“Italy and the spring and first love all together should suffice to make the gloomiest person happy” are the words regally emblazoned on the notepad by the wrought iron bed at Villa Medicea di Lilliano. As the birdsong trickles in through the olive green drapes during a muscle- and mind-relaxing massage, you cannot help but wonder if the British aristocrat Bertrand Russell might have spent a night or two at this Medici villa turned wine estate vaunting luxury accommodation.
Just 15 minutes from Florence, with its fresh air, olive groves and vineyards, Villa Medicea di Lilliano served as a country residence to Medici family members Ferdinando II and Francesco Maria de’ Medici, and once held a banquet for the King of Denmark. In summer 2015, the Malenchini family opened their family home to holidaymakers seeking quietude and the quintessential Tuscan experience. In just two seasons, Villa Medicea di Lilliano is now the wedding venue par excellence, but you don’t need to say “I do” to enjoy this eleventh-century Medici getaway.
The La Torre and La Corte residences are an eternity away from the throngs of central Florence, perfect for couples, entire families or the business traveller. Designed by Fernardo Malenchini, the Argentinian architect cousin of the estate’s owner Diletta Malenchini, the six individual villas boast contemporary Tuscan design with traditional mainstays: terracotta tiled flooring, wood-beam ceilings and mood-lifting views as far as the eye can see. Light filters into the open-plan modern lounge, instantly comforting with the cozy couches, Chianti-coloured cushions and wall art displaying favourite Florentine scenes: think Ponte Santa Trinita and Medici cornucopia. After lounging at length by the pool, shower in the “his and hers” olive-ceramic spa bathrooms, furnished with custom crafted fragrances by Florence artisan perfumery AquaFlor. Keep in touch with the world outside thanks to the complimentary Wi-Fi, flatscreen TV stylishly framed in an artist’s easel and free calls to anywhere in Italy via VoIP phone.
Spend the morning exploring Florence or the nearby Chianti towns—Greve in Chianti is 30 minutes’ drive away—before heading “home” for an exclusive tour of the Medici villa, from its breath taking terrace to the sumptuous frescoed and furnished private rooms still belonging to the family. As the sun begins its unhurried descent from fireball to rust orange, unpack the estate’s organic vegetable box and extra-virgin olive oil in your own fully equipped kitchen. If dolce far niente is more your mood, arrange for a private chef to cook for you—or order pizzas from nearby Grassina and have the Italian indulgence delivered direct to your residence.
The day is drawing to a close, the sun is setting and never has a vacation felt more blissful as you sink into a green-and-white deckchair with the Duomo winking at you in the distance, glass of Malenchini Chianti happily in hand.
Villa Medicea di Lilliano
Via Lilliano e Meoli 82, Grassina
(Florence) Tel. +39 055 642602 | [email protected]