Fodor's Expert Review Villa Lysis
Opened to the public in 2003, this legendary villa was originally known as the Villa Fersen, after Baron Jacques d'Adelsward-Fersen, the builder. Fleeing to the island from a scandal involving Parisian schoolboys, the French aristocrat had this white stucco pile designed by Edouard Chimot in 1903 in shimmering Belle Époque style, replete with gilded-mosaic columns and floors looted from the island's ancient Roman sites. Past the impressive columned entrance, inscribed in stone with "Amori et Dolori Sacrum" (A Shrine to Love and Sorrow), the baron would retire to write poems and paint pictures in his Stile Liberty ("Liberty Style," or Art Nouveau) salons. Sadly all the furnishings are gone, but you can still gasp at the ballroom open to the sea and the large smoking room in the basement, where, in a tiled pool, Fersen committed suicide by ingesting a lethal mix of opium and Champagne in 1923. Outside are magical terraces with views to rival the adjacent Villa Jovis.