Florence

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Il Salviatino

Address: Via del Salviatino 21

Neighborhood: Fiesole

City: Florence

Phone: 011-39-055-904-1111

Website: www.salviatino.com

Expert Review

For centuries, Fiesole has been the escape hatch for grandees of Florence – a cooler, fresher town in the Tuscan hills, with magnificent views overlooking red-tiled rooftops. In its verdant midst lies Il Salviatino. Though the hotel opened just last year, it possesses an old soul. The structure was born as a farmhouse in the 14th century, transformed into a palatial estate under the ownership of bankers, merchants, and aristocrats, and then it crumbled into disrepair. In 2007, hotelier Marcello Pigozzo and his son discovered the neglected villa and converted it into an exquisite 45-room hotel. The decor juxtaposes modern touches like plasma TVs embedded in mirrors with historic details such as gargantuan marble fireplaces, terraced gardens, and 19th-century frescoes. At Le Serre, chef Saverio Sbaragli cleverly tweaks regional staples – the glazed baby goat comes with candied fennel puree. Most guests wind up on the wide veranda, where, for a moment, they can feel like lords of all they survey.

It is a rare property that can make you feel like both a Lilliputian and a Goliath, but this newcomer located where Florence proper meets hilltop Fiesole manages to do both with a striking amount of panache. The reasons: The 14th-century villa’s rooms and suites – featuring massive carved wooden doors and oversized tufted leather sofas – create the feeling you have somehow shrunk, while the exemplary hospitality (guests are catered to by Service Ambassadors who will gladly book museum tickets and make dinner reservations) generates a satisfying feeling of elevated stature. And it doesn’t hurt that there are stunning views of Florence from the lounge-like terrace, a shuttle to the city center, a small but blissfully exotic spa and an innovative gourmet restaurant. The centerpiece is the villa itself. A favorite is the Tegliacci Suite with its enormous fireplace. There are also four Green House Suites, set below the Italian Garden and each boasting a large glass-paneled sun room. 2010 Smart Luxury Award winner

Tags: luxury | expensive | smart luxury winner | villa

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