A trusty, commodious escape from the city being, of course, a prerequisite to visiting in the first place. The interiors here read like a delightfully anachronistic mansion: unobtrusive tech gadgets share real estate with Louis XV fireplaces, framed artwork, and an impressive array of antiques. High sophistication with front-row access to Santa Maria Novella square; tough to beat, indeed.
You’d be remiss in keeping your trip entirely urban — the rustic Renaissance villa is by most accounts the pinnacle of the form. As if you need further convincing, they make their own wine and olive oil here, and they’re more than happy to acquaint guests with the bounty. Careful, there’s a tendency to get unreasonably attached.
These suites amp up the curio quotient considerably, housing a fascinating parade of vintage finds and design objects against an authentic, reverently preserved 16th-century backdrop. You can take the museum with you to bed, turns out, and you needn’t sacrifice comfort, either: the warm, shared kitchen and library make sure of that.
As ever, fashion holds substantial sway around these parts; for proof, look no further than this Ferragamo venture just west of the Ponte Vecchio on the Arno’s north bank. Indoors, it’s accordingly flawless, tangibly steeped in quality Italian housegoods and demonstrative of sure-footed service standards throughout. They’ve a name to uphold, after all.
Speaking of smart modern duds, Riva Lofts manages quite well for its relatively tender years, but it wears its 19th-century pedigree well. Period architectural details find worthy counterparts in sleek, contemporary glass and metal accents, not to mention the forward-looking light fixtures. A poster child for embracing the times without forgetting one’s roots.
It isn’t all ostentatious palazzos and peeling frescoes; as the name indicates, this sensible and thoroughly modern affair presents residential-style hospitality firmly grounded in the now. The location helps, too, in the shadow of the Duomo with trivial access to all manner of historic landmarks as well as cafés and high-end retail. Hilda gets it: sometimes you want the local treatment, hold the pageantry.
Walking in, you’re immediately transported by the intoxicating atmosphere: oil canvases, plush velvet, brocaded wall treatments, and sumptuous drapes abound. Small wonder it was a favorite of De Chirico, Pirandello, and Stravinsky. Highbrow or not, you’ll find something to appreciate in the richness here, be it the cuisine, the materials, or the shopping opportunities on Via Tornabuoni just around the corner.
And sometimes you want the 14th-century estate pomp, who are we kidding. Thankfully, Villa Tolomei balances the old-world indulgence with clean, expansive design. Perhaps more importantly, it situates the villa within an expansive plot of parkland with commanding city views from the terrace.
Leaving off the “per aspera,” SoprArno’s owners launched this sibling boutique in the Oltrarno district, permitting themselves room to stretch both literally and figuratively. It works rather well: the eclectic interiors, replete with standout contemporary art, make for a satisfying foil to this placid corner of the city. Then there’s the other benefit of a slight remove — the views, here of the lush Torrigiani Gardens.
We’ll close with a phantasmagoric synthesis of Florence new and old courtesy of Fabio Novembre’s singularly future-Baroque vision. The door to each room bears a gilded, full-length portrait of a 16th-century Tuscan aristocrat, to give you an idea of what to expect, and meals are taken at a sinuous, communal table with a vividly colorful lighting strip overhead. The old city’s still got it, we must say.