“Life in the Renaissance Countryside”
While the centre of Florence is the focus and main attraction of international tourism, the hills overlooking the Arno Valley tell us about the most hidden side of Florentine humanism, that is, about aristocratic families, their villas and the economy that made Italy’s cultural and artistic Renaissance possible.
Florentine villas are undoubtedly the symbol of an era that, on the one hand, saw the emergence and consolidation of the middle class as the driving force behind the beginning of the modern age and, on the other, revived classical antiquity while at the same time preparing the way for cultural and artistic development.
The story we are about to tell you starts in the 14th century, is set southwest of Florence, and concerns the Tolomei family.
Between the hill of Marignolle and that of Bellosguardo rises what used to be the home and estate of this noble family, whose members were guests of the “City of the Lily” and its Renaissance.
After undergoing a tasteful and careful renovation that has given it a new lease of life and enabled its latest rebirth, Villa Tolomei, is now an exclusive resort at walking distance from the Ponte Vecchio.
The redevelopment of
The redevelopment of the villa (which run the risk of falling into a state of disrepair) as a hotel is the first outcome of the project “Valore Paese-Dimore”, promoted by the Agenzia del Demanio (Italian State Property Office), ANCI (Italian Association of Municipalities) and Invitalia (National Agency for the Promotion of Investments). It provides a successful and unprecedented example of the objectives pursued through the redevelopment of publicly-owned property of historical, cultural and artistic value.
The joint venture between Isotel Sarl and Exen S.p.a, has restored the prestige of the villa’s buildings (which cover a surface of about 3,500 smq) and the Tolomei estate (which covers an impressive 17 hectares).
The result is an exclusive five-star resort close to the city centre but surrounded by the countryside: in short, a perfect combination of nature, art and luxury.
The magnificent restoration and renovation of the villa was carried out by the best workers on the market, so that meticulous attention was given to every detail and special care was taken to respect the beauty of the original property.
Frescoes, marbles and classic furnishings harmoniously combine with modern comforts, in a perfect synthesis of tradition and modernity.
The hotel is in the middle of a timeless park which includes a wonderful garden, as well as a farm with vineyards and olive groves which produces extra-virgin olive oil and Tuscan DOC wines, such as Chianti and Sangiovese.
Next to the main building, the “Conventino” – also known as “Il Conventino a Marignolle”:
offers traditional Tuscan cuisine in the picturesque atmosphere of a 16th-century monastery refectory, with its Renaissance arcades and its stone sink and fireplace.
The hotel has a swimming pool from which to enjoy breath-taking views of Florence, as well as a fitness centre for sports lovers.
The restoration and redevelopment model used for Villa Tolomei, can certainly be regarded as a universal one. It combines luxury hotel accommodation and the protection of cultural and historical heritage, thus achieving what seems to be a natural continuum of the intended use of the villa – a property that was and will always be an exclusive abode.