Renowned for its phenomenal food and natural beauty, Italy is also home to some of the best golf courses in Europe. From idyllic seaside sun traps in Sicily to historic parkland layouts in the foothills of the Alps, Italy has it all.
So, with the 2023 Ryder Cup heading to Marco Simone on the outskirts of Rome this month, we thought, what better time to highlight five of the best golf courses in Italy.
With Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, and a whole host of the world's best players set to touch down in Italy to do battle for the coveted Ryder Cup this month, Italy's golfing pedigree will be on full display for the world to see.
Perhaps not quite as popular a tourist destination for golfers as Spain or Portugal, Italy has some truly remarkable golf courses, designed by renowned architects, including Tom Fazio II, Robert Trent Jones and Kyle Phillips.
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Ranging in scenery from dense woodland to sun-soaked coastline, there is something for everyone in Italy, making it the ideal destination for your next golf trip.
Let's get into it.
Best Golf Courses in Italy
Royal Park I Roveri (Allianz)
Architect: Robert Trent Jones
Yardage (Championship): 7,180
Set in the glorious countryside of North West Italy, Royal Park I Roveri is a classic Robert Trent Jones Sr design. Featuring lush fairway, plenty of well-positioned bunkers and water hazards, the course is a magnificent test of golf.
Opened in 1971, the course has hosted the Italian Open on a number of occasions. The attractive parkland layout features a number of streams that run throughout it, making it not only beautiful on the eye but also great fun to play.
The tree-lined fairways sweep through what was once an old deer park, and the natural beauty of the surrounding area is visible on every hole.
Fairly modest in price compared to the big hitters in Portugal and Spain, Royal Park I Roveri is well worth visiting if you are planning a golf trip to Italy.
Architect: John Harris, Donald Harradine
Yardage (White): 7,146
Running through magnificent birch woodland with spectacular views of the Alps, Biella is one of the most naturally striking courses you'll find anywhere in the world.
Playing long off-the-back tees, the course will test every aspect of your game. There are few holes that don't feature a dog leg, so both positional play and length will be examined thanks to strategically placed bunkers, rocky outcrops and the occasional stream.
The 16th is the standout hole on the course. A par 5 with magnificent views of the Alps, the fairway turns from left to right before a steep drop through rough leads you to a beautiful two-tier green. If you have a moment, it's well worth making time to stop and look around to take in the sheer natural beauty.
Architect: Peter Gannon
Yardage (Yellow): 6,067
Widely regarded as a jewel in the Italian golf crown, Villa d'Este is situated just North of Milan in the Como Hills beside Lake Montorfano.
Featuring six par 3s, the course is short by modern standards, but what it lacks in length, it more than makes up for in character.
The course rewards carefully placed shots over long ones, and those with a sharp short game will likely get the better of bombers off the tee. With plenty of undulation and precisely designed greens, Villa d'Este is a course that will certainly make you think.
The charming historic clubhouse that overlooks the course provides breathtaking views of both the course and the Alps, making it an ideal spot to enjoy a post-round drink.
A magical course that needs visiting to appreciate fully, Villa d'Este should be high on any golfer's bucket list.
Architect: Kyle Phillips
Yardage (Championship): 7,311
Situated on the beautiful island of Sicily, Verdura East is one of two championship courses at the Rocco Forte resort.
Featuring spectacular green complexes and fantastic fairways, you are also treated to beautiful views of the Mediterranean Sea from almost every part of the course.
Having undergone a redesign after flooding decimated the course in 2018, esteemed architect Kyle Phillips adjusted and refined the layout with fantastic results.
Inspired by the famous seaside holes of Great Britain, Verdura East boasts many of its own fantastic waterside designs, most notably, the par 13th. Set alongside the water's edge, natural beauty surrounds the short hole, but don't be too distracted. The hole may be short, but it will punish any tee shot that fails to find the putting surface.
With stunning scenery, a masterfully crafted routing, and outstanding conditioning, Verdura East is an absolute must-visit on any Italian golf trip.
Marco Simone (Championship)
Architect: Jim Fazio, Tom Fazio II, David Mezzacane, Dave Sampson
Yardage (Blue): 7,268
The host of the 2023 Ryder Cup, Marco Simone, will have the eyes of the world on it later this month.
With beautiful views of nearby Rome and the surrounding countryside, the course is a stern test of golf, with some excellent holes that will examine the game of even the best golfers in the world.
Set in a 350-acre estate featuring a restored 11th century castle, the stadium-style course is characterised by its penal rough, razor-sharp putting surfaces and amphitheatre green surrounds.
The final five holes are the best stretch on the course. The 14th and 15th are both long par 4s riddled with danger off the tee, and the 16th that follows is a classic risk-and-reward par 4 that's drivable for the longest hitters, but will punish those who bite off more than they can chew.
The penultimate hole is a par 3 with the narrowest green on the course. Wayward right off the tee, and you may be lucky to get a kick off the bank, but short or left and your ball will be ushered with gusto into either a bunker or the steep collection point, from which a par requires some magic.
The 18th is a beast of a par 5. Measuring 626 yards off the tips, most mere mortals will likely play it as a certain three-shotter. With the Ryder Cup on the line, though, we could see Rory McIlroy or Justin Thomas taking on the greenside lake in two if it means victory for their team.