A LUXURIOUS RETREAT IN RURAL TUSCANY: CHECKING INTO VILLA LE MASCHERE
The words ‘Tuscany’ and ‘villa’ naturally conjure ideas of romance, luxury and seclusion, and this is exactly what Villa Le Maschere is all about. Tucked away in the rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside only 25 kilometres from Florence, the opulent Villa Le Maschere is a luxurious retreat that stands overlooking the Mugello valley below.
Originally constructed in the second half of the 16th century, Villa Le Maschere has hosted popes, noblemen and artists, who selected this residence as their accommodation of choice when they journeyed between Florence and Italy’s north. After falling into disrepair in the 20th century, a five-year painstaking restoration effort has transformed this stately home back to its former Renaissance-era glory and into a 5-star, luxury resort. An 18 hectare sprawling park surrounds the villa dotted with sequoia and rare trees as well as deer, owls and hares. When I was invited to represent World of Wanderlust on a luxurious weekend at Villa Le Maschere, I knew that a chance to stay at a romantic Tuscan villa such as this was not an experience I wanted to miss.
As soon as the car pulled up to the grand entrance of the villa, I knew that I was in for special weekend. The magnificent facade of the 16th century villa, decorated with twenty-two masks carved into the stonework and painted in a beautiful late Renaissance style, stopped me in my tracks with its magnificence. As I entered the lobby to check in, I noticed how effortlessly modernity and tradition had been blended together, with original Venetian flooring, frescoes and ornate tiling intuitively combined with modern furnishings. The warm and welcoming staff at reception had my room key to me in a matter of minutes, and before I knew it I was being escorted up to my first-floor suite.
Villa Le Maschere offers 65 rooms and suites to guests, each of them furnished uniquely. The former glory of the Florentine Renaissance period is evoked through the beautiful hand-painted frescoes, four-poster beds, luxurious, bright fabrics and the intricate pottery and sculptures that adorn each room. I stayed in the luxurious Chini Junior Suite, dominated by green fabrics decorated in Liberty style. The separate entrance way was richly decorated with Chini ceramics, a Florentine artist renowned in the region.
Whilst each room has been furnished in the style of the period, modern luxuries have not been forgotten at Villa Le Maschere. Think fluffy robes, designer toiletries, a fully-stocked mini-bar and LCD satellite TV. I especially loved the white marble bathroom with its spacious double vanity and the large, luxurious bath. Wi-Fi is also complimentary, although the thick walls of the villa meant that the signal was intermittent.
There is no shortage of dining options available to guests at Villa Le Marchese. Guests are spoilt for choice with three restaurants on site, all serving refined Tuscan cuisine. A complimentary buffet breakfast is included in the room rate, offering a complete selection of sweet and savoury options, including gluten-free products as well as prosecco. I’m not sure there is a better way to begin the day than with a champagne breakfast on the beautiful terrace overlooking the property! The wait staff were attentive and efficient at all times, making each guest feel important with impeccable service.
Come sunset, the terrace is where you want to be. Dinner outside is really something special in the summer months with live music drifting through the balmy air and with endlessly flowing wine. I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced a more romantic setting!
Wellness and relaxation
The pool area had to be my favourite part of the Villa Le Marchese experience. The resort boasts not one, but two adjacent swimming pools with sweeping views over the Mugello valley below. I kept my energy levels up with snacks from the pool bar (all of that lounging around is really exhausting) and glasses of prosecco or campari in the late afternoon became quite the habit!
The Wellness Centre is free for guests and is housed behind the pool area and showcases spectacular views of the countryside through three large arches that lead directly into the pool. Guests can enjoy a Turkish bath, the sauna and jacuzzi at no extra cost. A full range of spa treatments are also available by appointment and the massages are heavenly.
If you feel the need to leave the villa
You really have no need to leave the villa at all during your stay with everything you could possibly need available on site, but if the Tuscan hills stretching below do start calling to you, there are a few attractions nearby that you might enjoy.
Just 10 km away from Villa Le Marchesa is UNA Poggio dei Medici Golf Club, and boasts one of Tuscany’s most impressive courses. Although I’m no golfer (far from it, actually!), I had a fun morning learning some golfing techniques on the green.
A similar distance from Villa Le Maschere you will find the medieval town of Scarperia that is famous for its history of knife making. Be sure to visit the castle and see the exhibition of knives inside.
The Chini family is very famous throughout the region for their ceramics production. You can make a trip to nearby Borgo San Lorenzo to the Chini Museum, housed in another stunning Renaissance-era villa. The museum explores the history of ceramic manufacturing by Chini, many pieces of which are now housed in Villa Le Maschere and decorate the rooms.
Book this accommodation if…
If you’re looking for the ultimate luxurious escape to the Tuscan countryside, Villa Le Maschere is the perfect choice. A stay here will transport you back to the Florentine Renaissance and all of its former glory. From the moment you check-in up until your departure, the villa’s staff adopt the ‘everything is possible’ mentality with their exceptional attention to detail and warm manner, making you feel immediately at home. For a romantic and secluded getaway in a magnificent, historical setting, Villa Le Maschere is your ideal destination.
Rooms can be booked through the Villa Le Maschere website.