Luxury Outlook 2022
An ambitious exploration into high-end residential markets across the globe.
Six decades ago, Prince Karim Aga Khan IV was inspired as he surveyed the northeastern edge of the Italian island of Sardinia. On this enchanting expanse of the Costa Smeralda (the “Emerald Coast”), he would establish a resort town that would be recognized as the preeminent destination for the world’s wealthy and well-connected.
Visionary European architects such as Michele Busiri Vici, Jacques and Savin Couëlle, and Luigi Vietti helped Aga Khan craft a signature style of Mediterranean villa across 5,000 hectares of rugged shoreline. This was the birth of Porto Cervo—and as the seaside village attracted the attention of luminaries in business, entertainment, and the arts, it was also the beginning of a cultural renaissance that continues to this day.
Yet in spite of its vast global appeal, Porto Cervo is tiny. Its villas were constructed to adhere to a particular style, and to adhere organically to the natural beauty of the area. That means there are just over 400 households that can consider themselves proper residents of Porto Cervo.
Spend a day at this rare and radiant property, and see why these beaches have become a summer pilgrimage for billionaires.
The best first impression of this property is from the water. Perhaps you’re sailing towards this home on your personal yacht as day breaks on the horizon; or perhaps your friends, family, or business associates approach by boat, while you stand on one of your two private docks and wait for them. It’s worth noting just how exceptional this is: of all the extravagantly affluent individuals to sail into Porto Cervo this summer, the vast majority will come ashore at Porto Cervo Marina—a massive harbor with moorings for 700 yachts.
As the morning brightens, get your guests settled in the two additional villas gracing the gardens of your main house, each with beach access. In fact, the property boasts more than 1,100 feet of private shoreline along Romazzino Bay, swathed in white sand and wild expanses of wave-sculpted granite, and two proprietary beaches. Any part of this waterfront stretch provides a picturesque place for breakfast.
The sun is climbing higher in the sky as late morning verges on early afternoon, and you know you need to move. If you hope to make the most of your exciting plans for the day ahead, then you need to catch your flight—you’re dedicating the middle portion of your day to the Venice Biennale.
Olbia Airport is just a half-hour away by car, and the jet is gassed up and prepared for takeoff. Within a few hours, you’re ferried to the most prestigious celebration of global contemporary art and architecture, with gallery spaces spread throughout the Castello, Arsenale, and Biennale Gardens venues.
If you have the good fortune of visiting towards the end of August, this city will also be playing host to the glamorous Venice Film Festival, the oldest film festival in the world and an extension of the Biennale. Set on the island of Lido in the Venice Lagoon, the event is considered one of the big three European film festivals, alongside Cannes and Berlin, with screenings being held at the iconic Palazzo del Cinema. Catch a world premiere and rub shoulders with a few celebrities on the red carpet before your return flight to Sardinia.
Porto Cervo may be small, but with affluent crowds congregating there in the summer months, its bars and nightclubs are as lively as they come. A stroll along the Promenade du Port offers a glimpse at more of the famous structures commissioned by Aga Khan when the town was founded, such as Costa Smeralda Yacht Club and the Pevero Golf Course—and gives an opportunity to admire the superyachts arrayed along the harbor as you make your way from one venue to the next.
Eventually, you’ll find your way back to the greatest venue of them all—your own compound of luxury villas, with their multiple verandas ensconced in their tropical greenery, and their three separate swimming pools shimmering in the moonlight, throwing turquoise oscillations across the pearly white walls. Late summer might be the busiest season here on Sardinia’s Emerald Coast, but so long as you have this tranquil sanctuary, it’s as if you have the entire island all to yourself.