” is for sale. The castle — on the Italian island of Sicily — has an asking price of $6.8 million and has 12 reception halls, a private park, grotto and separate caretaker’s home. Coming in at around 43,000 square feet, it also has a chapel decorated with frescoes by 19th-century artist Giuseppe Sciuti. Sotheby’s International Realty, which is marketing the property, describes it as a “single family home.”
Castello nel Chianti
If you fancy cultivating a winemaking hobby, consider this grand Italian castle in Tuscany’s Chianti region. It could be yours for 20 million euros ($22.3 million), and is listed by Christie’s International Real Estate. Dating back more than 1,000 years, it was restored in the 1980s by its current owner. The castle is surrounded by around 30 acres 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 room for guests, with 25 bedrooms and 33 bathrooms, and there is plenty of sightseeing to do nearby, as it’s located between Florence and Siena.
A Cannes palace
Cannes, the playground of the rich and famous in the south of France, is home to Le Palais Venitien, which is on sale for a staggering $136.9 million. The 32,300 square foot home was built in 1990 and has nine “residential suites,” along with a cinema, nightclub, hammam and wine cellar. Also listed by Sotheby’s, it is set in six acres of land, including a woodland, tennis court and lake, all overlooking the Mediterranean.
If buying a palace feels a little out of reach, why not rent a castle? Chateau Des Joyaux in France’s Loire Valley looks straight out of a Disney movie with its spires, lake and 22 bedrooms. It comes in at around 33,000 euros for a two-night midweek stay — for the whole place. Built in 1854, it’s sometimes referred to as “Petit Chambord” for its resemblance to the 16th-century Chateau de Chambord in the same area, and has a neighboring 600-person capacity Catholic church for those holding weddings at the venue. The castle is available to rent via Oliver’s Travels.
Lake Como luxury
Upscale rental website SopranoVillas lets properties across Italy, including an Art Nouveau-style luxury villa
high above Lake Como, a region famous for celebrity homes. Formerly a medieval lookout point, it has views over 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. Weeklong stays start from 41,250 euros.
Hotel Chateau du Grand-Luce
About a two-hour drive out of Paris is the Hotel Chateau du Grand-Luce, a palatial 18th-century property in the Loire Valley, which the hotel claims is “quite 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 its walls hand-painted by 18th-century artist Jean-Baptiste Pillement.
Hotel de Crillon, Paris
No list of fancy buildings would be complete without mention of the Hotel de Crillon, known as the grande dame of hotels in Paris — part of which dates back to the 18th century. Renovations 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.
Castello di Ama
If you don’t have the rental budget for a castle, consider Italy’s many options for wine-tasting and day tours. The 18th-century 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 two Chianti Classico wines. Five suites are available.
Palais des Papes
The huge 14th-century Pope’s palace in Avignon, southeast France, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and was described by medieval writer Jean Froissart as “the most well-fortified house in the world.” It’s Europe’s largest Gothic palace and is made up of two buildings — the Palais Neuf (new palace) and the Palais Vieux (old palace). The latter includes private papal apartments, massive halls, and the 52m Trouillas Tower, while the new palace houses the Great Chapel. Prices start at 12 euros for the day.