Fodor's Expert Review Villa Cora
Viale Machiavelli 18, Florence, Tuscany 50125, Italy See on Map
Opulent and refined, Villa Cora is a luxury experience that’s wholly unique to the magical city of Florence. Just a short ride south of the center, this five-star villa resides in a centuries-old park on a hill that looks over the stunning city. Service is first class as are the amenities, and guests will feel like they’ve entered a dwelling that’s fit for royalty.
Though the villa is outside the city, they provide a free shuttle that runs to the city center and back from 9am-9pm.
Decadent rooms are separated into three separate buildings (all connected via underground walkways), and have themed variances from Moorish styling, to red roses, to 1950s Americana. Many rooms have incredible views of the surrounding Chianti countryside and all come with complimentary coffee, tea, and water.
The hotel is very pet friendly and has a V.I.D. service (Very Important Dog), where they’ll bring doggie treats, a bed, water bowl, and more!
Bathrooms are awash in white marble and have either shower/tub combos or standalone showers. Santa Maria Novella bath products are standard.
Take a look at the slippers and robes. For women, the slips come in pink and the robes have roses embossed on them.
The main floor of the hotel is separated into different rooms, each more opulent than the next. The centerpiece is a giant ballroom decked out in Renaissance art, enormous gold-framed mirrors, and plush purple couches. The floors and ceilings are all original, so use your time to take in the magnificent art strewn throughout.
Villa Cora boasts that they have the only year-round outdoor heated in pool in Florence – we didn’t check, but alright. For a visual, think of every travel-inspiring scene from The Talented Mr. Ripley combined with Call me by Your Name, and you’ll get close to how magnificent the pool area is. The photos are worth at least 17 extra Instagram followers.
The coed spa is a lavish joint that includes a sauna, hammam, steam, and four treatment rooms where you can get both Thai or European style massages. Yes, coed means you're hammamming (had to) and steaming together.
A small gym is open from 8am-8pm and is equipped with Technogym machines. For a great workout, just step out and run around the Chianti hills – that’s what you’re there for!
The Villa has a bunch of free bicycles that you can take into the city.
Le Bistrot is the main restaurant in the hotel and it actually changes location based on the season. In winter months, the restaurant serves its wide ranging, locally sourced Tuscan cuisine under a lavish tent, while in the summer, dishes are served poolside.
Also during the summer, the villa features a pizza and champagne day (the worlds greatest combo) often served with a side of live music. In the winter, there’s a sumptuously rich Sunday brunch.
No shortage of drinking spots here. By the pool is the aptly named Pool Bar for craft cocktails. Le Bar Long is on the main lobby floor for a more elegant sipping experience. A cigar room in the basement is perfect for Macallan and Macanudos. And the cavallo di battaglia is the Bellevue Roof Terrace, a summer champagne bar with 360-degree views of the city and surrounding countryside.
The garden surrounding the property consists of 100 different types of roses. Come to the hotel in the late spring for a color explosion.
Walking through the hilly countryside is great, but if you want to make it down to the city with any speed, just hitch a ride on their free shuttle or hop on a bicycle. Once you’re in Florence proper, it’s relatively easy to walk to every major attraction and tons of great restaurants, bars, and shopping areas.
Head into town on the south side of the river for traditional Tuscan dining at Michelin-rated Al Tranvai (5-minute drive). Also south of the river right by Piazza Santo Spirito is O’Munaciello (10-minute drive/walk), a perfect pizzeria with mouthwatering pies.
Stick around Piazza Santo Spirito and you’ll find a bunch of great bars. For craft cocktails in a hidden speakeasy, check out Rasputin (10-minute drive/walk). If you’re a live music fan, head to Volume (10-minute drive/walk) which is also in the piazza.
WHY WE LIKE IT
First class all the way, from the moment you enter the villa, you’ll feel transported to a time and place of Italian royalty. This five-star resort has everything you could wish for, a great restaurant, spectacular pool, lavish spa, and top-rate service. Sure, it’s a little out of the city, but they have a free shuttle and free bicycles to get you around quickly. If you want to eschew top-end chain hotels for a more authentic Tuscan experience, then you’ll love everything about this 19th-century palace.
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