Villa San Michele - The High Point for High Culture

On a hill in Fiesole, this exclusive resort has mouth-watering views over the city of Florence and the Arno Valley – sit in the shade of the spacious loggia, prosecco in hand, and gaze at one of Italy’s most beautiful cities. The great thing about a stay here is that you are sufficiently removed from the heat and visitors of the season (especially in Rome at the Palazzo Doria for example) and yet can be in the midst of it in less than 20 minutes.

For the rest of your stay enjoy the rooms, views and space of this former monastery turned Renaissance villa turned super-luxury hotel, with its frescos, including one of the Last Supper, a hidden chapel turned honeymoon suite in the gardens and glorious food. Should you need a reminder of how great the food is, spend a morning at the hotel’s cookery school learning the ease of pasta-making and the joys of Florentine tastes. You get to eat it too!

In between times you have the entire Uffizi and its treasures waiting for you , the glamour of the designer shops and the enticing jewellery stores of the Ponte Vecchio, while the concierge can organize tours and visits to the wineries of Chianti, local olive oil producers or the magical towns of Siena and San Gimignano.

If you’ve got it, flaunt it
Go in early summer to wonder at the wisteria which covers one entire wall of the hotel – it looks as if it’s wearing a lace dress. Or ask the concierge to plead for you to visit the Vasari Corridor which runs between the Uffizi and the Pitti Palace. It’s like a Renaissance skywalk filled with extraordinary views and pictures and can only be seen by special arrangement.

Florence immediately conjures up a romantic voyage of dreams. It lives up to all of its cliché, dazzling even the most jaded traveller with its history, style and elegance. The Medicis and Michelangelo, simply marvellous.

Spend the day on the arm of Heather from NewTours, who is a veritable encyclopedia. Fast track to Michelangelo’s David. Whizz through the Uffizi. See the interior design of the Medicis’ private library and be led to the most buttery leather gloves you can imagine. Your ‘nuova migliore amica’.

Food on stage
Lively, crazy, madness. A buffet of pastas, grilled meats and salads. Keep eating but stake your place early (7.30pm). At Teatro del Sale chairs turn to the stage at 9.30pm for tonight’s surprise musical or theatrical performance. It’s an unexpected buzz of local life.

Belle donne
Go and visit the wonderful Loretta Caponi and her daughter Lucia for the most exquisite linens. Pyjamas, nightgowns, silk, cashmere, cotton and it’s giant pillow of couture elegance and refinement. The baby gift items are too gorgeous for words. Via delle Belle Donne – how appropriate!

Costume clout
The world of film and television has discovered the fabulous costume jewellery of Angela Caputi. Buy a statement piece that will be a knockout at your next cocktail party. It’s a fantasy of sophistication and elegance you don’t have to mortgage the house to buy. Accessorise uniquely.

This post is written for, check out a related article that covers the super grand hotel du cap, the height of luxury travel in France.

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