Hotels In Italy, Part 2... Villa La Massa
Establishment: Villa La Massa
Published: July 29, 2010
Photos By: Robin Roth
Story By: Robin Roth
Editor: Mark Lewis

Hotels in Italy ...Part 2

VILLA LA MASSA

  A MAGICAL FIND...


Story and Photos by: Robin Roth

villa1

I feel extremely privileged and fortunate to have found this truly magical multi-award winning country Villa to share with you. This old mansion, now the restored Villa La Massa, is the epitome of the word charming. This beautiful Medici Villa rests on the banks of the Arno River, in the vast serene Florentine countryside. I found that here, I completely  had the best of both worlds; staying amidst the peace of Tuscany yet located just 6 miles from the historic centre of exciting Florence. I immediately felt a sense of tranquillity and 'one' with nature the moment I arrived. In fact, I wanted to jump out of the taxi, rip my shoes off, pull down my hair, and frolic in the vast open fields of the Tuscan Sun. I have found my happy place.

villa2

Walking the grounds surrounded by lemon trees, cypress trees, and olive groves of the estate's 22 acre park, smelling all the flavours in the air and hearing the sounds of the river, I felt as though I were a character captured inside a romance novel. The grounds, which are in actuality the gateway to the panoramic Chianti Hills wine region, are filled with winding paths and places to explore. You can almost feel the passion and romance in the air. Although I unfortunately did not find my Romeo here, I did see many gorgeous, charismatic, handsome waiters.

villa3 villa4

With a wealth of culture and history, Villa La Massa opens its doors to its international clientele every year from March 25 to the end of October. The Hotel is rich in tradition with antique artwork and tapestries that have been crafted by Florentine artisans, in time-honored fashion. The 37 luminous rooms (Which include double rooms, junior suites, and suites) are located in the 3 villas: the Noble Villa, the Old Mill, and the Little Villa and overlook the countryside or the River Arno. They are decorated in the Renaissance style, buffed terracotta tiles, and feature antique furniture characteristic of the Medici period. All of the rooms I saw were unique, charming, and totally different from one another. What I found nice as well, was the large size of the rooms. My room had beautiful and completely comfortable canopy beds. The whole room was so quaint, romantic, and lovely. All the rooms in the Villa have spacious marble bathrooms, air conditioning, satellite-TV, high-speed internet connection, safe, and mini-bar.

villa5        villa6

In March 2009, a new grand Presidential Suite has been added. This plush and awesome suite is located in the Little Villa directly on the Arno River and features 2 bedrooms, a living room with fireplace, and a 2.900 sq. ft private garden with Jacuzzi, offering 180° views of the Tuscan hills surrounding the estate.

The spectacular Presidential Suite is a countrified haven of calm and tranquillity.

I must admit that this is the suite of all suites, as it is actually a villa in and of itself. It has its own 1500 square foot private garden, with a private Jacuzzi, and the view is rich with the colours of Tuscany. It comprises two magnificent suites, a 600 sq. ft. Suite Exclusive (the Arno Suite) and a 500 sq. ft. Junior Suite. It is located in the smallest of three buildings on the estate, the Villino, which has a total of five rooms, a perfect resting getaway location for a family or large group, all on the banks of the Arno River. This would be the most magnificent place to have a wedding and be able to invite your family and friends. Furthermore, it is possible to make arrangements in advance to take over the whole property.

villa7 villa8 

Dining at the Restaurant Il Verrocchio with the brilliant Chef Andrea Quagliarella, is a rare treat and exceptional experience. In addition to the sumptuous cuisine, no other hotel or restaurant in Florence has a terrace overlooking the Arno, and the "Bar Mediceo" does as well. The "Verrocchio" restaurant is where guests enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This was my favorite part of the day, sitting here for hours enjoying all the natural beauty. I had to pinch myself as to how lucky I was to just experience this amazing tranquil view and sweet, carefree emotions.

villa9    villa10

Sitting on the gorgeous terrace, sipping the best cappuccino I've ever had, while staring at the world famous Arno River was one of the extraordinary moments in my life. I was always the last to leave the restaurant. I am sure they wanted to kick me out, but of course such a classy staff would never permit such bad attitude. The Chef offers an Italian menu full of traditional Tuscan dishes and Mediterranean cuisine.

villa11 villa12

There is, as expected, an enormous wine list including over 300 labels. Among those are the best of the Italian wine culture, with a special focus of course on Tuscan wines. I suggest you choose the one produced by the Villa La Massa, from there own Vineyard. Outstanding!!!

villa13    villa14

Everything on the menu is stellar including the non stop attention and service I received. I think this is where I might have over-eaten the most on my Italian journey. Well, thinking about it, perhaps there were other places as well. Can you hardly blame me? After all, this is Italy!

villa15

The origins of Villa La Massa are quite fascinating. The Villa dates back to the 16th century, more than 400 years ago. In 1525, Santi Landini (then famous editor belonging to the Florentine Aristocracy) and the Landini family decided to build their summer residence on the banks of the Arno river. It was later owned by several aristocratic Italian, English, and Russian families. It was transformed into a luxury hotel in 1948. The Villa d'Este Group, purchased the property in 1999, restoring and adding a new welcoming allure and class to the impressive old Villa; and did they ever do a magnificent job of it. The grounds are enormous at Villa La Massa and the facilities include comforts such as a swimming pool, golf, tennis and horseback riding, biking, jogging, fitness Centrex with state-of-the-art equipment, and a wellness room for a wide range of massages. There is also, the "Cellar", located in the Old Mill, ideal for wine and oil tasting. The pool was particularly inviting as Italy is so very hot in the summer. For avid runners, I just want to share that it was a euphoric feeling jogging through Tuscany and one I recommend highly. All of these luxuries enabled me to experience and enjoy the quintessential patrician lifestyle.

villa16 villa17

The Concierge arranged for me some wonderful personalized guided tours of Florence, Pisa, Lucca, and Siena. I took excursions in the Chianti region visiting wineries, olive-oil farms, villas, & castles; Volterra, San Gimignano, Colle Val D'Elsa, and Monteriggioni. What I really enjoyed as well, was the cooking and wine tasting lessons that are available on request. The Concierge can also arrange laundry, dry-cleaning and pressing service, Helipad (which I personally had no use for but wish I did), Car-hire and limousine service, as well as tickets for theatres and museums.

Although, I did not come with children, the hotel offers children a great deal of attention including a welcome gift upon arrival, playground area, babysitting services, and kids' menu.

In addition, there is an old stunning little church on the grounds that holds a maximum of twenty-five people. Catholic Mass can be celebrated in the small chapel with a sacristy, dating back to the XIX century. You can even hold a wedding here; I was sort of hoping for this myself.

 villa18

Furthermore, most important to know, there is a courtesy daily shuttle service to/from Ponte Vecchio (historic centre of Florence) from 9 am to 7 pm. I would have been lost without this service.

villa19

Through the years many famous guests have enjoyed a stay at Villa La Massa such as: Clark Gable, Winston Churchill, Barbara Hutton, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Gregory Peck, and even David Bowie and Iman took over the Villa for their wedding, and many others.

villa20

I left Villa La Massa refreshed, rejuvenated, completely rested and filled with tranquillity. This was a once in a lifetime, unforgettable experience, which will stay in my heart forever. Everything here created a splendid memory for me from the gorgeous charming hotel itself, to the magnificent grounds, the exquisite beauty, the amazing luxury and comfort, down to the attentive, friendly, sophisticated, and relaxed service.

villa21   villa22

Villa La Massa, is without a doubt, a sanctuary home away from home for anyone wishing to spend their holiday in Florence and Tuscany. Bravo!

 

For more information contact:

Directly through the hotel's reservation department

Tel. +39 055 62 611

Fax +39 055 633 102

E-Mail : reservations@villalamassa.it

Internet : www.villalamassa.it