On our last trip to Florence several years ago, we stayed downtown, close to the Duomo. If you’ve been to Florence, you know that its historic center is exceptionally busy, so this time around we planned to stay outside of town for a more relaxed experience. Villa la Massa is located just outside of town on a serene and scenic bend of the Arno river.
Located on 22 acres of gardens, Villa la Massa is a historic Medici palace dating to the 16th century. It was converted to a luxury hotel in 1948 and is now owned by the Villa d’Este group. They have done an amazing job of renovating the hotel while maintaining its historic character, and the grounds are as stunning as the hotel itself.
The hotel’s gardens are expansive, with lemon and olive trees at every turn. We had an amazing time exploring the gardens of irises and peonies, along with a culinary garden which supply much of the fresh produce for the hotel’s restaurant, Il Verrocchio. It’s no wonder that Gregory Peck, Elizabeth Taylor, and Winston Churchill have all stayed at the property and Iman and David Bowie held their wedding celebration at Villa la Massa.
We enjoyed breakfast overlooking the bank of the Arno—the perfect start to a day of exploring Tuscany’s wine country. The location of this hotel is perfect. It’s just a 15 minute drive to the center of Florence, and the hotel has a shuttle into town. It’s also just a few minutes from the autostrada, so most major wineries in Tuscany are within 30 minutes drive.
The sun setting over the Arno put on quite a show. It was a spectacular backdrop for pre-dinner cocktails, served at the hotel’s exquisite bar. We finished the day with a delicious dinner along with local wine pairings. With a beautiful view, delicious food, and fantastic service, we can’t wait to visit again.
Villa la Massa, Via della Massa, 24, 50012 Candeli FI, Italy
Note: Villa la Massa provided support for the reporting of this story.