A Flawless Florence Getaway

shutterstock_1158452929 (1)Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Florence is without a doubt one of the most beautiful and fascinating cities to visit. It was the birth of the Renaissance, and from that day onwards it has only gotten more picturesque. When it comes to staying in Florence, I have two favorite hotels: the Belmond Villa San Michele and the Four Seasons Firenze.

If you want to be outside of the city there is nothing better than the Belmond Villa San Michele, located in Fiesole just above Florence. Sitting outside at the beautiful Loggia restaurant offers the most gorgeous views, particularly at the end of the day while the sun sets over the terracotta ruins and the silhouette of the Duomo in the distance. Take in these breathtaking views while enjoying a glass of chilled wine from the region’s best vineyards.

The façade outside the Villa San Michele is reportedly an original designed by Leonardo Da Vinci.  Adding to its history, the 45-room luxury hotel is built within the grounds of a 15th century monastery. The hotel boasts a culinary school that includes the freshest ingredients from the property gardens that burst with lemon trees and Tuscan herbs.

IMG_6384Photo Credit: Colin Cowie

The restaurants in and around the area are simply beautiful and have the most incredible Tuscan steak dishes, also known as Bistecca alla Fiorentina. A few must-visits include Osteria di Giovanni, Le Fonticine, and Osteria Caffe Italiano. You may go for the Tuscan steak but you’ll stay for the amazing service, delicious wine and friendly, welcoming atmosphere.

If you choose to stay in the city, without a doubt there is only one choice for me: the Four Seasons Firenze. It’s situated on an old convent with 11 acres of beautifully appointed gardens, just a 10-minute walk from the heart of the city.

You can either stay in the main hotel or you can stay in the Conventino – the old nuns’ convent – which is adjoined with beautiful gardens. The Giardino della Gherardesca provides the most wonderful surprise as you stroll through. As you walk you will pass through vibrant beds of flowers as well as century-old statues. You will also notice the scent of theThuja tree, which offers healing qualities.

FLO_263_originalPhoto Credit: Four Seasons Florence

The suites are exquisitely and fabulously appointed making you feel as if you are a guest in someone’s home. Striking frescos and stuccos span the walls while vaulted ceilings and original Capodimonte Maioliche-style ceramic floors fill the atmosphere.

The great thing about Florence is that there are just so many incredible churches to visit. The Duomo is one of the most exceptional churches as well as deconsecrated church Le Petit Duomo, which is adjacent to the Duomo.

Make sure to visit the Uffizi to see works of all of the greats, like Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci straight from the Medici family’s collection. If you’re a fashion shopper, like myself, every single brand known to man can be found in a charming storefront along the cobblestone roads of Florence. One of my other favorite things to do, located an hour outside of the city in Forcoli, is truffle hunting with the experts at family-owned Savini Tartufi.

IMG_1869 2Photo Credit: Colin Cowie

Last but certainly not least: a trip to the Tuscany region is not complete without a visit to a winery. One of my all-time favorites is Avignonesi in Montepulciano, which is one of Italy’s oldest wineries dating back to the 16th century.