George Clooney claims Italy changed his life.

The 'Burn After Reading' actor - who has been dating Italian television presenter Elisabetta Canalis for more than a year - admits he feels much less stressed since buying a villa in the European town of Laglio as he can escape the pressures of Hollywood.

He said: "What changed my life in a very pleasant and unexpected way was buying the villa in Laglio. That was a pure investment decision - I thought I would maybe spend a few weeks vacationing there.

"But then I realised how beautiful life was in Italy and how it really helped calm me and not feel so pressured. I could also work productively and bring my friends over to keep me company."

The 49-year-old hunk - who has had a series of short term relationships since his divorce from actress Talia Balsam in 1993 - also admitted he has previously put his career before his personal life but is happy to have now changed his priorities.

He added in an interview with the Daily Mirror newspaper: "I was working so hard on my film projects that for a time I basically didn't even think very much about how my personal life was evolving.

"I didn't care in the sense that I didn't have a family or children to look after and I wasn't involved in any long-term relationships.

"Now, I still feel I haven't done my best work although I've at least put myself in a position where I can keep doing what I love and enjoy the process.

"I even have a bit of a personal life these days. I don't want to make anyone sick but things are going pretty well for me."