The problem with 15th-century villas would be the 15th-century plumbing. And the 15th-century water, and maybe even some of the 15th-century eating habits, depending on your taste.
Fortunately, the only thing that’s 15th-century about Il Salviatino is the building, and maybe a few pieces of art. A painstakingly restored villa-turned-boutique-hotel set on sprawling grounds overlooking Florence’s scenic rooftops, Il Salviatino is thoroughly modern where it counts: in the quality of its beds and bathrooms, and in its sense of luxury, which eschews a reception desk in favor of ambassadors who are available at your beck and call 24 hours a day. Its artwork spans several hundred years—the collection of 19th-century frescoes alone deserves a museum—and the oversized leather chesterfields, red velvet–padded doors, and carved wooden chairs and bookshelves seem to have been lifted from private libraries and clubs over the last 150 years. As for the cuisine, both your Italian nonna and a Michelin-starred chef would gush over the hotel’s farm-to-table Tuscan cooking.
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Perched in the hills of Fiesole, just east of Florence, Il Salviatino is a quiet retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city—but the city is still just a 15-minute drive (or free, regular shuttle ride) away. Fiesole is a sleepy town with Roman and Etruscan ruins, as well as a number of villas with private gardens. The hotel’s top-notch concierge service can arrange for excursions and activities, such as cooking classes and wine tastings, as well as private tours of such sights as the Duomo (the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore), the Galleria degli Uffizi, and the Basilica di Santa Croce, the final resting place of the likes of Michelangelo.
Need to Know
Rooms: 45 rooms, 22 suites and junior suites. From $375. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options:Outdoors on the terrace in the warmer months, indoors in the library in the cooler months, Il Salviatino’s Cucina serves delicious, gourmet Tuscan cuisine at all hours, using local ingredients—including many from the on-site garden. Snacks, drinks, and meals can be ordered poolside, too—or to your room—at any hour. Overlooking the terrace, the wood-and-leather bar area offers a full range of local wines, aperitivos, digestivos, coffee, and more. Spa and gym details:In addition to a 24-hour gym, the hotel is home to the Spa Il Salviatino, a soothing temple of aromatherapy and anti-aging, with a full range of treatments for the whole family that use products by renowned Florentine perfumier Dr. Vranjes. Two infinity pools, open seasonally, are lined with white cushioned loungers and overlook the rolling hills and rooftops of Florence.
Who's it best for: Romancing couples looking to escape from reality. Our favorite rooms: Each of the suites at Il Salviatino has been painstakingly restored and updated to be both tasteful and distinctly luxurious, but the sprawling Affresco Suite may take the cake, with its arched ceilings adorned with an 1886 fresco by Bruschi, two oil paintings by Gabriel van der Leeuw, an oversized stone bathtub with antique bas-reliefs on the side, and a library-like sitting room with large, leather chesterfields. Good to know:The hotel offers full- and half-board rates that include options for dining at some of the staff’s favorite Florentine restaurants; best of all, you can decide at the last minute where you’ll dine.