/travel Belmond Villa San Michele, modern luxury meets Renaissance splendour in Florence A boutique hotel in the Florentine hills, combining modern elegance with Renaissance history and culture. As a converted monastery, staying at the Belmond Villa San Michele is an experience in itself.
by Georgie Campbell

Tucked away in the hills of Tuscany, this timeless hotel is a haven of European beauty. Situated above the city of Florence, one of the many splendours of Belmond Villa San Michele is the unparalleled view which it offers. Overlooking Florence’s scenic attractions such as the Duomo and Fiume Arno (the Arno river), these are just a few of the historic Villa’s breath-taking views.

The location of this hotel allows for a private retreat whilst offering both the bustling, historic city of Florence and the Tuscan countryside at its doorstep. The building itself is a masterpiece of Italian architecture, the Villa’s façade is accredited to Michelangelo. The Belmond Villa San Michele encapsulates the elegance of both the modern and the Renaissance era’s, with its rustic design and furnishings.

Belmond Villa San Michele, modern luxury meets Renaissance splendour in Florence
Courtesy of Belmond

Formerly a 15th-century monastery, today, the Belmond Villa San Michele is consistently ranked as one of the best, most luxurious hotels in Italy. It is the perfect place for a secluded week in the Tuscan hills whilst also offering a well-established cookery school, fine dining in the restaurant ‘La Loggia’, wellness facilities, and private gardens. The villa allows guests to explore the passion for food which is at the heart of Italian culture.

‘Tuscany is a land of untold treasures and earthly pleasures’.

The classic Italian gardens are filled with delicate flowers, making this the perfect oasis to explore, or relax with a cocktail in the garden bar. The gardens are also home to a 400-year-old wisteria – the only one in Florence to bloom twice a year. The winding paths of these gardens lead to the villa’s panoramic heated outdoor swimming pool, nestled amongst the greenery with sweeping views of Arno Valley. The villa offers a number of indulgent wellness treatments such as Swedish and shiatsu massage in the open-air gazebo.

Belmond Villa San Michele, modern luxury meets Renaissance splendour in Florence
Courtesy of Belmond

Belmond Villa San Michele is well renowned for its fine dining and culinary expertise. The hotel restaurant ‘La Loggia’ – framed by the monastery’s ancient arches and Executive Chef Atilio di Fabrizio’s seasonal masterpieces add up to an unforgettable dining experience. Sample regional specialities, such as Florentine Chianina steak or lemon-scented risotto with Tyrrhenian scampi, or indulge in Chef’s tasting menu paired with specially selected wines. With a worldwide reputation for excellence, the Villa’s cookery school is taken by Executive Chef, Attilio di Fabrizio.

Belmond Villa San Michele, modern luxury meets Renaissance splendour in Florence
Courtesy of Belmond

Learn the classic Italian recipes for making pasta, risotto and soups or master seasonal vegetarian specialities. The cookery school allows guests to learn about traditional Tuscan cuisine, in the hands of master chefs. All courses include a cookery school apron, lunch at La Loggia and a food and wine pairing introduction by the hotel’s sommelier.

Beyond the walls of the Belmond Villa San Michele, the city of Florence is filled with beauty, culture and history. With museums to explore, the iconic Duomo and Palazzo Vecchio; the cobbled streets of Florence offer endless sights of Renaissance beauty to discover. Not only can one enjoy the splendours of art and culture in the galleries of Florence and the art tours of Chianti; the Belmond Villa San Michele offers exhibitions of its own. Each year, the villa works with local artists whose works are displayed on the walls of the hotel in the ‘living gallery’. Works are displayed around the grounds or illuminated through the corridors of the hotel.

Belmond Villa San Michele, modern luxury meets Renaissance splendour in Florence
Belmond Villa San Michele, modern luxury meets Renaissance splendour in Florence
Courtesy of Belmond

On the other side of the Belmond Villa San Michele are the rolling hills of Tuscany. Among the undulating, sun-dappled slopes lie age-old wineries and silver olive groves. Here you will find the Chianti Hills, where you can taste the local wines and learn how quality cashmere is crafted. The hills of Tuscany are also home to the Monte Ceceri park where the footsteps of Leonardo Da Vinci can be followed. Here, you will reach the top of the very same hill where Da Vinci tested his flying machine in 1506. It was here that humans took flight according to Zoroastro Da Peretola, a legendary pupil of Da Vinci’s. Gaze across the wooded valley and spot Il Duomo in the distance – the views are truly inspiring.

Belmond Villa San Michele, modern luxury meets Renaissance splendour in Florence
Belmond Villa San Michele, modern luxury meets Renaissance splendour in Florence
Courtesy of Belmond

The location and design of the villa are the features which has helped it to gain its reputation as one of the most desirable boutique hotel destinations, attracting celebrities and royalty. The Villa boasts 45 luxurious rooms and suites, including the Limonaia suite and villa, which includes a private plunge pool and gardens, and a panoramic view. Each of the suites are decorated in the same rustic Renaissance style with original features which creates the unique charm of the Belmond Villa San Michele. The Villa allows guests to experience Florence and the Tuscan countryside with utter indulgence and decadence, making the Belmond Villa San Michele the idyllic Italian retreat.

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