Five-star hotel Villa La Massa, in Candeli, east of Florence, just hoisted a flag on the stylish terracotta terrace by the Arno river to mark its reopening for the 2023 season.
Built in the 13th century as a country house for a noble Florentine family, the villa was owned by European aristocrats until 1948, when it was converted into a luxury hotel. The medieval past can still be felt today in the impressive lobby with its towering height and majestic wooden ceiling, while the Bar Mediceo is one of Florence’s best-kept mixology secrets, a crowning jewel of a lounge that resembles a film set.
In addition to the impeccable service (Villa La Massa has been owned by Villa d’Este Hotels since 1998 and remains a member of The Leading Hotels of The World), the natural setting is what elevates this five-star residence into a category all of its own. Surrounded by 25 acres of land, spring is a special time of the year to stroll around the grounds, from the iris garden, which has inspired a vodka-based cocktail and treatments available at the on-site Arno Spa.
Helmed by new general manager Elisa Peroli (formerly Four Seasons), guests choose from refined rooms and suites in the main villa, the mill and limonaia, as well as the recently restored Villino, which can be rented in its entirety for family reunions, and the Casa Colonica farmhouse, consisting of four suites, a kitchen and inner courtyard. Canopy beds and original frescoed ceilings are paired with contemporary Tuscan accents, in addition to exceptional amenities such as the heated outdoor pool, spa and two restaurants led by chef Stefano Ballarino: riverside Ristorante Il Verrocchio for modern Italian cuisine and Bistrot L’Oliveto for Tuscan fare and international classics, including vegan options.
While Villa La Massa is a country hotel surrounded by quintessential Tuscan countryside (yes, the usual olive trees and rolling hills), it is only 15 minutes from central Florence thanks to an electric shuttle bus (new for 2023) for guests.