It must have been painful for the noble Florentine Grassi family to part with Villa la Vedetta; family memories and ancestral heritage are one thing, but those panoramic views of the Florence skyline—the kind you can get only from the top of the Viale Michelangiolo, less than two miles from the Duomo—are another entirely. Fortunately for discerning view-seekers, the new owners restored the 18-room villa with a few doses of Fellini to complement the city’s inherent Michelangelo. Original parquet floors and just a few Renaissance-style paintings are paired pleasantly with minimalist red leather chairs, a splash of zebra-print here and there, 1950s art prints, and crisp white walls throughout. Indeed, between the cozy, well-stocked library and the expansive pool deck where one could soak up the sun and the views for hours, the villa still feels quite a bit like a quirky, artsy relative’s home, to which you’ve been given the keys for a week. Good thing these relatives have a discreet and friendly staff who can whip up a caprese salad and a glass of chianti upon request and send a car to drop you off in town.
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Overlooking Florence’s historic center from its perch atop the same hill as the Piazzale Michelangelo and the Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte, Villa la Vedetta has the enviable position of being able to boast both breathtaking views and close proximity to all the city’s sights. The hotel provides a free shuttle throughout the day to the Ponte alle Grazie, and the Ponte Vecchio is a 25-minute downhill walk; coming back up may be less enjoyable. But even before the city center, crammed as it is with tourists, the lower-key Oltrarno neighborhood, on the south side of the Arno, offers plenty of closer attractions. In addition to the Boboli Gardens, Palazzo Pitti, and Villa Bardini, the neighborhood has loads of popular local eateries and traditional craftsmen’s shops and workshops; just ask the knowledgeable concierge for recommendations.
Need to Know
Rooms: 18 rooms, seven suites. From $200. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check out: noon. Dining options:At Onice Restaurant, enjoy inventive, seasonal Tuscan cuisine on the elegant patio overlooking Florence or in the bright, modern dining room. Meals can also be served at the poolside tables, and drinks and snacks ordered to your lounger. The sleek and slightly retro bar, set under a barrel-vaulted ceiling, is an understated and sultry watering hole for coffee, wine, or cocktails throughout the day. Spa and gym details:The hotel does not have a spa, but it does have a small gym, a swimming pool large enough for laps, and a sauna.
Who's it best for:Couples, families, groups of friends, and independent travelers looking for a room with a view. Our favorite rooms:The two-story Bellavista Suite lives up to its name with two wall-to-wall picture windows with unobstructed, panoramic views of the Florentine skyline. Good to know:To make sure they feel comfortable, solo female travelers are especially catered to here, with free room upgrades, no room-service dinner surcharges, and a set of natural beauty products.