by Carlos Melia
The best of Florence away from Florence. Locate in Fiesole, just 15 minutes away from the center o Florence, a former monastery nestled on a hilltop amid lush trees and terrace gardens, this luxury boutique hotel enjoys unparalleled views across Florence. Fiesole, one of Florence’s most scenic regions,Villa San Michele overlooks the historic city and the Arno Valley below. A 15th-century national monument, Villa San Michele is a work of art in itself. Frescoes and ancient carvings decorate its rooms, while its formal Italian gardens are a delightful retreat. Sit on a private terrace surrounded by woodland, birdsong and the cypress-studded Chianti hills. Superb Tuscan cuisine and fine wines are served on a beautiful alfresco loggia. And yet the treasures of Florence are close at hand. Experience all the elegance of Italy’s great history and culture, while enjoying the ambience of a private home.
Villa San Michele is named after the church of St Michael the Archangel. The present building, with its façade attributed to Michelangelo and its imposing loggia, dates from 1600 when it was enlarged and completely renovated by Giovanni di Bartolomeo Davanzati. In 1982, Orient-Express Hotels, bought the Villa San Michele and the surrounding land. A comprehensive restoration of the buildings was embarked upon, this time with the cooperation of the Florence Fine Arts Authority.
Believe it or not…. this was literally the view from our suite. Isn’t it just breathtaking ? Florence, the Tuscan Valley, the Arno River, and the iconic Duomo di Firenze of Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore.
We were hosted at the fabulous and iconic, Limonaia Suite, dramatically situated and exceptionally luxurious, located in the convent’s former orangery—a separate building in the hotel’s Italian gardens. Breathtaking views over Florence, a heated plunge pool and tinkling waterfall beckons in the leafy private garden. Looking at Florence from our bed, living room and terrace was son magical and romantic. Mornings over breakfast, afternoons over a cup of tea and sunsets over a good Tuscan wine. The property has a total of 46 suites and bedrooms.
> Video of our Suite – click here
Ruled by the powerful Medicis for centuries, Florence abounds in magnificent art and architecture. The capital of Tuscany, it was the birthplace of the Renaissance and the most important city in Europe from the 14th to early 16th centuries. Alongside its treasure-filled galleries, museums and churches, Florence is famous for its picturesque bridges. The most famous of these, the Ponte Vecchio, is lined with jewellery shops that seem to be suspended over the water.
> Welcome to Villa San Michele by Carlos Melia – click here
Lounge in Villa San Michele’s lush grounds, swim leisurely laps in the idyllic pool or work out in the gym, enjoying the panoramic views over Florence. Once nurtured by Franciscan monks, the immaculate 15th-century gardens at Villa San Michele include a large wooded park and terraced lawns. Relax on a lounger, sip a cocktail among the fragrant blooms or take a tour with our gardeners.
We were there during the beginning of fall, so unfortunately we didm’t dare, despite it was heated, to enjoy their lovely outdoor pool, situated on a grassy plateau above the gardens, reached by a winding path, a pool snack bar serves tasty lunches and snacks, with magnificent views across the Arno Valley and Florence.
Villa San Michele offers courtesy scheduled shuttle bus from/to the Villa to/from Pizza della Repubblica, central main square. So if your concern is to be away from the main attraction, don’t be. We were so happy at the end of the day to withdraw ourselves back to Fiesole, allowing us a wider experience. Plus the scenic drive is beautiful itself. One of the days we did it three times. since after a full day exploring we were haven dinner at Il Palagio, down in central Florence, and it didn’t bother us at all. I think it is a PLUS to your Florence experience.
Dining, tea time and breakfast at Villa San Michele is a true culinary experience, which even if you are not staying at the hotel I strongly recommend. With some of the most spectacular views in Europe, their restaurants and bars capture the essence of Florence fine dining. Our first night dinner at La Loggia Restaurant, was the most romantic dinner we had, during our entire trip through Italy. With its 16th-century setting and exceptional cuisine, La Loggia is widely regarded as one of the best Florence restaurants. Dine in the sunshine on the grand, arched terrace or one of the historic rooms inside. For private banquets, the Ristorante Antico and Cenacolo rooms are magnificent. But of course we couldn’t help to have a filthy Vodka Martini, prior dinner at the darling Loggia Bar, with a pianist playing live.
Trust me on this one, if you are looking for a perfect romantic experience, Villa San Michele, ranks high up on the list. Seal your love, a picture-perfect location for a wedding or honeymoon in Florence. But you know what it keeps coming to my mind ? propose to your boyfriend/girlfriend in the renaissance surrounds of Villa San Michele. Who will say no to this. Villa San Michele, unique, sophisticated and precious. One of those properties worldwide you must add to your lifetime travel bucket list.
Till the next adventure in full luxury. Carlos Melia
“¨”¨Carlos Melia is a Travel Expert, Blogger, Niche Marketing Consultant, Jetsetter, and Bon Vivant, who travels around the world discovering what’s new and cool in Luxury Travel and Hospitality. His reviews on hotels, restaurants, destinations, and attractions, based on his own experiences as an OUT Gay Traveler can be found at www.carlosmeliablog.com