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From Castles to Manors: 8 Grand Historic Homes You Can Book on Airbnb Right Now

People have always liked traveling for history—whether it is to see art, architecture, or sites that have defined the sprawling past that precedes us. So it follows that there’s a desire to stay amid history, too: As people focus more on ‘meaningful travel’, or trips with a deeper purpose, interest in historical properties has increased.

Airbnb, for one, has seen an uptick in users booking culturally significant homes, reporting that bookings increased by over 54 percent in 2021 compared to 2019. So this July, they decided to launch a “historic homes” category, with over 20,000 heritage homes around the world. Most listings are in Europe–including castles in Germany, villas in Italy, and former monasteries in the United Kingdom. (The company is even offering a train journey to select guests who are interested in visiting several historic properties in one Eurotrip.)

As summer travel picks up in earnest, so does the desire to explore a world previously closed off to us during lockdown. To help inspire your next trip, here are eight of the most enthralling historic homes listed on Airbnb.

Villa Front Lake (Lake Como, Italy)

Photo: Marino Casini Maniro

Towering on the serene sapphire shores of Lake Como is Villa Front Lake, an 18th century Neoclassical mansion where stepping inside is like stepping into the past: a 1911 Steinway piano in the living room is framed by French doors overlooking the lake, while crystal chandeliers descend from several ceilings. A terrace provides sprawling views of the water and the surrounding towns—spy the town of Bellagio, known as the “jewel of Lake Como” as well as the famous Villa D’este.

Chissay-en-Touraine (Loire Valley, France)

Photo: Claudia Zalla

This chateau in France’s Loire Valley, owned by a retired French naval officer and his wife, features rooms named not by purpose but by color: there’s a turquoise room, a blue room, a pink room, and a fuschia room—just to name a few. Throw a dinner party in its stately dining space, or sip a glass of Sancerre by its expansive pool.

Villa Lenka (Pisa, Italy)

Rising from its lush landscape like a lemon from a tree, this pale yellow villa built in 1624 was once the summer residence of Count Cosimo Bernardini. Citrus and herb gardens, ponds and brooks, and grand cypress trees surround a classic interior with terracotta floors, a library, and high, painted ceilings. Take a dip in the pool, lunch beneath the vines, and play tennis 1.5 miles away while the chef preps dinner.

St. Benedict’s Abbey (Loch Ness, Scotland)

Photo: Reuben Tabner

Tucked away in St. Benedict’s Abbey—a former Scottish monastery turned private club—is this Medieval two bedroom apartment. Once the Scriptorium, or the writing room, its two floors are adorned with stained glass and a vaulted chapel ceiling. The Abbey itself is surrounded on three sides by the waters of the Loch Ness, and sits upon 20 acres of gardens.

Captain’s Cottage (New Orleans, Louisiana)

Photo: Courtesy of Airbnb

This Creole Cottage dates all the way back to 1740, when the city of New Orleans was predominantly populated by French settlers. Although it’s been extensively remodeled since then, some centuries-old historical hallmarks remain: the floors, which are made of Cypress, as well as its yellow and green exterior. (The home is a preeminent example of Creole Cottage architecture, characterized by its bright colors, French doors, and gabled roof that is parallel to the street or sidewalk it sits upon.) Straddling New Orleans’s famous French Quarter and eclectic Marigny neighborhoods, it’s also in a prime location to explore the city’s many cultural attractions.

Masia Pairal (Sant Pere de Ribes, Spain)

Photo: Claudia Zalla

Just outside Barcelona is this 250-year-old Catalan manor with a mixture of classic Spanish and modern decor. Lie by the pool or sip a cappuccino in one of the many al fresco dining areas, then decide whether you want to venture into the city or spend your day sampling local wines from the nearby Torre del Veguer and Finca Viladellops.

Mansion Viecheln (Behren-Lübchin, Germany)

A hotelier and opera director offer two charming apartments in their 19th-century castle near the Baltic coast to Airbnb guests. Pour over a novel in the common area conservatory, or venture out to the grounds, which include an idyllic pond and plenty of sheep.

Villa Colli Euganei (Padua, Italy)

Photo: Laetitia Jourdan

An hour away from Venice is Villa Colli Euganei, a 16th-century hunting lodge nestled on an estate complete with a vineyard, expansive woods, and a 27-hole golf course. Restored Renaissance frescoes adorn nearly every room, and the grounds include an intricately planned Italian garden and a pool. Venture to Padua to see Gothic artist Giotto’s frescoes, or the fishing village of Chioggia on the Venetian lagoon—that is, if you ever want to leave.

Originally published in

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