From within her verdant terraced gardens bursting with lemon trees and 400-year-old wisteria, once tended by Franciscan monks, Villa San Michele sits peacefully in the Fiesole hills and casts a bird’s eye view over Tuscany’s most romantic city. Steeped in Medieval history, the hotel seamlessly blends old world charm with modern day hospitality and provides the ideal base from which to explore Florence. A love of fine art is certainly not necessary to appreciate the Villa's façade (attributed to Michelangelo) or Nicodemo Ferrucci’s 1602 fresco of The Last Supper, juxtaposed with edgy modern installations, however art lovers will undoubtedly delight in such details. The sense of history flows through the rooms and suites which have foregone their original roles as monastic libraries, refectories or places of worship, and later even as Napoleon’s headquarters, and been lovingly transformed into lavish accommodation, first in 1950 and again in 1982.
18 double rooms sit in the monastery building, each individually designed with neutral tones and warm pastels, boasting King beds and marble bathrooms with views of the internal cloister, courtyard, or gardens. Junior Suites are carefully spread out to offer private terraces or gardens and some can connect to accommodate small groups and families. The Suites are vast, each accommodating four people - the Donatello Suite, once the Prior’s quarters, taking up an entire quarter of the monastery - and boast stunning views over Florence. The most opulent of all is the Leonardo Suite, aptly named as it faces the hill where da Vinci tested his flying machine. Those in search of total seclusion will love the Limonaia Suite, formerly the orangery, which sleeps up to six people and has a private garden, waterfall and plunge pool, and which can be connected to another two suites to create an idyllic private residence.
Highly recommended is the Tuscan tasting menu at the hotel’s Loggia Restaurant, paired with irresistible wines. The Loggia Bar is the ideal meeting place for cocktails in the garden and the light-filled Cloister Bar offers cosy armchairs for daytime coffee or nightcaps enhanced by stargazing through the glass roof. Graze all day at the Pool Restaurant and Bar with wood-fired pizzas and an unbeatable view of Florence. The Wine Cellar is stocked with labels from Tuscany and beyond and can now be paired with an authentic Italian meal at the locanda – just like grandmother used to make!
Whilst the hotel does not have a spa, it does have a Wellness Suite and nothing compares to a Swedish massage in the open-air gazebo. Parents can relax in the knowledge that their little ones will be well entertained in the kids’ club and fitness enthusiasts can enjoy the weights and cardio machines in the panoramic gym.
- Families, both young and old
- Couples in search of Italian glamour
- Art lovers
THINGS TO DO AT THE HOTEL:
- Discover the art of Tuscan fusion cooking at the hotel’s cookery school
- Delve into the wine cellar, well-stocked with the best Italian labels
- Book time in the Wellness Suite while the children are entertained in the Kids’ club
- Work off the excess calories in the fitness centre
- Walk through the terraced gardens to the hilltop swimming pool
- Try local specialities at the hotel’s Loggia Restaurant
- Sip a cocktail in the Cloister Bar Graze and imbibe at the Pool Bar
THINGS TO DO NEARBY:
- Browse the many jewellery and leather boutiques on the Ponte Vecchio
- Kayak beneath the ancient bridge on the River Arno
- View the Renaissance masterpieces in Florence’s Uffizi Gallery and stroll around the Duomo
- Hike through Monte Ceceri Park where Leonard da Vinci tested his flying machine