The best way of experiencing Florence like a true local is to find a beautiful villa to call home during your stay. Naturally there are plenty to choose from but here are the very best homes to make your own in this gorgeous renaissance city.
The villas of Florence provide space where the city has little. Many are on the outskirts; countryside dwellings with crisp gardens and cityscapes. After a day exploring museums and galleries, the peace they bring can be the perfect tonic. Those worried about having to forgo the red-domed Duomo or Michelangelo’s David shouldn’t be. Florence’s key landmarks are still easily accessed from most.
Set in the romantic Florentine hills, Tenuta del Podestà is ideal for outdoor living. Its garden has a dipping pool, boules court and covered dining area. The two-bedroom, two-level villa holds up to six, while large French windows illuminate a comfortable living area. Those uninterested in the delights of the city – there are a few – should take the car and drive one hour to Chianti, the wine region.
Located just three miles from the city centre, Tuscan Sun Villa is tucked away in quiet Pian Dei Giullari. It’s here that Galileo Galilei was exiled in the 1600s, spending his time observing the stars. Follow his lead – although you may prefer to do it in the villa’s outside hot tub. The villa is decorated in muted tones allowing its views over the hills to take centre stage. Free bikes allow guests to explore the region.
In the attractive Palazzo Pitti district, Villa Michelangelo sits in one of Florence’s most exclusive neighbourhoods. Its close proximity to the city makes it a convenient base for a weekend escape. And although the property’s décor is muted, its views are certainly not. This is especially true from the outdoor pool which looks over Florence’s terracotta roofs and the Duomo’s dome.
Situated to the northeast of Florence, in sleepy Settignano, this character villa fuses contemporary and period furnishings to great effect. Its higgledy-piggledy interior is an antidote to uniform chain hotels – each room is a new adventure. The highlight of the property is (arguably) the outdoor pool, which is lined with sun loungers and guarded by a gently reclining statue. Head here in the evenings for a glass of trebbiano.
This expansive family villa, built in 1860, has since been divided into nine, self-contained apartments. Each is decorated with antique furniture, terracotta floors and warm stucco walls. It sits close to Porta Romana, the most southern gate within the Oltrarno quarter, and offers easy access to Florence’s tourist hotspots. The complex also sits near the Boboli Gardens, a historic public gardens housing sculptures, fountains and a grand amphitheatre.
Dating from the 1400s, this property was once home to the Florentine Acciaioli family. It has retained its original glamour through priceless antiques and elaborate bed canopies. Fresh-from-the-oven pastries are served for breakfast and can be enjoyed in the communal lounge or large terrace garden. Make sure to ask for the torta di rose recipe from the hosts, it’s sure to impress at any dinner party.
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