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Villa La Massa: An Authentic Tuscan Countryside Retreat

Set in the heart of the Chianti wine region, along the banks of the Arno river, Villa La Massa is a charming Italian stay, just a 15-minute drive from Florence.

Once a 13th-century country house belonging to an aristocratic Florentine family, Villa La Massa was transformed into a hotel in 1948, and it’s the 360-degree views of the stunning Tuscan countryside that make this property so special. Citizen Femme checked in to explore the charming lifestyle, flavours and history of both the hotel and the region.



Florence, a city that symbolises the Renaissance through art and architecture, is the capital of Tuscany and home to some of the region’s – and the country’s – most iconic sights. Here you can explore the Duomo, the Uffizi Gallery (home to da Vinci’s Annunciation), and Michelangelo’s David sculpture. Surrounding the city and its world-famous architecture are the rolling Tuscan hills where Villa La Massa, a member of Leading Hotels of the World, stands proud, isolated from the city’s liveliness.

The Vibe

As you approach Villa La Massa through grand gates, you’ll discover a peaceful haven surrounded by 25-acres of blossoming gardens. Olive trees, vineyards and large cypress trees are the backdrop for this historic 13th-century hotel’s Medicean buildings, each of which has been restored to match the splendour of grand Tuscan villas. The warm, traditional Italian hospitality will instantly make you feel at home, and no request is too much for the attentive team.


The Rooms

The property is set across six different villas, all with a unique style. Spacious and elegant Villa La Limonaia is the most recently restored; situated across the ground and first floor, its rooms overlook the Arno River and come with either a private balcony or garden. The traditional Tuscan style is contemporary here, and the villa has a light and airy feel; this is the best of Italian elegance in a modern setting. The marble bathrooms are something to marvel at, with a luxurious bath you’ll waste no time sinking into – and a shower big enough for two. With Officina Santa Maria Novella toiletries and bath robes that are seriously soft and fluffy, this is a cocooning space for an evening of dolce far niente.

Families may want to book into one of the private villas – we recommend Casa Colonica, an ancient farmhouse with four suites, en-suite bathrooms and a private kitchen that guests can use at their own leisure. There’s a charming courtyard at the centre of the villa, surrounded by wisteria for family gatherings or quiet afternoons enjoying the Tuscan sunshine.


The Food + Drink

Food is stand-out, and the hotel’s main restaurant, Il Verrocchio, is perched alongside the Arno river for scenic al fresco dining. Start your day on the terrace with breakfast overlooking the hills, and with a choice of Tuscan specialities from the buffet or eggs à la carte. Come evening, this elegant dining spot brings a romantic aura and serves a traditional Italian menu boasting local produce, vegetables grown in the hotel’s kitchen-garden, and plenty of the estate’s organic extra-virgin olive oil. Homemade pasta dishes, moreish focaccia and tantalising desserts are exceptional, and the menu has fantastic vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options – which is not always the case in Italy. There’s a live pianist to set the atmosphere and, of course, panoramic views of the picture-perfect terrain.

Lunch is a more relaxed affair, held at Oliveto Bistrot. Named after the many olive trees located within the hotel grounds, it sits, peacefully, within a renovated stone barn and besides the hotel’s beautiful swimming pool. Dine on its laid-back patio or inside the restaurant – either way, you’ll spot plenty of traditional Tuscan touches, such as the open beams and stone details. Expect a long, leisurely lunch (you’ll want to order everything on the menu), and be sure to pair it with a bottle of crisp rosé wine. Start with Tuscan covaccino and carpacci followed by pasta dishes like the kale and ricotta cheese tortelli, but leave room for the main course and dessert. The tiramisu is chef Stefano Ballarino’s grandmother’s recipe.


The Spa

There’s a heated pool in the centre of the grounds, and the wellness offering continues at the underground Arno Spa. The vibe is authentically elegant but relaxed, and comprises of a Turkish bath, sauna, Roman bath with hydromassage and sensorial showers. There’s plenty of treatments to choose from, including a body scrub with Villa La Massa’s homemade olive oil and an anti-aging facial to leave you with a renewed complexion. Drink herbal tea in the relaxation room post-treatment, or soak in the jacuzzi for the ultimate mind, body and soul rejuvenation.


The Little Extras

If you want to brush up on your cooking skills, or simply learn how to make some of Italy’s most iconic food, Villa La Massa offers culinary classes with the hotel’s chef, Stefano Ballarino. Experience the art of crafting traditional Italian dishes like focaccia and pizza at Oliveto Bistrot, and take the recipes home to impress your loved ones. If cocktails are more to your taste, you can master the art of aperitifs with a class at the hotel’s bar using exclusive liqueurs, created locally by Florence’s Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella. If you visit in the autumn, book a truffle-hunting expedition to uncover the coveted Italian white truffle.


The To-Do List

The hotel’s charm continues below ground, with its own wine cellar dating back to the fifteenth century. Thanks to its central location in the Chianti wine region, Villa La Massa has an impressive selection of vintage labels for tastings from Tuscany and beyond. Small group tastings can be arranged, and you can also request a private dinner with wine pairing. If you want to get out into the Tuscan hills, the hotel can organise tours and wine tastings at vineyards around the Chianti region – the organic Colle Bereto winery offers a particularly special vine-to-table experience with a three-course lunch and a tour of the wine making facilities. If you favour fashion over food, be sure to stop by Gucci Garden, a 20-minute drive away and a multi-sensory exhibition space created to tell the story and philosophy of this iconic Florentine fashion house.


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