Are you looking for something extra exciting for your trip to Tuscany? Are you tired of staying at congested hotels that lack Old World ambiance? If so, why not indulge in a more exclusive and relaxing retreat – a rental villa in the Tuscan countryside!
The following are the ten of the most luxurious gems of northern Italy. Each country manor is a legacy from centuries past, villas having evolved throughout the Middle Ages from antique farming compounds into fine upper class country houses. Those listed here are completely restored and, true to tradition, elegantly decorated with antiques, frescoes, crystal chandeliers, fine furniture and bedding.
All of the villas are equipped with modern amenities (swimming pools, saunas, internet access, showers, exercise equipment and serve fine Italian wine and cuisine. Those listed below are the most popular and reside at convenient distances from Florence’s main attractions and nearby cities, such as Siena, Lucca and San Gimignano.
10. Castello Voli: $10,800-$12,000 Per Week
Castello Voli, situated near Castelfiorentino and San Gimignano, is a castle tower with a large connecting villa that dates back to the thirteenth century. It is colored in typical Florentine fashion: cream, terracotta and yellow; with a wrought iron balcony on its façade. Poplar trees frame the edifice on all sides, and beautiful flower gardens and panoramic views surround the castle, which sleeps up to twelve guests with its six bedrooms. Since there is additional accommodation available for parties of forty, the castle is ideal for weddings and other large ceremonies. In true medieval style, Castello Voli has its own chapel, as well as modern lounging/eating spaces
9. Borgo della Pia: $12,000 Per Week
This villa, found near Grosseto, is furnished in the modern style. Its main attractions are three swimming pools, which light up at night, a golf course, tennis court, and horseback riding. An additional villa, Villa del Pia, is adjacent to the Borgo and sleeps twelve people. Both villas can be rented at the same time, to accommodate up to thirty people. The rooms themselves are very spacious and most have arches that give the creamy interiors a hint of old world elegance.
8. Rocca Di Cetona: $13,000 Per Week
This beautiful villa, which is furnished much like a modern day home, dates back to the seventeenth century. It stands upon a hill overlooking the Chiana Valley and Tuscan countryside. Only one of its three watch towers remains, but most of the rest of the house’s original structure, including its cellars, has been preserved.
Guests enter through a set of main gates, drive through a long path lined with trees, then come to the central staircase at the villa’s front entrance. Seven bedrooms and eight bathroom as well as large, lavishly furnished living, dining and study rooms are there to enjoy. It’s no surprise that Rocca Di Cetona is a favorite place for weddings and other private receptions.
7. Villa Santa Lucia: $15,000-$19,000 Per Week
This beautiful estate, nestled in the heart of the Chianti village, comprises ancient vineyards, olive trees, and a fifteenth-century stone country house with comfortable, elegant, vintage furnishings. Its gardens are dense with antique roses, which stick to the villa itself, while a panoramic terrace overlooks the famous ‘Conca d’Oro’ (a basin covered in vines). Guests have access to a pool house that can be used as a dining area; two bathrooms and two bedrooms (the villa sleeps six people); a living room with fireplace; and a rustic kitchen with private chef. Villa Santa Lucia is located near the villages of Volpaia, Castellina, Greve, and is a short drive to Florence, Siena, Volterra, and San Gimignano.
6. Castello Leopoldo: $21,000 Per Week
Built by Grand Duke Leopoldo II of Tuscany in the sixteenth century, this luxury retreat is a castle that includes a private villa. It stands opposite the Isle of Elba, with glorious views of the hills surrounding Campiglia and the Marittima Valley. The cities of Lucca, Pisa and Volterra are not far from the castle estate.
Castello Leopoldo boasts its original architecture inside and out. Its crenelated tower and battlements are imposing, as are the various coats of arms, heavy ceiling beams, Renaissance fireplaces and spears that decorate the interior. Guests will find a large frescoed hall, a living room with a small library, fireplaces and majolica (a type of ceramic) decorations, among other antiques.
Castello Leopoldo has ten bedrooms and eleven bathrooms. The attic has one large double bedroom with an attached bathroom. Weddings are also held at the castle’s reception rooms.
5. Villa Sant’Andrea: $21,569 Per Week
Villa Sant’Andrea is found in the Camiore region, on the Versilian hills overlooking the Tuscan coast. It has dense olive groves and a vast terraced garden, complete with herbs for cooking and liqueur making.
This three story villa has a reception room, billiard room, nine bedrooms and seven bathrooms. Each room and suite has a private bathroom with Italian marble and/or ceramics painted by hand. The suites include eighteenth-century furniture and living rooms and are decorated in the rococo style: light colors, satiny fabrics, airy mural landscapes, and lightly carved panels and ceiling beams.
4. Villa Nicola: $27,000-$29,500 Per Week
Villa Nicola lies in the Vorno area, near Lucca. Guests who stay here have easy access to Pisa and the Versilia coastline. This rustic structure is named after San Noccle, whose church is mentioned in the year 810. The villa itself dates back to the seventeenth century and stands upon a 2,000 square meter garden ripe with olive groves and poplar trees, which one sees all over Tuscany. Renaissance statues decorate the grounds of the Nicola estate. Antiques and warmly colored frescoes inside the villa likewise impart old world elegance. Villa Nicola offers twelve bedrooms with adjoining bathrooms.
3. Villa Gamberaia: $27,000-$30,000 Per Week
Villa Gamberaia, 7km from Florence, is rather famous. It was originally a farmhouse owned by Matteo Gamberelli in the fifteenth century. In the early eighteenth century, its new owner, Andrea Capponi cultivated the grounds in a more elegant fashion, complete with the cypress trees and garden statues. A person can rent the Gamberaia estate in its entirety, that means the villa itself along with its five additional units and grounds, and thus accommodate forty-three guests.
The ground floor has a large living room with a grand piano and access to the garden overlooking Florence and to a marble courtyard. On the same floor are two dining rooms, three double bedrooms, a twin bedded room, and bathrooms. The first floor has access to the rusticated loggia, a library, kitchen, and several bedrooms.
2. Villa Vittorio: $30,000 Per Week
This beautiful hilltop villa is found in the Monticiano area of Tuscany, near Siena. It offers breathtaking views of the “Basso Merse” Natural Preserve and Mount Amiata. An enormous garden of plants and roses surrounds the villa, which is rustic on the outside as well as the inside. There is a spacious outdoor terrace and a large outdoor pool for warm weather parties and lounging about.
The ground floor of Villa Vittorio boasts a large dining room with a fireplace, a small sitting room, a double bedroom, and a small suite. These rooms all have easy access to the outside. In fact, the rest of the villa does too. There is a loggia connected to the first floor, where guests will find three double bedrooms and three bathrooms with Jacuzzi tubs.
The second floor has four double bedrooms and four bathrooms, two of which are equipped with Jacuzzi tubs.
1. Villa Andrea: $30,656-$48,344 Per Week
This Tuscan villa dates back to the eighteenth century, hence its delicate wall paneling, a legacy of rococo interior design. Villa Andrea is located in the Vorno area, just near the town of Lucca. Guests will also find easy access to Pisa and Versilia’s beaches, shopping district and nightlife. The Tuscan mountainside also surrounds the estate in majestic serenity.
The first floor has a large frescoed living room and a spacious frescoed dining room, whose table sits twenty-four people. Guests can also choose to dine in the Italian style garden just in front of the villa, day or evening. The first floor boasts five double bedrooms, each with a bathroom attached; a frescoed living room; and two twin bedrooms, each with its own bathroom.
The second floor has four double bedrooms and bathrooms and one large suite consisting of a living room, bedroom and bathroom. All guests have access to the villa’s swimming pool.