Visitors come to Tuscany for many reasons. Many come in search of fine art, others to explore the extraordinary countryside. Gourmets and wine buffs descend on Tuscany to enjoy the simple yet wonderful cuisine and wine. Walkers enjoy the mountain paths, cyclists the rolling hills, summer vacationers the sea coast and islands. Here is a list of some amazing luxury hotels where you can stay while visiting Tuscany.
Castello di Vicarello, Cinigiano, Italy
This is a go-slow retreat with glorious gardens, walls of rambling roses and a glimpse of the sea in the hazy distance. Each of the seven suites, full of quirk and character, is different: some have intricately carved Balinese beds (the owners once lived in Indonesia), others 18th-century copper bathtubs; all have worldly curiosities on the walls and floors. A couple also have little kitchens, which makes this romantic nugget surprisingly child-friendly.
There are rows of olive trees, six hectares of vineyard (the hotel produces its own wine and deliciously tangy olive oil), two infinity pools and a tiny Scandi-style spa with a hot tub on the outside deck. The biggest suite is Villa Chiesina, which has a huge wooden table under a pergola – perfect for early-evening drinks or a nightcap. Rates start from EUR 1627 per night.
Castiglion del Bosco, Montalcino SI, Italia
Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco is an 800-year-old estate comprising the ruins of a castle, a medieval church, and the Borgo, a village that was once an important farming and social hub. The Borgo now forms the heart of the resort and 23 suites are housed within its buildings. The resort also offers 10 villas which have been created from restored farmhouses and feature antique furniture, artisanal pieces and modern comforts.
Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco also offers a cooking school, a carefully curated store, an organic kitchen garden, a spa, an infinity pool and fitness centre. Guests can choose to dine at two restaurants – the more rustic Osteria La Canonica or the understated Ristorante Campo del Drago which offers classic Tuscan and Italian cooking. Castiglion del Bosco is also a historic winery and is the fifth biggest producer of Brunello di Montalcino.
The estate’s breathtaking 18-hole golf course was designed by the legendary winner of the British Open, Tom Weiskopf. This prestigious course set within a UNESCO World Heritage Site offers an unparalleled playing experience in Italy’s only private golf club.
Rates star from EUR 2970 per night for Villa Casa del Fiume.
Borgo Santo Pietro, Chiusdino, Tuscany, Italy
It’s rare to come across a hotel that gets it right in just about every department. The curtains and bedcovers in the 13th-century Borgo Santo Pietro are made from silks by Fortuny and Rubelli; blocks of antique marble have become bathroom worktops; and the flagstones in the entrance hall came from a French castle (large boulders were rolled across the floor to ‘weather’ them). The effect is opulent, stylish and just a little bit eccentric.
Outside there are 13 acres of landscaped gardens, with a swimming pool, a rose garden, a small spa, vegetable and herb gardens, and tennis courts. Service is friendly and attentive, and the appointment of chef Susanna Fumi from Montalcino to head up the gourmet Tuscan restaurant is proof of the hotel’s drive to be a true wine, food and lifestyle destination. Best room to book? The Giardin de Fiori is a good-value superior double with views over the flower garden.
Grand Hotel Continental, Siena
Siena’s exquisite Centro Storico is the medieval heart of this ancient city and a World Heritage site. It’s in this exclusive setting that guests discover a magnificent 17th century palazzo – Grand Hotel Continental.
The boutique hotel is no less than a paragon of fine Renaissance architecture, with opulent rooms boasting original frescoes, priceless artworks and precious antiquities. Built in the 17th century as an aristocratic residence, this Grand Palace, also known as Palazzo Gori Pannilini, was originally build as a wedding gift from Pope Alexander VII, a member of the powerful Chigi family to his niece Olimpia and her fiancée Giulio de’ Gori.
Rates start from EUR 426 per night.
Castello di Casole, Querceto, Casole d’Elsa
Hotel Castello di Casole offers the rare opportunity to enjoy the rich amenities of a restored Italian castle on a country estate in Tuscany. The castle’s rich history dates back to the end of the 10th century, when it was built and christened Querceto Manor. Querceto Manor often hosted the political exiles of nearby Siena until it fell into decline starting in the 15th century. Owned and reconstructed during the 19th and 20th centuries by the Bargagli family of Siena – esteemed local aristocracy – the castle rose to a prominent position in the region, as the surrounding estate was a leading agricultural producer with 31 farms on 2200 acres. During the late 20th century the Castello was owned by prominent Italian film director Luchino Visconti, who entertained European and Hollywood luminaries throughout the estate.
Timbers Resorts acquired the estate in 2005 and immediately began a significant and authentic restoration of all of the buildings, including the historic castle. The restoration has made use of traditional construction methods and authentic materials found on the estate and throughout the region, while spaces were updated with modern conveniences and luxuries. Today, Hotel Castello di Casole reflects its proud history, offering a new and exciting experience for guests and Owners who treasure contemporary amenities in a classically traditional Italian castle.
Hotel Castello di Casole offers 41 luxurious hotel suites in a range of styles and sizes to accommodate visitors in grand style. From studio suites in the main villa area to apartment-style olive grove suites a short walk away, these enticing spaces have been painstakingly restored using original materials found on the estate. Authentic details – wood-beamed ceilings, stone walls and hand-plastered finishes – are gently coaxed into the modern era with luxurious fabrics, fixtures and furnishings, an alluring blend of old and new.
It has been voted the “No. 1 Resort in Europe” for 3 straight years. Rates start from EUR 795 per night.
JK Place, Florence
This 20-room townhouse hotel, designed by architect Michele Bonan, has been much patronised by the fashion crowd. JK Place has the discreet atmosphere of a luxurious private house, with a real fire burning in the cosy sitting room, cashmere throws draped over armchairs and a sideboard laden with home-made cakes for the guests.
The decor is traditional-meets-modern with creams and greys contrasting with dramatic black. The rooms are furnished with fine antiques, lacquered oriental pieces and an eclectic collection of artworks. The bedrooms, ranging from cosy little dens to the spacious Master Room overlooking the piazza, are built around an internal courtyard hung with Moroccan lamps. There is also a roof terrace for summer evenings. Rates start from EUR 1100 per night.
Villa Cora, Florence
Villa Cora is located inside a centuries-old park that overlooks the Boboli Gardens, on the hills just outside the historical center of Florence. The villa is an aristocratic residence built at the end of the XIX century upon commission by Baron Oppenheim reflecting the architectural styles of that period, dominated by a strong eclectic decor that provides the villa with different, sometimes even bizarre, artistic styles. Villa Cora, inaugurated when Florence was the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, has become throughout the years one of the major cultural and cosmopolitan symbols of Florence.
Villa Cora earned its reputation by hosting international guests of great importance, such as Princess Eugenia, wife of Napoleon III, and the Russian composer Tchaikovsky, and being considered the most beautiful residence of the Tuscan capital.
Villa Cora became an exclusive grand hotel at the end of 1960 and reopened in late 2010 after a detailed three-year restoration. Starting from the 2013 the hotel is member of Relais & Châteaux Association. The hotel has 46 rooms and suites, divided into the main villa and in two adjacent buildings, which were restored to the minutest of details with the aim of conserving the original architectural style as much as possible. In the main villa, there are 30 suites and rooms divided into 4 floors, each with its own style.
Rates start from EUR 1190 per night.
Castel Monastero, Siena
A walled hamlet that began life as an 11th-century monastery, Castel Monastero is the latest of Tuscany’s village-hotels. It is also one of the most spectacular in its setting, on the edge of a ravine not far from Chianti’s southernmost wine town, Castelnuovo Berardenga. Developed by the people behind the Forte Village in Sardinia, Castel Monastero uses one beach-club trick: colour-coded contrade, or districts, to help guests find their way around. Otherwise, this is a grown-up Tuscan spa resort, opting for sober discretion over glamour.
The spacious rooms have an antique-modern look, with cream curtains, mahogany tables and upholstered chairs and sofas that would not look out of place in a London gentlemen’s club (although the 11 rooms above the spa are lighter and more airy). The spa itself – with ringside views over the borgo – is one of the region’s more serious, drawing on its Sardinian cousin Thermae’s expertise in thalassotherapy and detox treatments. Gordon Ramsay is consultant chef at the resort’s upmarket restaurant, where the eye-popping prices (allow €100 a head for three courses with a modest bottle of wine) are at least partly compensated for by the persuasive Tuscan cuisine of Ramsay’s man on the ground, Alessandro Delfanti. Rates start from EUR 503 per night.
Vila Le Maschere, Florence
Twenty two masks carved from local Pietra Serena stone, some classical and some grotesque, decorate the facade and name this villa, one of the most beautiful late Renaissance country homes in Tuscany. A 5-star resort place of great historical and architectural value, but with special emphasis on contemporary interior design. Past and present, tradition and innovation, characterize the villa’s strong personality. Perry winkle-violet colored fittings, venetian style floors and majolica inspired by the early twentieth century, all fuse harmoniously in the Villa’s contemporary interiors.
Nature, art, water and silence, are the magical backdrop to the 65 bedrooms and suites and the 8 events rooms of the main building facing the garden with two pools made of stones, in the midst of a romantic park with many rare and notable trees and plants running down to the Bilancino lake, 18 hectares enriched with romantic paths and resting places where to stop.
Inside the park, just a few steps from the villa, is the former ‘gardener’s house’, facing onto the small Italian garden, now the Chini Pavilion where the timeless elegance of the Chini style characterises 13 bedrooms and suites, where the Liberty style is given a contemporary twist.