Florence, Italy

Villa Cora

A grand 19th century villa featuring neoclassical architecture

A decadent , restored property by Boboli Gardens

Overlooking the historic Boboli Gardens, near to Florence’s centre, Villa Cora is an exquisitely restored 19th century palace that offers step back into the grandeur of neoclassical Florence, with eclectic and occasionally bizarre artistic styles of the period.

Built at a time when Florence was the cosmopolitan capital of the newly created Kingdom of Italy, Villa Cora earned its reputation by hosting guests such as Princess Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III, and the Russian composer Tchaikovsky, being considered the most beautiful residence of the Tuscan capital. It became a grand hotel in 1960, during another of Florence’s most stylish periods.

The hotel has 44 rooms and suites, divided into the main villa and in two adjacent buildings. The majority are in the main villa, split over four floors, each of which has been characterised around a theme, one with extravagant frescoes, another taking Moorish influence from the Orient. Villino Eugenia is a small guesthouse overlooking the Boboli Gardens, containing 13 accommodations, each decorated and furnished according to the bourgeois styles of the late 19th century. Lastly, La Follie, a small guesthouse located at the edge of the park that surrounds Villa Cora has a particular charm and discretion with only two rooms for complete privacy.

Le Bistrot Restaurant offers seasonal produce, during the winter months in the splendid Moorish Room with its domed ceiling with original frescoes by Antonio Caremmi, and in the summer outdoors in the winter garden by the side of the swimming pool, where guests can relax in an elegant yet informal environment.

The Benè spa is located on the lower floor of Villino Eugenia and is equipped with a small gym, tepidarium, sauna and Turkish hammam. The wellness centre offers Asian and European massages as well as beauty treatments. There is also a large heated outdoor pool shaded by vast oak trees.

Highlights

37 rooms and 7 suites

Le Bistrot Restaurant and bar

Spa with hammam

Heated outdoor swimming pool

Bicycles

Gym

Complimentary shuttle service to the city

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Places to combine Villa Cora with

Emilia Romagna

Grand Hotel Majestic
A classic and elegant hotel enjoying a fantastic central location just steps from Piazza Maggiore and the Due Torri, Grand Hotel Majestic is one of the most celebrated hotels in the city. With origins dating from the 18th century, the building has hosted this magnificent hotel for over 100 years and is considered an institution of the city. Consisting of 106 guest rooms, all elegantly decorated and furnished in keeping with the hotel’s artistic style, guests will enjoy a blend of typical Italian style reinforced by modern comfort, as well as lovely city views. A range of newer junior suites and deluxe rooms offer something a little bit different with their classic 18th-century French decor. Guests will benefit further from the superb dining on offer at the Grand Hotel Majestic, beginning with the famed I Carracci Restaurant. Set in a magnificent hall adorned with frescoes, this is the place to sample traditional cuisine of the Emilia-Romagna region, all whilst seated below artistic beauty. Fine food and wine can also be enjoyed at the new Enoteco Morandi wine cellar eatery, with its rustic menu, while Café Marinetti is the place to begin the evening, with an aperitif in hand. For a touch of rejuvenation between days exploring medieval architecture and sampling mouth-watering cuisine, the hotel’s health and wellness centre is an oasis of relaxation. Featuring a Turkish bath, sauna, emotional shower with chromotherapy and an intimate relaxing area, this is a haven of wellbeing.

Piedmont

Relais San Maurizio
Back in 1619, a group of Cisterian monks headed up the old salt road into the Langhe hills and built a monastery on the ruins of an existing chapel. Almost 400 years later and doors are once more open, offering guests the chance to explore this beautiful corner of Italy from the most charming of locations. The hotel’s elegant rooms and suites are full of character, each one unique in its design. Some come with ancient fireplaces and private gardens, while suites have their own balconies and Jacuzzi. Decor is elegant and refined and befitting of its origins as a monastery. The hotel is located along one of the five ancient Vie del Sale, or salt roads, that carried precious salt from the Ligurian Sea to beyond the Alps. The views are truly spectacular and even just stepping outside your room you’ll find yourself surrounded by strawberry and olive trees and the beautifully maintained flower, herb and vegetable garden. The outdoor swimming pool offers panoramic views of the Moscati vineyards and the Langa Hills, but for the ultimate in relaxation you’ll want to head to the spa. A real highlight, it has a wine hammam with a Jacuzzi filled with water and wine, and a sauna in the shape of a barrel. This part of Italy is known for its fine food and wine, and the choice of restaurants at San Maurizio is second to none. For high-end dining there is Michelin-starred Guido da Costigliole located in the ancient cellar. A more relaxed option is the Truffle Bistrot, named after one of the region’s most loved ingredients; in the summer there is the option to dine al fresco. There is also a wine and cocktail bar showcasing the region’s top drops. There’s lots of beautiful countryside to explore and horse riding, walking or cycling through hazelnut groves and medieval villages is one of the best ways to appreciate this very special pocket of Italy.